Tys Sweeney is a sophomore studying political science. Tys can be reached at tys.sweeney@tufts.edu.

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Taking responsibility for traveling

Many Tufts students travel home by air for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, polluting the atmosphere in the process. Air travel can make up a significant portion of an individual’s carbon footprint — a round-trip flight to a city in Western Europe will cost about two tons of carbon dioxide — so what can we do about […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: The real problem with Bitcoin

I never bought into the Bitcoin hype, partly because I personally don’t believe the world is quite ready for the transition to a completely anational digital currency. But if you’ve read my column, you know I care about the intersection of environmental, political and financial issues. My issue with cryptocurrency extends beyond financial arguments. I […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: A case for charismatic megafauna

The case against the charismatic megafauna model for conservation is strong: Publicizing species such as elephants, lions and whales skews efforts to protect lesser-known or less attractive species, including many at-risk insects, plants and crustaceans. And this, in many ways, is very true. It’s often viewed as acceptable to spray a bee nest, while killing […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: The necessary response to ecological crime

The U.S. Department of the Interior protects vast tracts of land across the United States, preserving the pristine beauty of the North American continent for generations to come. Sort of. Only 28 percent of the land in our country is federally owned, and when it comes to protecting the rest of our nation’s beauty, our government often falls […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Medford’s proposed bag ban does not go far enough

An Oct. 17 Daily article reported that Medford will likely be joining neighboring municipalities in implementing a partial plastic bag ban, affecting “thin film” plastic bags, by the end of the year. I’m always excited when a state or municipality takes the initiative to protect our environment, but in Medford’s case, I’m disappointed. Though it […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Breaking down the UN climate report

Last week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a shocking report on the impacts of global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels — a diplomatically and scientifically relevant benchmark for global warming identified in the 2016 Paris Agreement. So what’s significant about the report? It’s the first report of its kind, […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Where is the Kindle curve?

Amazon’s Kindle debuted in 2007. It was expensive and pretty ugly. Today, after more than a decade of development, the Kindle is an affordable and high-quality product, but I’ve always had a lingering question: Is the Kindle an environmentally sound option? In this week’s piece, I will investigate what it means to be environmentally sound, […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: The humanity in energy production

The arguments in favor of nuclear power are strong. We need plentiful low-cost, carbon-free energy to power our society and combat global warming. A shift to nuclear energy would tilt geopolitical power structures away from oil-producing nations and allow us to more easily address human rights abuses in countries like Saudi Arabia. Nuclear power is young […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Is urbanization a positive force?

When I ask whether urbanization is a positive force, I am really asking two questions: Is the standard of living higher for people who live in cities? And, is it a positive force for the environment? Urbanization can lead to economic development, and, if done well, can help reduce the effects of climate change by […]

Pretty Lawns and Gardens: Why public fossil fuel divestment is a long-term strategy

In “Pretty Lawns and Gardens” I will discuss political ecology, or the study of the ever-important relationships between political entities, economic forces and our shared world. Each week, I will be looking at an environmental issue from an economic or political perspective, with the understanding that what is best for the earth is often best […]