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Insights/Opinion
A northern cardinal and finch in the snow. Mark Moschell / Flickr

Is Winter Miserable for Wildlife?

By Bridget B. Baker

While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing?

Anyone who's walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw—which partly explains the boom in the pet clothing industry. But chipmunks and cardinals don't get fashionable coats or booties.

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Bound bales of crushed plastic bottles and containers sit stacked ready to be recycled at a recycling center in the Netherlands. Jasper Juinen / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Toward a Circular Economy: Tackling the Plastics Recycling Problem

By Margaret Sobkowicz

Why has the world continued to increase consumption of plastic materials when at the same time, environmental and human health concerns over their use have grown?

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Insights/Opinion
Rising temperatures and more frequent wildfires in Alaskan national parks could affect caribou's habitat and winter food sources. Zak Richter / NPS

To Preserve National Parks in a Warming World, Reconnect Fragmented Public Lands

By Stephen Nash

The Trump administration's decision to keep many U.S. national parks open during the current federal government shutdown, with few or no staff, spotlights how popular and how vulnerable these unique places are.

Some states, such as Utah and Arizona, have spent heavily to keep parks open rather than lose tourist revenues. Unfortunately, without rangers to enforce rules, some visitors have strewn garbage and vandalized scenic areas.

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Insights/Opinion
A mix of fats, such as those found in nuts, avocados, salmon and olives, could be healthy and more satisfying. a_namenko / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Learn to Balance Fats for a Healthier Diet, Researcher Argues

By Heidi Silver

Public health guidelines, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, have long emphasized reducing dietary fat intake, but nutritionists and other health scientists now have more recent evidence that not all fats have adverse effects. Dietary fats differ with regard to their effects on health and risk for chronic diseases, particularly in regard to effects on risk for heart disease.

Indeed, some nutrition experts now believe that certain types of dietary fat may even reduce cardiovascular risk. Some dietary fats may lower fats in the blood called triglycerides. They may also increase levels of HDL, or what is known as the "good" cholesterol, and reduce LDL-cholesterol, or the less healthy type of cholesterol, thus improving the HDL to total cholesterol ratio.

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Science
Xinhua / Jin Liwang / Getty Images

Will China’s Moon Landing Launch a New Space Race?

By Wendy Whitman Cobb

China became the third country to land a probe on the Moon on Jan. 2. But, more importantly, it became the first to do so on the far side of the moon, often called the dark side. The ability to land on the far side of the moon is a technical achievement in its own right, one that neither Russia nor the U.S. has pursued.

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The Orchard Road shopping area in Singapore on Nov. 17, 2018. TkKurikawa / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

Singapore 'Smoking Ban' Is an Odd Way to Reduce Air Pollution

By John Bryson

On Jan. 1, Singapore introduced a "no smoking zone" along a three kilometer (approximately 1.9 mile) stretch of Orchard Road—one of the city's busiest shopping districts. It sounds controversial—restricting people's right to smoke in public spaces, as a way of tackling air pollution and improving public health. But smoking is not actually banned down the length of Orchard Road: instead, smokers will be concentrated in 40 designated smoking areas, spaced 100 to 200 meters (approximately 330 to 660 feet) apart.

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Animals
Peacock Mantis Shrimp in its burrow in coral reef of Indo-Pacific. Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Moment / Getty Images

A Cooler Ocean Predator Than Sharks? Consider the Mantis Shrimps

By Thomas Cronin

When you think about fearsome predators in the ocean, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a shark. Sure, sharks are ok, with their sleek, menacing shape and their gaping jaws with rows of jagged teeth. But if you were a fish living on a coral reef or cruising along the shore over the sands of a tropical island, you would fear a far more terrifying predator.

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esinesra / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

Diet Soda May Be Hurting Your Diet

By Eunice Zhang

Artificial sweeteners are everywhere, but the jury is still out on whether these chemicals are harmless. Also called non-nutritive sweeteners, these can be synthetic—such as saccharin and aspartame—or naturally derived, such as steviol, which comes from the stevia plant. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved six types of artificial and two types of natural non-nutritive sweeteners for use in food.

That's been great news for those working hard to curb their sugar consumption. Aspartame, for example, is found in more than 6,000 foods worldwide, and about 5,000-5,500 tons are consumed every year in the U.S. alone.

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Insights/Opinion
Matt_Gibson / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Environmental Storytelling Can Help Spread Big Ideas for Saving the Planet

By Denise Baden

Tackling climate change will require huge changes in society. Decarbonizing energy, restoring habitat and making food supply sustainable are all critical, but methods for motivating these actions have typically taken the wrong approach—by highlighting the urgency of the issues and the disastrous consequences of failing to act.

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