City Beautiful: The Secret Life of Trees (via Encountering Urbanization)

Trees are life and he urban forest should surround all of us – not just the privileged few in our “leafy-suburbs…

City Beautiful: The Secret Life of Trees Despite tree-hugging tendencies, I'm trying my hardest not to hate trees and other blossoming urban flora right now as they wake up from a long winter and their wanton pollination causes my awful allergies. To feel a little better, it's a good time to remember that while urban forests dish out suffering to those of us with sensitive immune systems, they do take a lot of abuse from us too. In late February the New York Post reported a shocking exp … Read More

via Encountering Urbanization

Interview: Should We Worry about a Global Population Explosion?

Via Polis Posted by Katia Savchuk

Sometime this year, the global population will reach 7 billion, according to United Nations estimates. Twenty-one cities now hold more than 10 million people, and many more will join their ranks by mid-century. Robert Kunzig, senior environment editor of National Geographic, shares his views on the impacts of the explosion and whether alarmism is warranted.  His feature on the population boom, the beginning of a year-long series on our crowded planet, appeared in the magazine this month.

The demographic tools at our disposal have presumably matured since Leeuwenhoek’s estimate based on cod milt. What are the best tools we have today to measure population growth and fertility rates, and how accurate are they? 

Demographers still don’t have a scientific theory that would allow them to predict in advance how many babies will be born and thus how population will grow. What they have is decades’ worth of data on how population actually has grown in many countries. They use those observations of the past to project the future, country by country and for the planet as a whole. The UN’s global projections have been pretty accurate lately, but the farther out you go, the more uncertainty there is. So we know we’re going to hit 7 billion soon. Whether there’ll be 9 or 8 or 10 billion in 2050 is less certain. Continue reading