Other existential risks include the decline of natural resources (particularly water), human population growth beyond the Earth’s carrying capacity, and nuclear weapons.
Pictured is a slag pile at Broken Hill in New South Wales. Slag is a man-made waste product created during smelting.
Manufacturing minerals is an expanding field of study. Making more of them could help alleviate various pressures faced by our growing population. But how are they made, and where can they be used?
Swedish activist and student Greta Thunberg, centre, takes part in the Climate Strike in Montreal on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Economic growth and climate change are related. It is time to question the economics and foster discussions about the hard decisions we must make.
A severe blue-green algae bloom spreads across western Lake Erie on July 30, 2019.
NASA Earth Observatory
Should lakes, rivers and other resources have legal rights? New Zealand, Ecuador and other countries have taken this step. Now Toledo, Ohio is a US test case.
Government negligence, rampant development and illegal land clearing spark wildfires in Indonesia that annually ravage thousands of acres of forest.
July 29, 2019 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates may actually understate the problem.
Governments have been reluctant to work towards increased overbank flows, but the Basin needs it to boost its resilience.
The Murray-Darling Basin might not survive future climate change shocks without changes to the plan.
Caucasus mountains in Svaneti, northwest Georgia.
How does reporting on the environment promote democracy? A US journalism professor describes conditions in the republic of Georgia, where the media isn't equipped to cover issues like pollution.
A worker marks timber logs at a concession area in Sarawak, Malaysia. Rainforest logging in Asia feeds much of the world’s thirst for timber.
AP Photo/Vincent Thian
In a global economy, passing laws to conserve forests, fisheries or other natural resources can simply shift demand for those goods to other countries or regions where they aren't as well protected.
Presidential candidates Joko Widodo (L) and Prabowo Subianto (R) shake hands during a debate among candidates in Jakarta, Indonesia, 17 February 2019.
Prabowo Subianto spoke in normative terms and failed to criticise Joko Widodo's work.
African economies could benefit more from backward linkages to the mining industry than from beneficiation.
A dilapidated house in the northern Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat is seen in April 2016. The parliamentary budget officer says it will cost more than $3 billion to bring First Nations water infrastructure up to standards seen in comparable non-Indigenous communities.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
If we continue to shut Indigenous communities out of the modern economy, critical infrastructure projects will continue to be delayed and natural resources will remain stuck in the ground.
Purse seiner fishing in the Indian Ocean. Footprint estimates do not assess how sustainably resources such as fisheries are managed.
August 1, 2018 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates actually understate the problem.
How much would you pay to make this disappear?
Emilian Robert Vicol
What would you pay to keep trash off your favorite beach, or pollution away from a national park? Economists can tease these values out of our travel choices and use the numbers to help make policy.
Slums in Caracas, Venezuela.
The global population is climbing faster and faster. What will this mean for future generations?
Pastoralists on a dry plain in central Mali, one of the seven Sahel countries hit by a wave of deadly attacks.
A big rise in armed attacks in the Sahel - and the intensity of the attacks in recent years - is now seen as a major source of concern.
The Iguazu Falls in Brazil are part of the Guarani Aquifer, one of the world’s major underground reserves of fresh water. The 8th World Water Forum, part of 2018 World Water Day, is being held in Brazil, home to the most fresh water on Earth.
Water is one of our most precious resources, yet it's in danger. World Water Day reminds us of the need to develop policies and governance to avoid squandering water.
In the Randilen Wildlife Management Area. higher densities of giraffes and dik-diks were found.
A new study found that community-based wildlife conservation can quickly result in clear ecological success.
Images created by NASA with satellite data helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyze outbreak patterns for southern pine beetles in Alabama, in spring 2016.
Big data open-access publishing and other advances offer ecologists the ability to forecast events like pest outbreaks over days and seasons rather than decades. But scholars need to seize this opportunity.
Since 1800, the world’s population has multiplied seven and a half times.
The world’s population has reached 7.5 billion and is expected to climb to nearly 10 billion by 2050. Why will population growth inevitably continue? Should we try to reduce or stop this growth?
Sand for use in hydraulic fracturing operations at a processing plant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 2011.
AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)
Overuse of sand for construction and industry is harming the environment and fueling violence around the world. Scientists explain why we need international rules to regulate sand mining and use.