Warning to humanity signed by 16,000 scientists

From CNN
More than 16,000 scientists from 184 countries have published a second warning to humanity advising that we need to change our wicked ways to help the planet.
In 1992, 1,700 independent scientists signed the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” The letter warned that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course” and if environmental damage was not stopped, our future was at risk.
That letter made headlines 25 years ago, but the world still faces ...

IGC Capstone class goes to Capitol Hill for workshop on Congressional operations

October 23, 2017 |  Graduate students taking the Interfaces of Global Change capstone class this fall recently attended a Congressional Operations Seminar offered by the Woods Institute in Washington, DC. The objective of the seminar was to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of the congressional legislative and budget processes, with an emphasis on issues relevant to the environment and natural resources. For students considering a career in the public policy arena, or just generally concerned with how science ...

Carbon emissions are rising again

From National Geographic

For a while it looked as if the world might be turning the corner.

But after a three-year stall in their growth, human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions have not, in fact, peaked, an international team of scientists announced this morning.

In 2017, global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry will once again rise by 2 percent, the scientists project, to a record 37 billion metric tons. Those emissions had increased by only ...

New Course for Spring 2018: Advanced Soils

Dr. Brian Strahm is offering a new, broad-based soils course for those that have had little exposure to the belowground world.  If you are interested in…
•    terrestrial ecosystem ecology/biogeochemistry
•    plant productivity
•    water quality/quantity
•    global and/or land use change
…but have never had soils…this class is designed for you!
The course will introduce foundational concepts in soil physics, chemistry, biology/ecology, sampling and analysis, genesis and classification, nutrient cycling, and organic matter dynamics.  The course is intended to improve ...

Now accepting applications for undergraduate science policy fellowships: apply by Dec. 1

The Global Change Center (GCC) offers competitive fellowships to undergraduate students to cover the cost of tuition (in-state, 6 credits), housing and fees to attend the Washington Semester Program during summer semester. This program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students work on challenging science policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit.
The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Virginia Tech offers the Washington Semester program to all undergraduate students, regardless ...

Martha Munoz settles decades-old evolutionary biology question

From VT News:
Evolution can be both stimulated and halted by an animal’s behavior, it just depends which trait you’re talking about, according to a groundbreaking study led by a Virginia Tech researcher.
The study, published Oct. 25 in the journal American Naturalist, shows behavior can be both a brake and a motor for evolution in a manner where slowing evolution in one trait actually requires accelerating evolution in another, according to Martha Muñoz, a new assistant professor of biological ...

Government report says climate is warming and humans are the cause


It is “extremely likely” that human activities are the “dominant cause” of global warming, according to the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers.
The climate report, obtained by NPR, notes that the past 115 years are “the warmest in the history of modern civilization.” The global average temperature has increased by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over that period. Greenhouse gases from industry and agriculture are by far the biggest contributor to warming.

Hurricanes in 2017 pushed rare island species closer to the brink

From National Geographic
By Justin Nobel

As Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida in September, Dan Clark, manager of a complex of four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, had evacuated and was at his mother’s house near Tampa. His eye was on the weather and his mind was on the multitude of plants and animals that inhabit the unique refuge system he oversees, which includes the well-known Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

There are about ...