Future directions in environmental science

August 11, 2011 – 11:34 am

Interesting NYT magazine article about investor Jeremy Grantham. Climate change is a huge current research topic in the environmental sciences, but it won’t remain so forever. Articles like this suggest that human resource limitation could be an up and coming research area.

People are naturally much more responsive to finite resources than they are to climate change,” he said. “Global warming is bad news. Finite resources is investment advice.

. . .we’ll muddle through to a solution to Peak Oil and related challenges. Peak Everything Else will prove more intractable for humanity. Metals, for instance, “are entropy at work . . .Local water shortages will cause “persistent irritation” — wars, famines. Of the three essential macro nutrient fertilizers, nitrogen is relatively plentiful and recoverable, but we’re running out of potassium and phosphorus. . . And he rates soil erosion as the biggest threat of all.

  1. 2 Responses to “Future directions in environmental science”

  2. This is something that I think about quite a bit as I am planning my research goals and thinking about how I “frame” ideas for myself and for others. About 1/5 of ESA is about climate change this year. I wonder whether it will stay that way throughout our careers?

    It is also interesting that many of these future thinking ideas come from economists and financial-types. Maybe the NYT just likes to interview economists? Or maybe they really are just thinking about it more. Thanks for the link!

    By Aaron Berdanier on Aug 11, 2011

  3. Aaron, I saw your blog post about ESA topics and I thought it was really interesting. When I read it, I was remembering that at the first ESA I went to (Madison in 2001), invasive species were all the rage. I think that at that conference a similarly dominant percentage of the talks were about invasives. Invasive ecology is still around of course, but I would say that climate change is the hotter topic today. Having seen that transformation, it does make me curious about what is next. Could it be something along the lines of this article? Hard to say I suppose, but like you said, it’s a good idea for all of us to keep our eyes out for these trends.

    By Anthony on Aug 11, 2011

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