Category Archives: Environment

Protecting endangered species necessitates protecting threatened cultures

Science News reports: In shallow coastal waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, a seagrass-scrounging cousin of the manatee is in trouble. Environmental strains like pollution and habitat loss pose a major threat to dugong (Dugong dugon) survival, so much so that in December, the International Union for Conservation of Nature upgraded the species’ extinction… Read More »

Native seed banks in the U.S. have insufficient supplies to mitigate the effects of climate change

NPR reports: In the wake of wildfires, floods and droughts, restoring damaged landscapes and habitats requires native seeds. The U.S. doesn’t have enough, according to a report released Thursday. “Time is of the essence to bank the seeds and the genetic diversity our lands hold,” the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report… Read More »

Elephants, the gardeners of Africa’s rainforests, play a vital role in promoting carbon retention

Anthropocene magazine reports: Elephants been called a lot of things: the world’s largest land creatures, imperiled, majestic, charismatic. Now scientists have a few more terms for describing them: foresters and climate champions. In the jungles of equatorial Africa, scientists report that forest elephants play an important role in shaping the forest around them as they… Read More »

An ancient farming technique could stabilize crop yields under changing conditions

Science Alert reports: As climates around the world grow harsher and increasingly unpredictable, concerns are increasing over our world’s food security. Already, yields of staple crops like maize and wheat are dropping in low-latitude tropical regions and in dry and drying regions such as African drylands and parts of the Mediterranean. Wealthy countries are far… Read More »

Why we will never be able to live on another planet

Arwen E Nicholson and Raphaëlle D Haywood write: For decades, children have grown up with the daring movie adventures of intergalactic explorers and the untold habitable worlds they find. Many of the highest-grossing films are set on fictional planets, with paid advisors keeping the science ‘realistic’. At the same time, narratives of humans trying to… Read More »

Europe is winning the energy war with Putin, but food prices are likely to rise

Politico reports: Halfway through the first winter of Europe’s energy war with Russia, only one side is winning. When Vladimir Putin warned in September that Europeans would “freeze” if the West stuck to its energy sanctions against Russia, Moscow’s fossil fuel blackmail appeared to be going exactly to plan. European wholesale gas prices were north… Read More »

Rare earth mining may be key to our renewable energy future. But at what cost?

Carolyn Gramling writes: In spring 1949, three prospectors armed with Geiger counters set out to hunt for treasure in the arid mountains of southern Nevada and southeastern California. In the previous century, those mountains yielded gold, silver, copper and cobalt. But the men were looking for a different kind of treasure: uranium. The world was… Read More »

Nearly 200 countries approve a biodiversity accord enshrining human rights and the ‘rights of nature’

Inside Climate News reports: Nearly 200 countries have signed off on an agreement that embeds the promotion of human rights and the “rights of nature” into a plan to protect and restore biodiversity through 2030. The 14-page document, while nonbinding, was adopted on Dec. 19, 2022 at COP15, a 12-day conference convened in Montreal under… Read More »