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Philip Rozenski / iStock

America Needs a Plastics Intervention. Now’s the Time.

By Jeff Turrentine

Deep in our hearts, we know that the global addiction to plastic is wholly unsustainable. It's why so many of us make a real effort to significantly curtail our use of plastic bottles and bags, clamshell packaging, straws, disposable utensils and the like.

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Stop Pruitt rally to oppose the EPA administrator nomination, February 2017. Lorie Shaull

The DOI and EPA Are in Tatters

By Brian Palmer

As a candidate for president, Donald Trump made exaggerated promises tailor-made for his base. One of those was a vow to eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "in almost every form." In its most literal sense, the idea seemed ludicrous. "Trump's campaign vow to eliminate the EPA was farcical and naive," said John Walke, director of NRDC's Clean Air Project. "The laws of the United States prevent him from carrying it out, and the vast majority of people in Congress and the country disagree with doing so."

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A mural painted with Air-Ink. Graviky Labs

This Start-Up Has Figured Out How to Turn Diesel Pollution Into Art

By Clara Chaisson

Air pollution isn't pretty. Worldwide, it's linked to stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, low birth weight and millions of premature deaths annually.

In the world's most polluted cities, the particles can be so dense that they obscure the sky and stain everything from clothes to windowpanes.

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Animals
Polar Bear in Nunavut Canada. Andre Anita / iStock Photo

The Polar Bear, Climate Change’s Poster Child, Ignites Controversy

By Jason Bittel

Twenty years ago, polar bears made people think of Coca-Cola. Ten years ago, the bruins became the face of climate change because their melting Arctic ice habitat perfectly captured the dangers of a warming world. More recently, as a direct result of the bears' environmental poster child status, science deniers have begun using them in attempts to turn the argument for climate science on its head. But now, there's no way to talk about polar bears without talking about one particular viral video.

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Trump Watch
Activists protest during the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn. Philipp Guelland /EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

5 Environmental Triumphs Over Trump in 2017

By Clara Chaisson

From his flagrant dismissal of the scientific consensus on manmade climate change to his eagerness to see treasured landscapes degraded by extractive industries, Trump's disregard for clean air, drinkable water and natural heritage has been relentless during the first year of his presidency. Not only are his anti-environmental actions wrong, but many are illegal. And businesses, politicians, nonprofit groups and ordinary citizens alike have stepped up to fight his toxic agenda.

In the name of making spirits bright, here are five times Trump's environmental actions didn't succeed at trashing planet Earth in the past year.

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Cascade, 2015. Oil and alkyd on wood panel, 72 x 144 inches. Commissioned by Grand Rapids Art Museum with funds provided by Peter Wege, Jim and Mary Nelson, John and Muriel Halick, Mary B. Loupee, and Karl and Patricia Betz. Grand Rapids Art Museum, 2015 - 19. Alexis Rockman

Beauty and Despair Collide in These Murals of the Great Lakes

By Clara Chaisson

With loons and trout alongside allegorical monsters, the fantastical murals at the center of artist Alexis Rockman's new exhibition don't just look like a dream sequence; they are a dream come true.

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Energy

Would More People Ride the Bus if It Looked and Felt Like a Train?

By Jeff Turrentine

It moves through city thoroughfares, towering above automobile traffic. It makes frequent stops to pick up and drop off passengers. It has places to sit, places to stand, and—yes—rubber-tired wheels that go 'round and 'round, all through the town.

But don't call it a bus. It's a "trackless electric train."

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Animals
Maxime Aliaga

Scientists Discover a New—and Endangered—Orangutan Species

By Jason Bittel

Scientists have discovered a new orangutan species in the mountainous forests of northern Sumatra. Of course, the Tapanuli orangutan has been here for quite a while—but it's new to us!

"Discovering a new species of great ape in this day and age just shows how little we know about the world around us and how much there still is to learn," said Erik Meijaard, a conservation scientist at the Australian National University and one of the authors of the new paper about the discovery, published online today in the journal Current Biology.

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Animals
www.facebook.com

Dogs Are a Kiwi’s Best Friend (and Worst Enemy)

By Jason Bittel

The kiwi is a small, flightless bird that spends most of the day underground. At night, these needle-billed, chicken-size floofs emerge to hunt insects, crayfish, seeds and fruit, but as they waddle through New Zealand's forests, they create invisible scent trails. By morning, kiwis have often unwittingly led a predator back to their burrows.

For most of their existence, kiwis had to deal only with a few avian predators, all of which are now extinct. But for the past 800 years, ever since humans and their pets first set foot on New Zealand, dogs have become one of the kiwi's greatest curses. Sure, cats (also introduced) eat kiwi chicks too. So do stoats (also introduced). And rats (yup, introduced) compete with kiwis for food. But dogs (both wild and domestic) take a grisly toll on the adults. Because kiwis lack a breastbone, even a small bite can crush them, according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC). "A dog can kill a kiwi by just giving it a playful push," the DOC website told us.

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