Some thoughts on ecology, evolution and economics

Archive for 2016

Tightening the bolts

Saving a planet is a complex business. World government is already a tricky concept but when you layer that over with the inability of ecosystems to speak for themselves and the concentration of biodiversity near the equator -far from centres of economic and political power- you get a process that has many actors and little… (read more)

Nature needs 59.28%

E.O. Wilson, a Harvard ecologist, has never shied from controversy.  His latest bold statement is found in the title of his most recent book, “Half Earth“, an argument for conserving a substantial portion of the landscape for natural systems to function properly. Previously, we have discussed the early estimates of the percentage of land required for… (read more)

Our Common Home

This blog has, from the beginning, focused on ecology and economics.  These topics are taken up in a recent encyclical by Pope Francis with the extra dimension of how faith informs our decisions in these areas.  Like Al Gore in his book, “The Future” , the pope summarizes some trends in the world around us and… (read more)

All of world history in 500 words

The Penguin History of the World tells the story of humankind. Of necessity, it is a selective telling of our species’ story. The focus is on civilized society – a term which the authors recognize as being difficult to pin down.  Rejecting typical criteria of civilization, such as writing, cities and monumental buildings, Roberts and… (read more)

A Tale of Tails

By far, the most recurring theme in this blog is an exploration of the lopsided nature of evolutionary success – what I have called Haldane’s Rule.  Is this a function of the process of speciation or is it something more mundane – something that we would expect in any branching process?  I have come to… (read more)