Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
Science has a fun new tip for women who aren’t sure if they want children: Listen to your clocks. No, not the “biological clocks” that start counting down from puberty until menopause — actual clocks, like the little round, white-faced classroom clocks with the red second-hands and incessant ticking, which once represented all those moments until after-school freedom. Now, researchers say, they might signify more than that. Clocks can encourage women to start having babies sooner.
It’s a strange hypothesis, but according to new findings published in the journal Human Nature, the subtle sound of a ticking clock might actually be able to “speed up” a woman’s biological clock — especially if she was raised in a lower income community. Researchers polled a group of women and men from various socioeconomic backgrounds to assess how environmental factors (like the sound of a clock) affected participants’ reproductive decisions, asking when respondents wanted to have children and with what sort of partner. In some of the interviews, a clock could be heard ticking audibly, while in others there was no clock present. The results give away the difference:
Their findings suggest that priming the idea of the passage of time through the sound of a ticking clock can influence various aspects of women’s reproductive timing. The effect was especially noticeable among women who grew up in lower socio-economic communities. They wanted to get married and have their first child at a younger age than women with more resources. They also lowered the priority that they placed on men’s social status and long-term earning potential. However, the effect of the clock did not do the same for men. The researchers were not surprised by this because men are able to father children well into their old age. Their reproductive lives are therefore not as limited as that of women.
Men’s reproductive lives also aren’t a subject on which we focus the same way as we do women’s, which could also explain the difference. The results, of course, do not definitively suggest that the clocks sharply influenced women’s reproductive plans; the age at which women plan to start families, or their plans to start families at all, can change dramatically over the course of a lifetime. Still, it’s interesting to note just how ingrained the idea of a woman’s expiring fertility has become. It’s such a fixation, we can sometimes sense it with every second that passes.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.