Long Now talk: Nature is Rebounding

The latest Long Now Seminar talk has just now been placed online as an .mp3. The long 14th January 2015 talk is by Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University, speaking about how “Nature is Rebounding”…

“We worry about the wrong things, fail to worry about the right things, and fail to acknowledge and expand the things that are going well. For decades at Rockefeller University Jesse Ausubel has assembled assembled global data and trends [Dædalus] showing that humanity may be entering an exceptionally Green century.”

Broadly there’s said to be good reason for optimism about almost every area of nature’s self-regeneration. But there are still deep worries about the damaging industrial methods we use to fish the deep oceans. It sounds to me like the deep ocean, especially in the global south, desperately needs a global ten-year moratorium on all fishing vessels that trawl the deep using industrial-scale methods. Along with good protections against those boats simply shifting their activities over to shallow coastal areas instead.

Since most of the microplastic in the oceans seems to be from lost trawler nets and bouys, at least according to Ausubel’s personal observations, 1 such a ten-year moratorium might also help reduce the plastic pollution of the oceans.

Ausubel’s research also explores the decoupling of acreage and agricultural yields…


1. Although I should note that others also blame 88 to 95% of ocean-borne plastic pollution on 10 big heavily-polluted rivers in India, China and Nigeria. So there may be more work do be done on the precise origins of the bulk of microplastics in the open oceans.

The ten rivers are:

In East Asia:
Hai He

In South Asia:
Ganges Delta

In Africa: