Michael Coren covers science, economics and the environment. He is the co-founder of the multimedia production studio + newsroom MajorPlanet Studios. He writes from San Francisco.
Michael began his career at newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News, and joined Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post as a reporter, later becoming its managing editor after receiving a Luce Fellowship to report in Asia. He is a contributor to Fast Company, Foreign Policy and other publications reporting on the intersection of science, economics, and the environment. He also served as the science and environment producer for CNN.com and earned an MESc focused on environmental economics from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
When the tiny blue-tailed skink was officially reported extinct on the Hawaiian Islands this month, scientists knew only pieces of the story. How and when it happened remained unclear; the impact on the local ecosystem was equally uncertain.
Imagine the next economic crisis in 2013. As financial markets hit the panic button, the prices of corn, rice and other staples surge. Hunger ripples through developing countries—yet no one is sure what's happening on the ground. Refugees spill out of Africa's hinterlands and remote villages in Asia and Latin America, telling tales of famine. In the national capitals, it’s hard to know where to start fighting back. Blinkered governments launch relief efforts, unsure where the crisis is focused or where it began. Surveyors and food aid are sent in all directions with the hope that some of it will reach the places that need it most.