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By Dan Nosowitz
Scientists from North Carolina State University stumbled into a weird paradox while analyzing certain high-altitude bees in the Rocky Mountains.
The team studied three species of bees in the subalpine regions of the Mountain West along with 43 years of local flower bloom data in order to understand how climate change might affect the pollinators.
The first part of their findings is very predictable: over the past four decades, warmer temperatures and less snowfall has led to longer growing seasons, with flowers blooming earlier and lasting later into the year.
This sounds good for bees, right? Wrong. The research also found that these exact circumstances (hotter days, longer seasons, less precipitation) correlate with the exact opposite: the bees, though reliant on flowers, do much worse. What gives?
It turns out that a longer flowering season does not necessarily mean a better flowering season. Why? It's not that plants are producing more flowers, or longer-lasting flowers—they're producing the same amount of flowers over a longer period. And that means there are chunks of time when there are fewer flowers than before. It's as if you took your normal lunch and extended it to six hours, instead of one. Your lunch break might be longer, but you still have the same amount of food.
The study doesn't really provide any solutions, but it does add to the growing body of information regarding how plants and animals—including especially important pollinators—are reacting to climate change.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.