All posts tagged: planet’s future

American Families Have a Massive Food-Waste Problem

American Families Have a Massive Food-Waste Problem

If you have children, you probably already understand them to be very adorable food-waste machines. If you do not have children, I have five, so let me paint you a picture. On a recent Tuesday night, the post-dinner wreckage in my house was devastating. Peas were welded to the floor; my 5-year-old had decided that he was allergic to chicken and left a pile of it untouched on his plate. After working all day, making the meal in the first place, and then spending dinnertime convincing five irrational, tiny people to try their vegetables, I didn’t even have the energy to convince them to take their plates into the kitchen, let alone box up their leftovers for tomorrow. So I did exactly what I’m not supposed to do, according to the planet’s future: I threw it all out, washed the dishes, and flopped into bed, exhausted. Tens of millions of tons of food that leaves farms in the United States is wasted. Much of that waste happens at the industrial level, during harvesting, handling, storage, …

Earth’s Hot Oceans Are a Cosmic Tragedy

Earth’s Hot Oceans Are a Cosmic Tragedy

The ocean off the coast of southern Florida is having a long, hot summer. For weeks, surface temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, before dropping to the 80s last week. The world’s third-largest barrier reef is dying, and scientists are fishing out coral samples and bringing them to the cool safety of laboratory tanks. One spot along the coastline hit triple-digit temperatures last month, conditions you would expect inside a hot tub. Some coastal Floridians skipped their usual dips in the ocean because it didn’t seem appealing anymore. Marine heat waves—periods of persistent and anomalously high temperatures of surface seawater—have materialized in other parts of the world too. The surface temperatures of about 44 percent of Earth’s oceans are currently experiencing extreme heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some of that warming is to be expected, because 2023 is an El Niño year. But “all of these marine heat waves are made warmer because of climate change,” Dillon Amaya, a research scientist at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory, told me. June was already …