As I write this letter, the long-predicted fall surge of Covid-19 is beginning in countries across the Northern Hemisphere. In the United States alone, more than 204,000 people have died from the coronavirus. People of color are bearing the brunt of the virus’s devastation, which has been immeasurably compounded by a long history of racist policy. Dry, hot winds threaten even more wildfires in heat-scorched California, which has lost 3.6 million acres this year alone. Sea ice in the Arctic has reached its second-lowest point in 40 years of recorded history. Nearly one in eight American households is going hungry.
It’s with a heavy heart that I must announce that today is my last day as editor of Future Human.
I dreamt of launching this publication for many years — specifically, a site that covered science, technology, and climate with an eye toward the shifting future and a focus on the people who are most vulnerable to the changes ahead. Future Human is unique in that regard, and I’m so grateful to my team for bringing that vision to life.
The climate activist and scientist Alicia Pérez-Porro is, in her own words, “hyperactive and does a lot of things.” But even that might be an understatement.
Though she used to study the effects of the climate on sea sponge genetics, the marine biologist now focuses on climate activism and justice, which she says enables her to directly engage in the climate conversation in a way that research did not. Now, she’s the president of an association of Spanish scientists in the United States called ECUSA; is the scientific coordinator at the Spanish research center CREAF; co-founded Ellas Lideran (“women lead”)…
Before she started thinking about the future of food, climate scientist Sonali McDermid, PhD, studied the ancient past. Specifically, the Pleistocene era, a period 3 million years ago when warming global temperatures changed the Earth’s climate. For McDermid, it was impossible not to draw comparisons to the present — and think about the billions of people who would be affected by such a shift today.
Meanwhile, she was also thinking about food: where it comes from, who gets to eat it, and what will happen to it as the climate changes. She fused these interests over time, and now she’s…
As if you needed another reason to get vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released exciting new guidance today saying that people who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States. Previously, the CDC recommended that all people avoid it.
Vaccinated travelers must still continue to follow all the usual safety precautions, like wearing masks, social distancing, and washing their hands frequently, and people who want to travel internationally must still take a Covid-19 test if their destination requires it. …
Today I woke up to some much-needed good news: The Pfizer vaccine is 100% effective in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15, according to the company. If the findings hold up to peer review, they could be a game-changer for kids (and their parents) desperately hoping for a safe return to school. Right now, kids under 16 still aren’t eligible for vaccination, as science journalist Emily Willingham wrote in the Coronavirus Blog, but it looks like they could be soon.
Meanwhile, more and more adults across the country are getting vaccinated (I’m currently seeking a slot…
Last week, when the World Health Organization said the AstraZeneca vaccine was safe to use, after much speculation about its link to blood clots, I thought that the company’s drama was over. (Experts say it is not linked to an increased risk of blood clots.) The trial results it released on Monday suggested the vaccine was 79% effective. It was a promising start to the week.
In a handful of clinics across Canada and the United States, therapists are administering ketamine to their patients to help them explore the psychological trauma left by racism. Ketamine, a psychedelic drug used in hospitals as an anesthetic and recreationally for its dissociative effects, seems to help people view their trauma through a third-person perspective, writes science journalist Emma Betuel in Future Human. In turn, they are able to extend compassion to themselves and learn to heal.
When President Joe Biden declared on his campaign trail that he would administer 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in his first 100 days, I admit that I was highly skeptical. At the time, optimism seemed out of reach. But right now is a very different time: Today, on Biden’s 58th day in office, his administration reached its goal. With over 118 million doses administered, 12.6% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
In the meantime, pressure for the United States to share its stockpile of doses has mounted. Which is fair! About 7 million doses…
Around the world, six vaccines have been approved for limited use and seven approved for full use. This week, China authorized a fifth vaccine from Anhui Zhifei Longcom and IMCAS.
Vaccines are being rolled out in many nations, but access to vaccines and vaccination rates continue to vary widely. Israel continues to lead the world in the vaccine rollout with 53.1% of its population covered, according to Bloomberg’s vaccination tracker. The United States has covered 17.7% of its population. Many countries still have less than 1% of their populations covered.
This week, concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine rose then reached…