Bill Gates Weighs in on ‘The Bet’ over the Earth’s Future

In 1981, the same year that Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, an economist and an ecologist made a simple but epic bet. The outcome of this wager still reverberates – and haunts – more than 30 years later.

Business professor Julian Simon bet biology professor Paul Ehrlich and two colleagues $1,000 that the prices of five metals of the Ehrlich team’s choice – chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten – would decline over the coming decade. Ehrlich et al. wagered that the prices would increase.

The California We Lost: California’s Precious, Beleaguered Wetlands

Wetlands, once disparaged as wastelands that produce little more than muck, stench, pestilence and swarms of mosquitos, are now recognized as one of the most important of natural habitats.

“Wetland” is a catchall term that encompasses tidal salt marshes, freshwater riverine marshes, riparian zones, sloughs, swamps, bogs, vernal pools, muskegs, fens and more.

California’s Sinking San Joaquin Valley

I have written often about California’s worsening water resource problems. At the same time our population and water demands are growing, with no end in sight, the long-term availability of freshwater is diminishing. This relationship can be depicted in a simplified schematic:

Fracking Our Way to Freedom?

Domestic U.S. oil production peaked in about 1970, fulfilling an outlandish prediction made back in 1956 at a meeting of the American Petroleum Institute by the Shell Oil Company geoscientist Dr. M. King Hubbert. With his stubborn personality and brilliant mind, the Texas-born Hubbert was able to see beyond the “myth of superabundance” that afflicted national thinking about natural resources back then – and still prevails today in many quarters.

Young, Hip, Leftie Journalists & Enviros Are Often Clueless About Immigration-Overpopulation-Environment Connection

In my two decades in the trenches, as a somewhat reluctant warrior in our country’s seemingly endless and intractable skirmishes over the interconnected issues of immigration, overpopulation and the environment, I have noticed a disturbing trend: All too many 20-something and 30-something reporters, bloggers and environmental activists seem oblivious to the interconnections between these issues.

Conservation is More Complicated Than it Used to be

Margaret "Mardy" MurieThanks to a friend of mine in New Mexico – veteran Western river-runner, naturalist, teacher and author Verne Huser – I recently got to re-watch a great documentary about a great conservationist.

Avoiding Overpopulation by Escaping to the Stars? Don’t Bet your Life – or the Earth – on it

A widely reported study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy caused quite a stir recently.

Discovering Exoplanets While Destroying the Home Planet

I recall a poster in a science classroom depicting a radiant blue, white and brown orb afloat in the darkness of space: our beloved and much abused home, Earth. The poster was emblazoned with the slogan: “Good Planets Are Hard to Find!” A recent astronomical discovery would seem to contradict this fetching claim.

Double Whammy: More Population & More Storms = More Death & Destruction

Category 5 Super Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the Philippines with some of the highest winds ever recorded in a tropical cyclone (195 mph) and a storm surge two stories high. Sadly, the tragic devastation it wrought on this island nation is an evil harbinger of even worse calamities to come.

California Population Tsunami Overwhelms Its Climate Goal

This should come as no surprise to anyone with half a brain or the rudimentary mathematical ability it takes to add 2 + 2 and get 4: California’s incessant immigration-fueled population growth will preclude the state from reaching its much-ballyhooed greenhouse gas emission target for the year 2050.