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By Joel Christensen

In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins "Oedipus Tyrannos" with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It's his own bad leadership.)

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Large swarms of locusts have ravaged crops in East Africa, prompting authorities in Somalia to declare a national emergency, making it the first country in the region to do so, as Al Jazeera reported.

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Mrs. Beatrice Sebyala stands within her crop of maize at her farm in Nakasongola, Uganda. Beatrice uses her farm as a demo and example for other farmers. Uganda is home to the most organic producers in Africa. In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis / Getty Images

Organic farmers in Africa face an arduous journey getting cropland certified, limiting exports and frustrating farmers who say ecological practices could increase food security while protecting the land.

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NYC Skyline seen at sunset. Thijs Stoop / Unsplash

The U.S. is the wealthiest country to make an appearance on a list ranking the 10 nations with the most pollution-related deaths, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

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(Left to Right) Jane Fonda, Winona LaDuke and Sally Field protest during "Fire Drill Friday" climate change protest on Dec. 13 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski /Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

There's no question that 2019 was a wakeup call on the climate crisis. Everything from devastating extreme weather events and seeing the planet's hottest month in recorded history to increasingly dire scientific reports coming out seemingly each week removed any doubt that this global emergency is rapidly escalating. We could hardly blame someone for feeling discouraged.

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This image was taken in 2011 over Jökulsárlón, the largest glacial lake in Iceland. The photographer combined six exposures to capture two green auroral rings and their reflections off the lake. NASA / Stephane Vetter / TWAN / Nuits sacrees

By Dirk Lorenzen

2020 will be the year of Mars. The red planet will approach Earth in early October to within 62 million kilometers. Four space agencies are set to take advantage of this close encounter and send spacecraft to Mars. The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch its ExoMars rover on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome. ExoMars is set to land on the surface, dig into the soil and look for traces of past life. They will be looking for possible living microbes about half a meter below the Martian surface. Above it, harmful cosmic radiation makes life as we know it impossible.

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Forest landscape restoration in Ethiopia. CIFOR / Mokhamad Edliadi

By Erik Hoffner

Amid a deluge of news during the U.N. Climate Summit last month, one major announcement went largely uncovered, yet is among the most important initiatives aimed at reducing the effects of climate change revealed during the events in New York City.

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Owengarriff River along the Kerry Way, Ireland at Killarney National Park. David Madison / The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

Ireland will plant 440 million trees by 2040 as part of its efforts to combat the climate crisis, The Irish Times reported Saturday.

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People wade through flood waters in a rural neighborhood affected by Cyclone Idai on March 24. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

In another sign of the climate crisis, a record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather events during the first half of 2019, The New York Times reported Thursday.

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This map highlights by geographic region the leading underlying driver of food loss and waste. WRI analysis based on FAO (2011) and HLPE (2014)

The UN set a global goal to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030. Alarming figures show just how big of a challenge remains.

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A large pile of plastic bottles and cans collected on a street corner in downtown Manhattan, New York. Epics / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

When it comes to creating waste, no one tops the U.S. And when it comes to recycling waste, well, the U.S. is one of the worst, according to a new analysis by the English risk management firm Verisk Maplecroft.

The numbers for the outsized contribution to the global waste crisis by the U.S. are staggering. The U.S. makes up only four percent of the world's population, but produces 12 percent of the world's global waste. By contrast, China and India make up more than 36 percent of the world's population and produce 27 percent of global municipal solid waste, as The Guardian reported.

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An especially sanguine view of the Amazon jungle in Peru on Oct. 12, 2018. Kjell Eson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Genevieve Belmaker and Joseph Charpentier

Throughout 2018, forests continued to be threatened and destroyed. From the Amazon, to the Congo Basin, to the Mekong Delta and scores of places in between—journalists reporting for Mongabay filed hundreds of stories about the world's forests.

Although the significance of any one story is difficult to gauge in the short-term, several Mongabay reports from 2018 stood out. These pieces dealt with illegal timber trafficking, advances in technology-based environmental protections and human rights protections for the people doing environment-defense work—formal and informal.

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On the way out: A curve-billed reedhaunter in Uruguay. Hector Bottai, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Tim Radford

There is only one Earth, but human growth is ensuring that it carries steadily more passengers. And that leaves less and less room for humanity's companions on board the planet.

The Nile lechwe is an antelope that lives in the swamps of Ethiopia and South Sudan. Its Linnaean name is Kobus megaceros and it stands a meter high (approximately 3.3 feet) at the shoulders so you couldn't miss it. Except that you could.

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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

By Joel Christensen

In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins "Oedipus Tyrannos" with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It's his own bad leadership.)

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Large swarms of locusts have ravaged crops in East Africa, prompting authorities in Somalia to declare a national emergency, making it the first country in the region to do so, as Al Jazeera reported.

Read More Show Less
Mrs. Beatrice Sebyala stands within her crop of maize at her farm in Nakasongola, Uganda. Beatrice uses her farm as a demo and example for other farmers. Uganda is home to the most organic producers in Africa. In Pictures Ltd. / Corbis / Getty Images

Organic farmers in Africa face an arduous journey getting cropland certified, limiting exports and frustrating farmers who say ecological practices could increase food security while protecting the land.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch

NYC Skyline seen at sunset. Thijs Stoop / Unsplash

The U.S. is the wealthiest country to make an appearance on a list ranking the 10 nations with the most pollution-related deaths, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

(Left to Right) Jane Fonda, Winona LaDuke and Sally Field protest during "Fire Drill Friday" climate change protest on Dec. 13 in Washington, DC. John Lamparski /Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

There's no question that 2019 was a wakeup call on the climate crisis. Everything from devastating extreme weather events and seeing the planet's hottest month in recorded history to increasingly dire scientific reports coming out seemingly each week removed any doubt that this global emergency is rapidly escalating. We could hardly blame someone for feeling discouraged.

Read More Show Less
This image was taken in 2011 over Jökulsárlón, the largest glacial lake in Iceland. The photographer combined six exposures to capture two green auroral rings and their reflections off the lake. NASA / Stephane Vetter / TWAN / Nuits sacrees

By Dirk Lorenzen

2020 will be the year of Mars. The red planet will approach Earth in early October to within 62 million kilometers. Four space agencies are set to take advantage of this close encounter and send spacecraft to Mars. The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch its ExoMars rover on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome. ExoMars is set to land on the surface, dig into the soil and look for traces of past life. They will be looking for possible living microbes about half a meter below the Martian surface. Above it, harmful cosmic radiation makes life as we know it impossible.

Read More Show Less
Forest landscape restoration in Ethiopia. CIFOR / Mokhamad Edliadi

By Erik Hoffner

Amid a deluge of news during the U.N. Climate Summit last month, one major announcement went largely uncovered, yet is among the most important initiatives aimed at reducing the effects of climate change revealed during the events in New York City.

Read More Show Less
Owengarriff River along the Kerry Way, Ireland at Killarney National Park. David Madison / The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

Ireland will plant 440 million trees by 2040 as part of its efforts to combat the climate crisis, The Irish Times reported Saturday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

People wade through flood waters in a rural neighborhood affected by Cyclone Idai on March 24. Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

In another sign of the climate crisis, a record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather events during the first half of 2019, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less