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Have You Hugged an Ecologist Today?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorOctober 5, 2009 10:16 PM


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Ecology was once considered the "subversive science." To a large degree, environmentalism's legitimacy derives from its long-time alliance with ecology. If environmentalists were going to a big dance, they always chose ecology as their hot date. That was before climate change became the new girl on the block. Before climate change won an Oscar, became the subject of interminably long magazine profiles, the topic of endless blog chatter, the downfall of civilization. Ecologists have been sulking about this for the last few years. Mostly in silence. No more. In this essay published today at Yale 360, one ecologist argues that all the attention given to global warming

has had an unintended downside. In the rush to portray the perils of climate change, many other serious issues have been largely ignored. Climate change has become the poster child of environmental crises, complete with its own celebrities and campaigners. But is it so serious that we can afford to overlook the rise of infectious disease, the collapse of fisheries, the ongoing loss of forests and biodiversity, and the depletion of global water supplies?

Them's fighin' words. On a separate but related note, regarding the essay's headline, to all my editor colleagues: can we declare a moratorium on the phrase "inconvenient truth"?

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