Launching in January 2020, Nature Reviews Earth & Environment aimed to collate the rapidly growing literature discussing all aspects of Earth and environmental science. “More than that, a prime objective when setting the journal’s aims and scope was to encourage Earth scientists to work with broader communities to better understand the interactions between the natural environment and society”, comments Chief Editor Graham Simpkins.
A highly-accessed Review by Hauer and colleagues, for example, collated the expanding knowledge of mobility and migration responses to sea-level rise. The work highlights the complex interaction between environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic factors that drive migration. “While these factors make it difficult to pinpoint the exact number of people at risk, even under the most optimistic scenario, 100,000s of thousands of people will likely be displaced”, comments Graham.
Recognising that a key factor in minimising climate impacts – including sea level rise – is by reducing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, a Review by Snæbjörnsdóttir and colleagues outlined how CO2 can be stored underground through carbon mineralization. Although present-day capacity of this process is limited, scaling up the technology offers a potentially feasible method for long-term carbon capture and storage, albeit with minor risks of induced seismicity.
Just as injecting CO2 underground for long-term storage may pose seismic risks, fracking – which injects high-pressure fluids to aid the extraction of oil and gas – has also increasingly been linked to earthquakes. A Review by Atkinson and colleagues described the latest developments in understanding induced seismicity through fracking. “The authors illustrated how earthquakes, sometimes exceeding magnitude 4, can occur in otherwise low seismic environments, posing societal risks” states Graham.
A further highly-accessed Review by Niinimäki and colleagues reflected on the environmental impacts of fast fashion, advocating for rapid changes in both consumer behaviour and industrial processes. This article crossed over into mainstream media outlets such as The Guardian and El País.
Graham mentions “Collectively, these articles illustrate the broad remit of Nature Reviews Earth & Environment and act to emphasise the key scientific interest and resulting societal value arising from environmental topics. Looking to the future, we will not only continue to offer a forum for multidisciplinary Reviews addressing pressing global environmental challenges, but also content related to community issues, such as barriers to fieldwork”.
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