From the Guajira Desert to the Apennines, and from Mediterranean Microplates to the Mexican Killer Asteroid: Honoring the Career of Walter Alvarez
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
This volume pays tribute to the great career and extensive and varied scientific accomplishments of Walter Alvarez, on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2020, with a series of papers related to the many topics he covered in the past 60 years: Tectonics of microplates, structural geology, paleomagnetics, Apennine sedimentary sequences, geoarchaeology and Roman volcanics, Big History, and most famously the discovery of evidence for a large asteroidal impact event at the Cretaceous–Tertiary (now Cretaceous–Paleogene) boundary site in Gubbio, Italy, 40 years ago, which started a debate about the connection between meteorite impact and mass extinction. The manuscripts in this special volume were written by many of Walter’s close collaborators and friends, who have worked with him over the years and participated in many projects he carried out. The papers highlight specific aspects of the research and/or provide a summary of the current advances in the field.
Dinosaurs could not help it, can we? Big history and planetary health
Published:June 21, 2022
Olga García-Moreno*, Maarten P. Oranje, 2022. "Dinosaurs could not help it, can we? Big history and planetary health", From the Guajira Desert to the Apennines, and from Mediterranean Microplates to the Mexican Killer Asteroid: Honoring the Career of Walter Alvarez, Christian Koeberl, Philippe Claeys, Alessandro Montanari
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One of the most recent intellectual enterprises of the scientist honored in this book, Walter Alvarez, is the dive into big history. Alvarez’s research and worldview contributed directly to the foundations of this transdisciplinary field. In this paper, the relevance of big history to the emergent idea of planetary health is demonstrated. Since big history studies both natural and human-made systems over long periods of time, it is uniquely positioned to help address the three categories of challenges identified within planetary health: imagination, knowledge, and governance. Most extensively, this paper focuses on governance challenges. A case study on the Ethiopian health system illustrates that governance frameworks can be reimagined in such a way that incentives and efforts of actors within the system are aligned, producing better human health outcomes. For Homo sapiens to have a better chance of survival than dinosaurs did 66 million years ago, these lessons will need to be applied more broadly in the planetary health domain.