The brain, like the climate, is awfully good at convincing us not to give it too much thought. The climate just changes so slowly, and the ol’ noodle is just noodling around up there: doing its brainy thing and making sure we keep breathing. Here at Grist, though, we’ve got both of these things on the mind.

Because here’s the thing: We know all too well the havoc that things like drought, pollution, mining, and climate change can wreak on places and critters and cities and even on our own bodies. We can almost always see that destruction as it happens. But what about changes on the inside? In this special series, we take a look at the connections — fascinating, foreboding, and all too real — between the shifting environment and the human brain.