Simon Pierre Barrette

Extreme Fires, Creative Solutions

Dr. Brendan Rogers, Assistant Scientist, , UCS

We live in a time of extremes. Our daily news cycle is replete with extreme language, extreme corruption, and extreme threats. It’s easy to become numb, a self-defense mechanism, and equate these extremes with normal. I sometimes find myself falling victim to this mentality, and quickly snap out of it.

Before this barrage of daily extremes I had a much more benign, Earthly connection with the concept of ‘extreme’. I’m a scientist who studies our northern forests, boreal forests. I’ve always been fascinated by the ability of boreal trees, animals, and other organisms to thrive in such extreme conditions. After flying north and setting foot in a dense, mossy boreal forest, the extreme is palpable. Read more >

Photo: Simon Pierre Barrette, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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There Would Be No Smoke If There Were No Fires

Sarah Henderson, PhD
, , UCS

Right now Indonesian farmers are burning hundreds of thousands of hectares of the oldest rainforests on earth to clear land for plantation crops. The resulting smoke has covered Southeast Asia in a thick haze, affecting the health of hundreds of millions of people. This happens every year, which is incredibly frustrating because the Indonesian government made slash-and-burn agriculture largely illegal in 2001, following the severe regional haze it generated 1997-1998. On paper those laws were strengthened in 2009 and again 2014, but in actuality the 2015-2016 season is likely to be the worst on record.

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