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A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Seabirds often follow fishing vessels to find easy meals. Alexander Petrov / TASS via Getty Images

By Jim Palardy

As 2021 dawns, people, ecosystems, and wildlife worldwide are facing a panoply of environmental issues. In an effort to help experts and policymakers determine where they might focus research, a panel of 25 scientists and practitioners — including me — from around the globe held discussions in the fall to identify emerging issues that deserve increased attention.

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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.

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New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

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Wildfires within the Arctic Circle in Alaska on June 4, 2020. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.

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An offshore oil platform in West Africa. Cavan Images / Getty Images

For the first time, researchers have identified 100 transnational corporations that take home the majority of profits from the ocean's economy.

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An epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) on a reef in the South Pacific. Auscape / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The future may be too hot for baby sharks, a study published Tuesday found.

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An illustration depicts a megalodon shark swimming after a pod of striped dolphins. Corey Ford / Stocktrek Images

The megalodon, or megatooth shark, was such a fearsome prehistoric predator that it continues to inspire horror films roughly 3.6 million years after its extinction.

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Pexels

By Alex Truelove

We're all culprits in the plastic pollution crisis — and that's by design.

I was reminded of this recently when I ordered a set of carbon filters for my countertop compost bin. (Like most people, I don't care for smelly kitchens.) The package arrived in a layered-plastic bubble envelope. Inside I found another clear plastic bag encasing the filters. Finally, adding insult to injury, each filter was wrapped individually in plastic. That made at least three layers of plastic for each filter.

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Conservation charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) led the rescue of a stranded orca in Scotland. Emma Neave-Webb and Imogen Sawyer / British Divers Marine Life Rescue / Facebook

A rare orca stranding on Scotland's Orkney Islands had a happy ending when volunteers and local residents teamed up to send the animal back out to sea.

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The red handfish, a relative of the extinct smooth handfish. Thor Carter / CSIRO Marine Research / CC BY 3.0

By John R. Platt

A few months ago a group of scientists warned about the rise of "extinction denial," an effort much like climate denial to mischaracterize the extinction crisis and suggest that human activity isn't really having a damaging effect on ecosystems and the whole planet.

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A Northwest Indian Ocean blue whale fluke breaks the surface before a dive off the Arabian Sea coast of Oman. Robert Baldwin / Environment Society of Oman

A new population of endangered blue whales has been hiding in the western Indian Ocean. According to NOAA, these gentle giants weigh up to 330,000 pounds and grow up to 110 feet long. The largest creature to have ever lived on Earth would seem hard to miss, but this group has been unknown to researchers – until now.

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The Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is seen from Futaba Town, Fukushima prefecture on March 11, 2020. STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP/ Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In what Japanese regulators on Wednesday called an "extremely serious" development, lethal levels of radiation have been recorded inside the damaged reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, threatening the shutdown and decommissioning of the site of the second-worst peacetime nuclear disaster in history.

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