Recent Submissions

  • Life Boat Ethics Revisited: What Should Be the Reaction to the Maldives Crisis 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2010)
    The climate change crisis and exponential population growth have now reached a point where thinking about the unthinkable cannot be postponed. Over 30 years ago, Garrett Hardin used a lifeboat metaphor to describe the ...
  • The Non-Pesticide Silent Spring 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2007)
    This commentary was a result of John Cairns, Jr. witnessing the blocking of the US Senate resolution to honor Rachel Carson on what would have been her 100th birthday in 2007. When Carson s controversial book Silent Spring, ...
  • It's the Biosphere, Stupid! 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2007)
    The biosphere is humankind s life support system and the source of the resources that drive exponential growth. Without the biospheric life support system functioning in a way that is favorable to humans, humankind could ...
  • Can Humans Respond to a Long-term Shortage of Renewable Resources 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2011)
    If humanity wishes to continue to do business as usual, it must learn to adapt to the consequences of climate change and the decreased availability of renewable resources. Responding to rapid climate change will take the ...
  • King Midas and the Money Touch 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2011)
    King Midas is known in myths and legends as the king who wished that all he touched might become gold. Modern humans are just as greedy as King Midas. In their efforts to make a bigger profit, they are destroying the ...
  • Nature's Way: Quantity First, Quality Next 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2007)
    In nature, each species produces a larger quantity of offspring than needed for replacement. From this larger quantity, nature selects quality, or the fittest individuals for the specific ecologic niche the species holds. ...
  • Mother Nature Does Not Bargain or Forgive 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2008)
    Billions of individuals caused the present climate change problem; therefore, billions of individuals should be able to correct it by altering their lifestyles. This would involve using less fossil fuels for transportation, ...
  • Natural Law/ Human Law 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2008)
    This commentary is a response to Cormac Cullinan s 2008 article in Orion. In the article, Cullinan writes, _In the eyes of American law today, most of the community of life on Earth remains mere property, natural «resources ...
  • Garrt Hardin's Lifeboat Ethics Applied to Environmental Migrants 

    Cairns, John (The Social Contract, 2010)
    As human population grows, it begins to exceed the Earth s carrying capacity. Although very few countries have surplus capacity, or are under capacity, desperate people migrate to nations that appear to have a surplus of ...
  • Humankind's Ultimate Security 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2006)
    While humankind is obsessed with economic growth, terrorism, and unverified rumors of weapons of mass destruction, a much greater threat to both individual and societal security is developing with frightening rapidity the ...
  • Has Human Society Passed a Tipping Point for Effective Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions? 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2010)
    Recent publications have indicated that a 2 C increase of global average temperature, once thought acceptable, may involve serious risks (Greg, 2004). A global mean tempurature increase of 4 C would be hotter than any time ...
  • Human Effects Upon Revolutionary Processes in the Biosphere 

    Cairns, John (National Academy of Sciences, 2011)
    Persuasive evidence indicates that the biosphere is experiencing a major biotic crisis and even if humankind ceases stress on natural systems, the crisis will most likely disrupt or alter the surviving ecosystems. The new ...
  • Human Density and the Biospheric Life Support System 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2006)
    The fossil record shows that all Earth s species have been transient. Yet humankind espouses sustainable development (which is based on continued human occupancy of the planet) despite the probability that Earth may last ...
  • Biospheric Changes are Threat Multipliers 

    Cairns, John (National Academy of Sciences, 2010)
    A threat multiplier is defined as another agent that impacts a current situation, creating an additional set of problems while also making existing problems worse. Sometimes a seemingly innocent change in the biosphere ...
  • Human Alteration of Evolutionary Processes 

    Cairns, John (Online Proceedings of the Symposium: The Future of Life and the Future of our Civilization, 2005)
    Soviet climaologist Budyko has remarked: _temperature and rainfall are the two major variables of life on Earth. Human society is changing both of these phenomena markedly, along with many other key variables that affect ...
  • The Human Economy is a Subset of the Biosphere 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2010)
    For decades, deniers of the need to protect the environment have used the tactic of pitting the environment against the economy. However, the disingenuous tactic ignores the dependence of the human economy on the biosphere ...
  • Some Consequences of the Inability to Halt Global Climate Change 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2009)
    What kind of a world does humankind want? If it is one that closely resembles the one we have it is essential to avoid the consequences of _business as usual. The biological diversity now present constitutes the biospheric ...
  • Why is Humankind Eliminating its Future 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2011)
    Scientific evidence on climate change, including global warming, is more abundant than ever, but politicians and citizens are rejecting or attacking scientists for the evidence they have found. Science is reality based on ...
  • Integrating Information from Different Levels of Biological Organization 

    Cairns, John (Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences, 2007)
    Global ecological problems as well as regional problems require information from a variety of levels of biological organization from single species to ecosystems. Both scientists and decision makers benefit from synthesis ...
  • Imprinting: Theater of the Absurd or ? 

    Cairns, John (Virginia Tech, 2008)
    Rampant individualism is defined as the refusal to admit that one is part of the interdependent web of life, which is the common relationship between humans and the biospheric life support system. The term _theater of the ...

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