With biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, the revival of extinct species is becoming possible. Stewart Brand plans to not only bring species back but restore them to the wild.
Brand is already a legend in the tech industry for things he’s created: the Whole Earth Catalog, The WELL, the Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, and the notion that “information wants to be free.” Now Brand, a lifelong environmentalist, wants to re-create -- or “de-extinct” -- a few animals that’ve disappeared from the planet.
Granted, resurrecting the woolly mammoth using ancient DNA may sound like mad science. But Brand’s Revive and Restore project has an entirely rational goal: to learn what causes extinctions so we can protect currently endangered species, preserve genetic and biological diversity, repair depleted ecosystems, and essentially “undo harm that humans have caused in the past.”
His newest book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.
Mark Z. Jacobson's research looks at the causes and effects of vastly complex processes -- the physics and chemistry of our atmosphere. He and his team at Stanford have pioneered new atmospheric research and analysis techniques that give a picture of the current state of our atmosphere, show what pollution from aerosols, ethanol, agriculture, and ultraviolet radiation are doing to it, and predict how these might affect the climate.
Jacobson developed the first interactive model showing the combined effects of gas, aerosols and radiative air-pollution on weather systems. He also discovered that black carbon -- the main component of soot particles -- may be the second-leading cause of global warming after carbon dioxide.
Jacobson's group developed the world's first wind map based on data at the height of modern wind turbines -- serving as the scientific justification for major wind farm proposals in recent years.