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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
A mix of public and private forests in Oregon's Coast Range. Beverly Law / CC BY-ND

By Beverly Law and William Moomaw

Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don't require costly and complicated technology.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An aerial view of Amazon rainforest deforestation and farm management for livestock in November 2014. Ricardo Funari / Brazil Photos / LightRocket / Getty Images

The Amazon rainforest likely emits more greenhouse gases than it absorbs, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

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boonchai wedmakawand / Moment / Getty Images

Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.

Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.

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A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

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Fresh cassava at a market in Bangkok, Thailand. Busakorn Pongparnit / Moment / Getty Images

By Sean Fleming

What thrives in poor soil, can tolerate rising temperatures and is brimming with calories?

The cassava – sometimes referred to as "the Rambo root." This plant could potentially help alleviate world hunger, provide economically viable agriculture and even put an end to soil erosion, according to research published in the journal Conservation Science and Practice.

Also known as yuca (but distinct from the ornamental yucca plant) the root of the cassava is a staple of many Caribbean and South American meals – and it will thrive in conditions too difficult for many other plants.

A Gateway Crop

"Evidence suggests (cassava) could potentially revive degraded land and make it productive anew, generating numerous positive socioeconomic and environmental impacts with proper crop management," said Maria Eliza Villarino, the report's lead author and a researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in the science publication, PhysOrg.

An estimated 40% of land in Colombia suffers from degradation, according to the alliance. It, therefore, "serves as a good testing ground for exploring the different possibilities that farming cassava could lead to."

The cassava could become a gateway crop, helping farmers bring once unproductive land back into use. Soil that has been revived could then be used to grow commercial crops like coffee or chocolate, corn or soy.

But Cassava Mustn't Tread the Same Path as Soy

The global market for soy is estimated at around $150 billion, and around 80% of all soy production comes from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Making space for soy farms has resulted in significant deforestation in parts of the Amazon rainforest, with the WWF estimating that "an area roughly the size of California" was lost to deforestation around the world between 2004 and 2017.

"We acknowledge that scaling up production of any commodity risks an increase in deforestation and biodiversity loss, and we need to do more research," Augusto Castro Nunez, a land-use and climate specialist at the alliance, said in the PhysOrg article. "But what we know is that we need something new; what has been done to prevent deforestation is not working, and this is something new."

Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.

A newly discovered species of chameleon is the size of a sunflower seed. Frank Glaw / SNSB / ZSM

Scientists have discovered a new species of tiny chameleon, and it may be the smallest species of reptile on Earth.

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Area bordering Kaxarari Indigenous territory in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, in August, 2020. Christian Braga / Greenpeace
Tropical forests are guardians against runaway climate change, but their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is wearing down. The Amazon, which accounts for more than half of the world's rainforest cover, is on the verge of turning into a carbon source.
Read More Show Less
This picture taken on September 16, 2015 shows 13-year-old Indonesian girl Asnimawati working at a palm oil plantation area in Pelalawan, Riau province in Indonesia's Sumatra island. ADEK BERRY / AFP / Getty Images

Tens of thousands of children in Indonesia and Malaysia work to harvest the palm oil that ends up in several beloved Western snacks, including Girl Scout cookies.

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Trending
Fires, deforestation, logging and mining threaten the integrity of the Amazon rainforest. Ria Sopala / Pixabay

The future of the world's largest rainforest looks bleak. A new report for Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development concluded that the Amazon rainforest will collapse and largely become a dry, shrubby plain by 2064. Development, deforestation and the climate crisis are to blame, study author and University of Florida geologist Robert Toovey Walker found, UPI reported.

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Cloud of Flying-foxes in riparian monsoon forest on escarpment of central range. Broadmere Station, western Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Georgina Kenyon

Earlier this year, the term "bat tornado" started appearing in the Australian and international media. It all started with a BBC report from the town of Ingham in the northeastern state of Queensland, where the population of flying fox bats had apparently "exploded" over the last two years, leaving residents fed up with their noise and smell.

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Earthworms
Gray langur sitting on ancient ruins, Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Nick Brundle Photography / Moment / Getty Images

A lungless worm salamander, an armored slug and a critically endangered monkey were a few of 503 new species identified this year by scientists at London's National History Museum.

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Mongabay's longtime editor and senior correspondent Jeremy Hance published his memoir, Baggage, this year. Jeremy Hance / YouTube

By John C. Cannon

Books have provided a welcome refuge in 2020. The global pandemic has, in many cases, turned even routine travel into a risk not worth taking, and it has left many longing for the day when we will once again set off for a new destination. At the same time, this year has also been a time to reflect on the sense of place and what home means to each of us.

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Morning breaks over Smithfield Market, one of London's busiest Meat suppliers as an Extinction Rebellion environmental activist offshoot Animal Rebellion wake up after a night occupying the space which is usually open from 2 a.m. - 8 a.m. to supply London's wholesale food industries on Oct. 8, 2019 in London. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

"Industrial meat production is not only responsible for precarious working conditions, it also pushes people off their land, leads to deforestation, biodiversity loss and the use of pesticides — and is also one of the main drivers of the climate crisis."

Such were the words of Barbara Unmüssig of green think tank, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, at the Berlin presentation of the so-called "Meat Atlas 2021."

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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
A mix of public and private forests in Oregon's Coast Range. Beverly Law / CC BY-ND

By Beverly Law and William Moomaw

Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don't require costly and complicated technology.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An aerial view of Amazon rainforest deforestation and farm management for livestock in November 2014. Ricardo Funari / Brazil Photos / LightRocket / Getty Images

The Amazon rainforest likely emits more greenhouse gases than it absorbs, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

Read More Show Less
boonchai wedmakawand / Moment / Getty Images

Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.

Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.

Read More Show Less
A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Fresh cassava at a market in Bangkok, Thailand. Busakorn Pongparnit / Moment / Getty Images

By Sean Fleming

What thrives in poor soil, can tolerate rising temperatures and is brimming with calories?

The cassava – sometimes referred to as "the Rambo root." This plant could potentially help alleviate world hunger, provide economically viable agriculture and even put an end to soil erosion, according to research published in the journal Conservation Science and Practice.

Also known as yuca (but distinct from the ornamental yucca plant) the root of the cassava is a staple of many Caribbean and South American meals – and it will thrive in conditions too difficult for many other plants.

A Gateway Crop

"Evidence suggests (cassava) could potentially revive degraded land and make it productive anew, generating numerous positive socioeconomic and environmental impacts with proper crop management," said Maria Eliza Villarino, the report's lead author and a researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in the science publication, PhysOrg.

An estimated 40% of land in Colombia suffers from degradation, according to the alliance. It, therefore, "serves as a good testing ground for exploring the different possibilities that farming cassava could lead to."

The cassava could become a gateway crop, helping farmers bring once unproductive land back into use. Soil that has been revived could then be used to grow commercial crops like coffee or chocolate, corn or soy.

But Cassava Mustn't Tread the Same Path as Soy

The global market for soy is estimated at around $150 billion, and around 80% of all soy production comes from the U.S., Brazil and Argentina. Making space for soy farms has resulted in significant deforestation in parts of the Amazon rainforest, with the WWF estimating that "an area roughly the size of California" was lost to deforestation around the world between 2004 and 2017.

"We acknowledge that scaling up production of any commodity risks an increase in deforestation and biodiversity loss, and we need to do more research," Augusto Castro Nunez, a land-use and climate specialist at the alliance, said in the PhysOrg article. "But what we know is that we need something new; what has been done to prevent deforestation is not working, and this is something new."

Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.

A newly discovered species of chameleon is the size of a sunflower seed. Frank Glaw / SNSB / ZSM

Scientists have discovered a new species of tiny chameleon, and it may be the smallest species of reptile on Earth.

Read More Show Less
Area bordering Kaxarari Indigenous territory in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, in August, 2020. Christian Braga / Greenpeace
Tropical forests are guardians against runaway climate change, but their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is wearing down. The Amazon, which accounts for more than half of the world's rainforest cover, is on the verge of turning into a carbon source.
Read More Show Less
This picture taken on September 16, 2015 shows 13-year-old Indonesian girl Asnimawati working at a palm oil plantation area in Pelalawan, Riau province in Indonesia's Sumatra island. ADEK BERRY / AFP / Getty Images

Tens of thousands of children in Indonesia and Malaysia work to harvest the palm oil that ends up in several beloved Western snacks, including Girl Scout cookies.

Read More Show Less
Trending