Saturday, January 29, 2011

In case you're short on things to read

Eric ponders Animality and the Word of God: where to draw the boundaries between human and non-human animals and what the theological import of that relationship is. He also posts one of my favourite T. S. Eliot poems, which happens to be relevant to the discussion.

Kevin highlights the real problem with genetically modified (GM) food. It's not that it might be poisonous to our bodies, but that it is toxic to our body politic.

Dana offers a a case study in scientific integrity. Though this is his first foray into the Guardian, I've read quite a bit of Dana's writing and he knows what he's talking about (he's also now posted a further analysis of the replies to his Guardian piece). RealClimate recently published a piece with a similar theme but taking an example from a very different field.

Richard wonders whether individual action is pointless, given the scale of the challenges we face. His answer: our actions may not make a difference, but our example might. An excellent paper going into much more detail on the inadequacy of merely personal lifestyle changes can be found here.
H/T Chris Taylor.

Mongabay asks "What's so wrong with palm oil?", and answers in great detail.

Greenfyre wonders what if there had been no BP oil spill? He offers a perspective which was later mirrored by The Onion: ensuring that all the oil reaches its desired destinations is also an ongoing catastrophe of an even larger scale.

And Jeremy compares our present need for rapid and radical social change with what was achieved in the UK during WWII:
"There is no underestimating the scale and pace of change that happened during the war. Coal use dropped by a quarter, general consumption fell by 16%, car use dropped 95%. Sacrifices were made, but as people ate less and often ate better, levels of health and fitness rose accordingly. Infant mortality and the suicide rate fell, and spending on entertainment was one of the few areas that grew."
See also this piece by Caroline Lucas MP.