The Great Climate Debate Circa 2006

by Paola Salomon

There is still much controversy about whether human activity is causing global warming, and whether what appears to be a climate change is simply normal climate variability. Assenza and Reddy (2006) mainly debate the causes and consequences of climate change and discuss two different points of views: that of sceptics and supporters. While the sceptics do not want to take action, the supporters claim that we cannot postpone dealing with this issue anymore. Supporters are afraid that the environmental and socio-economic costs of climate change are significant, while the sceptics are fearful about the economic consequences of attempting to reverse climate change. Continue reading

How Trees Calm Us Down

by Paola Salomon

Roger Ulrich perceived a pattern among patients that were recovering from gallbladder surgery at a hospital in a suburban area of Pennsylvania. The patients whose rooms overlooked a green area with deciduous trees were being discharged a day sooner than those whose rooms were facing a wall. But how can the trees positively affect patients in a hospital by just looking at them? A psychology professor, Mac Berman, led the study with the help of researchers in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The study compares two large data sets from Toronto. “The first measures the distribution of green space, as determined from satellite imagery,” while the second “measures health, as assessed by a detailed survey of ninety-four thousand respondents.” These are results reported by Alex Hutchinson in a 2015 New Yorker piece. They showed that “an additional 10 trees on a given block corresponded to a one-per-cent increase in how healthy nearby residents felt.” The cost of planting new trees is high, yet it was estimated that people would feel seven years younger. Continue reading

Five Reasons We Need To Act Now on Climate Change.

by Paola Salomon
According to Craig Welch (2015) there are five reasons that we need to take action on climate change. The first is the negative impact of global warming on the West Antarctic ice sheet. Since late 19th century the ocean temperature has risen, melting “a significant section of ice in the Amundsen Sea in the Southern Oceans.” Antarctica’s South Dakota-sized Thwaites Glacier has dwindled in the last decades, and once this glacier melts completely it could destabilize other areas of the West Antarctic ice sheet, causing even a more massive melt. In this case, sea levels will rise 16 feet more, affecting hundreds of millions of people. The second reason to take action is the melting permafrost. This icy frozen crust of shrubs and grass found throughout the Arctic can potentially transform the landscape into a feedback loop. Continue reading