Is it Still OK to Fly?

Traveller silhouette at airport

Despite the fact that every single plane journey compounds climate change, many people still decide to fly. False incentives are to blame, says Katharina Beyerl. I was recently asked to answer the question “Is it still OK to fly?” for a TV programme – in just ten sentences. It is, of course, impossible to cover...
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Environmental Sustainability: A Bhutanese Expression

Haa Valley, Bhutan: A farmer walks down a rural pathway carrying a load of rice stalks. He wears a gho, the traditional men's garment. © istock/leezsnow

As a child, I lived near the forests and walked everywhere on foot because we did not have motorable roads, nor could my parents afford to buy a family car. If I were to narrate this story to sociologists or media reporters, then I would feel that I was exposing my limited wealth compared with...
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Can Russia imagine a post-fossil fuel future?

No post-fossil future is imagined for Russia, least of all by the Russians. The kleptocrats flee the country and stash their bounty in safe havens, countries with confidential banking, enough rule of law to avoid the confiscation of their spoils, and pliable politicians to provide protection. The export of capital and the purchase of expensive...
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One Healthy Arctic: The Challenges and Linkages between Environmental and Human Health and Well-being

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the latest Arctic Summit Science Week in Fairbanks, Alaska. Building on the outcomes of last year’s summit in Toyama, Japan (see my previous post), the scientific community is increasingly seeking to unify synergies between the social and natural sciences to tackle problems related to...
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How Far Will Germany Go on Fracking? Understanding the Proposed New Legislation

The debate on shale gas and fracking has polarised Europe, with some countries positioning themselves decidedly against fracking and others drawing up plans to use this technique. In Germany, the future of shale gas is still uncertain, but the year 2015 could be decisive. The country’s shale gas reserves are sizeable: according to the BGR...
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Current Environmental Strategies and Why They Don’t Work

When I give presentations about my work, I usually start with this question from the Dutch-American sociologist and economist Saskia Sassen: “Are our global ecological conditions the results of urban density and agglomeration or are they the results of the specific types of urban systems that we have developed to handle transport, waste, disposal, building,...
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