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This study found evidence of illegal hammerhead fins in 46 out of 46 sampling events in Hong Kong. NOAA / Teachers at Sea Program

By Jason Bittel

Authorities in Hong Kong intercepted some questionable cargo three years ago — a rather large shipment of shark fins that had originated in Panama. Shark fins are a hot commodity among some Asian communities for their use in soup, and most species are legally consumed in Hong Kong, but certain species are banned from international trade due to their extinction risk. And wouldn't you know it: this confiscated shipment contained nearly a ton of illegal hammerhead fins.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A jungle path through the El Yunque national forest in Puerto Rico. Data from the WWF report includes various examples of pressures driving forest population declines, one being disease affecting amphibians in Puerto Rico. dennisvdw / Getty Images Plus

By Wesley Rahn

The global population of forest-dwelling vertebrates has plummeted in the period between 1970 and 2014, according to a study published Tuesday by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Berlin.

Read More Show Less
Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The university announced in April that it has achieved carbon neutrality. Colgate University / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Jessica Corbett

More than 7,000 colleges and universities across the globe declared a climate emergency on Wednesday and unveiled a three-point plan to collectively commit to addressing the crisis.

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A regenerating stand of rainforest in northern Costa Rica. Matthew Fagan / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Fagan, Leighton Reid and Margaret Buck Holland

Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.

At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.

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Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. TED / YouTube screenshot

Let's be real: Renewable energy is super cool. Harnessing virtually limitless energy from the natural world? Check. Without releasing dangerous carbon pollution into our atmosphere? Double check.

Around the world, cities, states, countries, and companies are making the switch to clean, renewable energy to help stop climate change. Better yet? It just makes good economic sense.

Here are five eye-opening TED Talks that show how renewables are taking over every corner of the world — from Bhutan to Costa Rica, back to Germany, and more.

Read More Show Less
Sustainability activist and Instagram influencer Margarita Samsonova speaks with EcoWatch on her experience as a volunteer worker abroad. Facebook Live

EcoWatch teamed up with sustainability activist and Instagram influencer Margarita Samsonova via Facebook Live to give you the tools you need to make a massive impact on this planet through volunteer work.

Here are five steps including valuable "pro-tips" to get you on your way to a life-changing experience as a volunteer abroad.

Read More Show Less
Puntarenas, Costa Rica. kansasphoto/ Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Carlos Alvarado, the new president of Costa Rica, announced the country's "titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies."

He made the remarks at his inauguration speech Wednesday in front of a crowd of thousands, the Independent reported.

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Carlos Alvarado Quesada / Facebook

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the president-elect of Costa Rica, plans to continue the country's extraordinary stewardship of the environment with a pledge to decarbonize its transportation sector.

On Sunday, he promised that one day Costa Rica will "celebrate its emancipation from petrol and diesel in the transportation system, replacing them with clean energy," Climate Change News quoted him saying.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Even an increase of 2°C would cause significant sea level rise. pxhere

This past October, a widely disseminated United Nations report warned that far-reaching and significant climate impacts will already occur at 1.5˚C of warming by 2100.

But in a study released Tuesday, researchers determined that the current climate polices of governments around the world will push Earth towards 3.3˚C of warming. That's more than two times the aspirational 1.5˚C target adopted by nearly 200 nations under the 2015 Paris agreement.

Read More Show Less
Arnold Media / The Image Bank / Getty Images

This Saturday, November 17, is National Take a Hike Day. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, reconnect with nature and remind yourself of what we're trying to protect. In honor of the day, here are the EcoWatch team's favorite hikes, and the ones at the top of our bucket lists.

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A seagull pecks at a plastic bag on Jan. 30, 2017, in Venice Beach, California. Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

By Lorraine Chow

The world's plastic problem may seem vast and incalculable, but its footprint has actually been measured. In a sweeping 2015 study, researchers calculated that 9 billion tons of the material have been made, distributed and disposed in fewer than 70 years. That's an astonishing figure, but it's also one that's hard to picture. Perhaps a better way to illustrate the problem of plastics is by looking at the damage that can be caused by a single drinking straw.

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"Eólica" or wind power plant in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. ICE Group / Twitter

Costa Rica has charted another clean energy accolade. So far this year, the Central American country has run on 300 days of 100 percent power generation from renewable energy sources, according to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), which cited figures from the National Center for Energy Control.

With six weeks left of 2017 to go, Costa Rica could easily surpass 300 days.

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Háifoss waterfall in the south of Iceland. FEBRUARY / Getty Images

By Meredith Rosenberg

Between gas-guzzling flights, high-pollution cruise ships and energy-consuming hotels, travel takes a huge toll on the environment. Whether for business or vacation, for many people it's not realistic to simply stop traveling. So what's the solution? There are actually numerous ways to become more eco-conscious while traveling, which can be implemented with these expert tips.

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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

This study found evidence of illegal hammerhead fins in 46 out of 46 sampling events in Hong Kong. NOAA / Teachers at Sea Program

By Jason Bittel

Authorities in Hong Kong intercepted some questionable cargo three years ago — a rather large shipment of shark fins that had originated in Panama. Shark fins are a hot commodity among some Asian communities for their use in soup, and most species are legally consumed in Hong Kong, but certain species are banned from international trade due to their extinction risk. And wouldn't you know it: this confiscated shipment contained nearly a ton of illegal hammerhead fins.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A jungle path through the El Yunque national forest in Puerto Rico. Data from the WWF report includes various examples of pressures driving forest population declines, one being disease affecting amphibians in Puerto Rico. dennisvdw / Getty Images Plus

By Wesley Rahn

The global population of forest-dwelling vertebrates has plummeted in the period between 1970 and 2014, according to a study published Tuesday by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Berlin.

Read More Show Less
Case Library and Geyer Center for Information Technology on the campus of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The university announced in April that it has achieved carbon neutrality. Colgate University / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Jessica Corbett

More than 7,000 colleges and universities across the globe declared a climate emergency on Wednesday and unveiled a three-point plan to collectively commit to addressing the crisis.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch

A regenerating stand of rainforest in northern Costa Rica. Matthew Fagan / CC BY-ND

By Matthew Fagan, Leighton Reid and Margaret Buck Holland

Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.

At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. TED / YouTube screenshot

Let's be real: Renewable energy is super cool. Harnessing virtually limitless energy from the natural world? Check. Without releasing dangerous carbon pollution into our atmosphere? Double check.

Around the world, cities, states, countries, and companies are making the switch to clean, renewable energy to help stop climate change. Better yet? It just makes good economic sense.

Here are five eye-opening TED Talks that show how renewables are taking over every corner of the world — from Bhutan to Costa Rica, back to Germany, and more.

Read More Show Less
Sustainability activist and Instagram influencer Margarita Samsonova speaks with EcoWatch on her experience as a volunteer worker abroad. Facebook Live

EcoWatch teamed up with sustainability activist and Instagram influencer Margarita Samsonova via Facebook Live to give you the tools you need to make a massive impact on this planet through volunteer work.

Here are five steps including valuable "pro-tips" to get you on your way to a life-changing experience as a volunteer abroad.

Read More Show Less
Puntarenas, Costa Rica. kansasphoto/ Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Carlos Alvarado, the new president of Costa Rica, announced the country's "titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies."

He made the remarks at his inauguration speech Wednesday in front of a crowd of thousands, the Independent reported.

Read More Show Less
Carlos Alvarado Quesada / Facebook

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the president-elect of Costa Rica, plans to continue the country's extraordinary stewardship of the environment with a pledge to decarbonize its transportation sector.

On Sunday, he promised that one day Costa Rica will "celebrate its emancipation from petrol and diesel in the transportation system, replacing them with clean energy," Climate Change News quoted him saying.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Even an increase of 2°C would cause significant sea level rise. pxhere

This past October, a widely disseminated United Nations report warned that far-reaching and significant climate impacts will already occur at 1.5˚C of warming by 2100.

But in a study released Tuesday, researchers determined that the current climate polices of governments around the world will push Earth towards 3.3˚C of warming. That's more than two times the aspirational 1.5˚C target adopted by nearly 200 nations under the 2015 Paris agreement.

Read More Show Less
Arnold Media / The Image Bank / Getty Images

This Saturday, November 17, is National Take a Hike Day. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy, reconnect with nature and remind yourself of what we're trying to protect. In honor of the day, here are the EcoWatch team's favorite hikes, and the ones at the top of our bucket lists.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About EcoWatch