Donate your body and the momentum of climate change

Rebecca George doesn’t mind the vultures whining from the trees surrounding the Western Carolina University cadaver farm. Her arrival has interrupted her breakfast. George studies human decomposition and part of decomposition is becoming food. Scavengers are welcome.

George, a forensic anthropologist, places the body of a donor in the Forensic Osteology Research Station, known as FOREST. This is Enclosure One, where the donors break down naturally on the ground. Nearby is Enclosure Two, where researchers study bodies that have been buried in the ground. She is the curator of the facility and oversees the donors, sometimes for years, as they become nothing more than bones.

In the US, about 20,000 people or their families donate their bodies to scientific research and education each year. Whatever the reason, the decision becomes a gift. The WEST CAROLINA FOREST is one of the places where careful keepers know that the dead and the living are deeply connected, and how you treat the former reflects how you treat the latter. Read the full story.

—Abby Ohlheiser

We’re excited to share this first piece of our upcoming mortality-themed issue, available October 26. If you want to read it when it’s published, you can subscribe to MIT Technology Review for as little as $80 a year.

Climate action is gathering momentum. So are disasters.

In recent months, we have seen startling progress on climate action and frightening signs of the dangers we have unleashed.

The US finally became a leader on climate action, enacting a trio of important laws that could add up to the largest federal investment ever in clean energy and climate technologies, and renewables, electric vehicles and alternatives to meat are now major competitive options. .

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But in many other ways, we are starting tragically, disastrously, unforgivably late. As we prepare to make faster progress in the future, the measure that matters most has continued to rise: global emissions reached their highest level in 2021. So we must redouble our efforts to accelerate emissions reductions, and fast. . Read the full story.

This essay is an extended version of James Temple’s keynote address this morning at ClimateTech, MIT Technology Review’s inaugural climate and energy conference taking place today and tomorrow. Sign up for last minute tickets and follow the latest updates on our live blog.

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