BEST Contributions to Earth Day 2020

Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020 and it couldn’t come at a more pivotal point in history, with climate action positioned as one of the most pressing issues of our time. BEST researcher and lead for the Behavioural Economics and Non-Market Interactions program, Professor Benno Torgler lends his perspective in collaboration with Steve Bickley (PhD Student) and Alison Macintyre (BEST Research Fellow) to the Nature Research Behaviour and Social Sciences Community in a series of articles surrounding Earth Day 2020.

Their first piece looks at how the current pandemic has initiated an unplanned natural experiment; stress-testing our society and our capacity for adaptation. They continue by highlighting how the Earth has shown some signs of the possible recovery and regeneration that we could achieve by actively addressing climate change. The second piece presents a discussion of learnings to be taken away from James Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Hypothesis, who at 99 years of age published what might be his last book: Novacene. In this article, Benno reflects on the core messages of Lovelock’s book and draws parallels to our current situation. Finally, Steve, Alison and Benno provide an analysis of COVID-19’s impact on the maritime industry, indicating that it has experienced reduced demand for fresh fish products, international container shipping, research/conservation and naval activity. They highlight that although this is a plus for oceanic health, it could increase illicit maritime activities; impacting fish levels, smuggling and piracy.

To read all of the contributions in full, follow the links to the Nature Research Behaviour and Social Sciences Community page below.