World / Environment

Appetite for Destruction

Slideshow / by Greg Boustead / February 18, 2010

Chris Jordan traveled to a remote area of the Pacific and returned with snapshots of a burgeoning ecological crisis, from the belly of the world’s largest garbage pile.

Now In Environment

  • Wanted: GM Seeds for Study

    A battle is quietly being waged between the industry that produces genetically modified seeds and scientists trying to investigate the environmental impacts of engineered crops. Although companies have recently given ground, researchers say these firms are still loath to allow independent analyses of their patented — and profitable — seeds.

  • A Titanic Challenge

    What might a glut of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico—and a dearth of them on Saturn's moon, Titan—imply about humanity's long-term prospects?

  • Is Population a Problem?

    Will 9 billion people max out the Earth's natural resources? Or is overconsumption the real planetary threat? Three experts discuss the Gordian knot of wealth, fertility, and environmental impact — and why making do with less stuff matters so much.

  • Pandora’s Seed

    From obesity to chronique fatigue syndrome, jihadism to urban ennui, the costs of civilization are becoming ever more apparent. Spencer Wells explores adapting to a world where accelerating change is the new status quo.

  • Food Fight, Round 2

    Our rebuttal round brings clashes over food production and hunger, merits of the Green Revolution, and efficiency versus diversity in sustainable farming.

  • Food Fight, Round 1

    What does "sustainable agriculture" truly mean—and what should it look like? In round one of our debate, two experts square off on the true causes of food insecurity.

  • Food Fight

    Is organic farming an elitist fetish that hampers efforts to stanch global hunger? Or is it the kind of holistic approach we’ll need to produce food on a circumscribed planet? Seed kicks off an Oxford-style debate on global food security and what we mean by "scientific farming."

  • A Spill’s Dirty Secret

    Just as with the Exxon Valdez spill of more than 20 years ago, the recovery efforts for the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico are destined for inadequacy.

  • The Other Inconvenient Truth

    As the international community focuses on climate change as the great crisis of our era, it is ignoring another looming problem: the global crisis in land use.

  • Our Planet, Ourselves

    Two radically different environmental messages are taking shape in the world today…Does it matter which one we choose?


Rethinking Growth

Herman Daly applies a biophysical lens to the economy and finds that bigger isn’t necessarily better.


Tensions Rise in Cancún

Tensions rise into the second week of the UN climate meetings as the draft negotiating text receives mixed reviews. As the time to narrow down proposals dwindles, negotiators perform under heightened pressure to strike a deal.


Much At Stake In Cancún

As UN climate meetings started this week in Cancún, the deficit of trust between developing and developed countries is stunningly apparent. Overcoming this hurdle will be critical to COP-16 success—with political consequences that reach through the decade.


All Consuming

With population and per-capita consumption both on the rise, it's hard to believe humanity's impact on the Earth is sustainable. But what would happen if we ate less meat? Or gave women better education and more power? David Biello takes a critical look.

Now on

  • Ideas

    I Tried Almost Everything Else

    John Rinn, snowboarder, skateboarder, and “genomic origamist,” on why we should dumpster-dive in our genomes and the inspiration of a middle-distance runner.

  • Ideas

    Going, Going, Gone

    The second most common element in the universe is increasingly rare on Earth—except, for now, in America.

  • Ideas

    Earth-like Planets Aren’t Rare

    Renowned planetary scientist James Kasting on the odds of finding another Earth-like planet and the power of science fiction.

The Seed Salon

Video: conversations with leading scientists and thinkers on fundamental issues and ideas at the edge of science and culture.

Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Video: Seed revisits the questions C.P. Snow raised about science and the humanities 50 years by asking six great thinkers, Where are we now?

Saved by Science

Audio slideshow: Justine Cooper's large-format photographs of the collections behind the walls of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Universe in 2009

In 2009, we are celebrating curiosity and creativity with a dynamic look at the very best ideas that give us reason for optimism.

Revolutionary Minds
The Interpreters

In this installment of Revolutionary Minds, five people who use the new tools of science to educate, illuminate, and engage.

The Seed Design Series

Leading scientists, designers, and architects on ideas like the personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design.

The Seed State of Science

Seed examines the radical changes within science itself by assessing the evolving role of scientists and the shifting dimensions of scientific practice.

A Place for Science

On the trail of the haunts, homes, and posts of knowledge, from the laboratory to the field.


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