The majority of the most read MDPI articles from August centre around the environment, covering ecological overshoot, the forecasting of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, and natural and human-caused drivers of global warming. Additionally, we also look at the possibility of pizza consumption alleviating some of the effects of rheumatoid arthritis and the diet of the whitespotted eagle ray.
“This article is part of my ongoing effort to draw attention to the major ‘environmental’ crisis facing humanity—not climate change, but rather ecological overshoot.
There are too many people consuming and polluting too much on our finite planet. Overshoot results from humanity’s natural expansionist tendencies reinforced by a socially constructed myth of perpetual material growth and continuous technological innovation powered by fossil fuels.
Overshoot is a meta-crisis, the cause of global heating, plunging biodiversity, land/soil degradation, ocean acidification, tropical deforestation, pollution of everything, i.e., the entropic dissipation of the ecosphere. No major co-symptom of overshoot can be addressed effectively in isolation, but addressing overshoot directly would relieve all co-symptoms simultaneously.
Society’s simplistic focus on climate change is therefore a distraction from the primary problem. Without a Plan ‘B’, energy/resource shortages and global entropic decay will force the contraction of the human enterprise, including a major population ‘correction’ in coming decades.”
The number of human deaths due to climate change is argued by some to be the most important metric to quantify future harms caused by carbon emissions. It is important, then, that the approaches used to calculate this are highly accurate.
This study compares the approaches used to estimate this figure and discusses the implications for energy policy. It is concluded that, as a rough indication, burning 1000 tons of fossil carbon causes one future premature death. In response, governments have a moral responsibility to implement energy policies to reduce carbon emissions to zero as quickly as possible.
“In our new collaborative study involving 37 co-authors from 18 countries, we investigate the relative contributions of natural and human-caused drivers to the observed global warming since 1850.
For this analysis, we focused on the Northern Hemisphere land component of global surface temperatures since this is the most data-rich region.
We compared two alternative temperature reconstructions – one using all available weather stations (urban or rural), the other using only rural stations or stations that had been explicitly corrected for urban warming effects.
We also compared two different estimates of the changes in solar activity since the 19th century.
Varying either or both of these choices led to different conclusions on the causes of the observed temperature changes: anything from ‘mostly human-caused’ to ‘mostly natural’ or ‘both human-caused and natural’.
Our findings suggest that the detection and attribution of the global warming problem are more challenging than currently assumed.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is a major public health issue worldwide, having significant effects on quality of life. Alleviating the disease burden is of high priority to those researching this condition.
This study investigates the potentially positive effects that pizza consumption has on rheumatoid arthritis. The authors found that participants who ate over half a pizza once a week experienced beneficial effects, with mozzarella and olive oil likely being the main drivers of this.
This study presents the first analysis of the whitespotted eagle ray’s diet in Florida waters using visual-based gut content analysis complemented with DNA barcoding. These dietary data can provide insight into this species’ potential to interact with shellfish enhancement activities and highlight its diverse role in the top-down regulation of coastal benthic communities.
If you want to find out more about any of the studies mentioned in this article, you can read them for free on the MDPI website.