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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Equinac

Not again! A baby dolphin died last Friday in southern Spain after beachgoers took the mammal out of the water and passed it around for photos, according to media reports.

The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
White-tailed deer flee in a nighttime photograph. George Shiras

By Jason Bittel

It's official: Animals around the world are sick of our sh . . . enanigans.

Read More Show Less
KangeStudio / iStock / Getty Images

Residential solar energy systems provide homeowners with a way to minimize their environmental impact and reduce their dependence on electric utilities. One of the biggest obstacles to going solar is the cost of installation, but thankfully, there are a number of solar financing options that homeowners can choose from.

In this article, we'll break down avenues for solar financing including paying in cash, taking out a loan and solar panel leasing. Read on to learn which option might be the best choice for you.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

Most Common Solar Financing Options to Choose From

When buying solar panels, there are generally three ways for homeowners to pay for their systems: cash, loan or lease. Here's a brief overview of these financing options:

  1. Pay in cash: The simplest way to purchase solar equipment is in cash. This way, you own the system outright and do not have to pay any kind of interest on it.
  2. Solar loan: A solar loan is similar to a home improvement loan — it's money you can borrow to cover the cost of solar panels, then pay back over an extended period of time (usually with interest).
  3. Solar lease: With a solar lease or power purchase agreement, you don't actually own the solar panels on your roof. Instead, you lease them from a solar installer and pay a fixed monthly amount to get electricity that is generated by your home's solar system.

Paying for Solar Panels in Cash

For homeowners who wish to maximize their savings, paying in cash is the optimal way to go. After all, by buying a residential solar system outright, you're essentially paying in advance for 25 to 30 years of electricity to use in your home. This means your energy rates are locked in for decades, and you don't have to worry about inflation or rising utility costs.

The big problem with paying in cash is that the upfront cost of solar equipment tends to be fairly high. Even when you take into account tax incentives and rebates, you're looking at an investment of at least $10,000 to $15,000. This isn't going to be feasible for every homeowner.

Solar Financing Through Loans

Another option is to borrow money from a solar lender, using it to finance your solar installation, then paying it back over time. The most common types of solar loans include unsecured personal loans, home equity loans or lines of credit, and in-house financing through your solar panel installation company.

If you choose a loan as your solar financing route, pay special attention to interest rates and loan terms. How much you pay in interest and your repayment period will often increase the overall cost of your renewable energy system. However, rest assured that homeowners who finance their systems with a loan are still eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit, which may make it a bit easier to pay off that loan.

Some states and local governments have low-interest loan programs for clean energy systems that homeowners can take advantage of. If you're interested in paying for a solar installation via a loan, make sure you research state or municipal programs that are available to you.

Leasing Solar Panels

Homeowners may also choose to either lease their solar panels or participate in a power purchase agreement (PPA), through which you buy the electricity the panels on your roof are producing.

Solar leases and PPAs are pretty similar, but with one significant difference: A solar lease means you're making fixed monthly payments to use solar panels and other solar equipment, whereas a PPA means you're making monthly payments simply for the electricity produced by solar panels. Naturally, the amount of electricity may fluctuate quite a bit from month to month.

Solar leases can seem attractive at first, but for most homeowners, they don't make much financial sense. One reason for this is that homeowners in PPAs or leases are not eligible for the federal solar tax credit. Another thing to note is that solar leases don't enhance your property values, which can be one of the big financial incentives of a residential solar system. Other financing options will allow you to save a lot more money in the long run.

Saving Money on Solar Power

While the initial solar investment can be steep, there are options available to homeowners who wish to save money on their solar installation.

  • Federal solar tax credit: Currently, installing a solar system qualifies you for a tax credit that's worth 26% of the total equipment and installation cost. (This number is set to decline in the coming years, so to take full advantage of it, act soon.)
  • Local utility rebates: Many municipal utility companies offer rebates to homeowners who go solar. Research your local utility providers to learn more.
  • Net metering: Also see if there is a net metering program available in your area. Net metering gives you the opportunity to funnel any surplus energy you generate back into the electrical grid, in exchange for a credit from your utility company.
  • Shopping around: Finally, remember that not all solar installers are created equal. Shop around and compare quotes to ensure you're getting the best value.

To start with a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar company near you, fill out our 30-second form below.

Which Solar Financing Option is Right for You?

Ultimately, the way you choose to pay for your solar panel system will depend on a number of factors, including your expendable income, your credit score and ability to get a good loan rate, and more.

Here's a breakdown of which type of solar panel financing may be right for which homeowners:

Solar Financing Option Who it May Be Right For
Cash payment
  • Homeowners who really want to maximize their savings
  • Homeowners who have enough tax liability to take advantage of the federal credit
  • Homeowners with enough cash liquidity to pay for their solar installation outright
Solar loan
  • Homeowners who don't have the funds to buy a solar system outright, but still want to reduce their electric bills as much as possible
  • Homeowners who want to be eligible for all rebates and tax incentives
Solar lease or PPA
  • Homeowners who don't want to deal with system maintenance
  • Homeowners who are ineligible for tax credits

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Financing

What is the best way to finance solar?

If you have the funds, paying in cash is the most advantageous way to finance solar. For those without the funds, a solar loan is usually the best way to go. For most homeowners, leasing doesn't make as much financial sense.

Is financing available for solar?

Yes, there are plenty of ways to finance solar panels. Banks, credit unions and even some solar installers offer their own lines of credit, specifically to be used for installing solar equipment.

Is it smart to finance solar panels?

For those without the funds to buy solar equipment outright, financing solar panels can be a flexible and affordable way to lower monthly utility bills and reduce environmental impact.

Are solar loans worth it?

Taking out a solar loan delays your break-even point, but it still lets you cut your electric bills and enhance your property value. For many homeowners, solar loans are well worth it.

Can you rent solar panels?

Yes, leasing solar panels is an option. However, for most homeowners, it is not financially prudent to do so.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pledges to terminate plastic spoons at home. @schwarzenegger / Twitter

In one of the coolest social media campaigns since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the United Nations launched a global challenge to #BeatPlasticPollution, the theme of World Environment Day on June 5.

The movement encourages you to give up single-use plastics and replace them with reusable and sustainable alternatives. Participants are asked to announce their commitment on social media and tag their friends to help spread the message within 24 hours.

Read More Show Less
Trending
www.facebook.com

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a selfie video Friday with French president Emmanuel Macron, in what some are reading as Schwarzenegger's latest jab at President Trump on climate change.

Read More Show Less
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Carol M. Highsmith Archive / Library of Congress

By Jillian Mackenzie

If you've visited the wilderness recently, you may have noticed something: people. People with walking sticks, people with selfie sticks, people with more people in tow. Surging numbers of visitors are hiking, camping, and all-around loving the outdoors. A whopping 330,882,751 of them spent 1.44 billion hours in our national parks in 2017—up 19 million hours from 2016. Great news, except that all this wilderness enthusiasm does come with a downside. "We're seeing record numbers of people connecting to nature, and that's a good thing," said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. "But with that comes an increase in the impact to the land."

Read More Show Less
"The Coralarium," Jason deCaires Taylor's latest underwater sculpture, in the Maldives. Jason deCaires Taylor

By Patrick Rogers

Famous for its turquoise waters and spectacularly diverse animal and plant life, the Maldives also bears the unwelcome distinction of being the country most vulnerable to rising sea levels. The island chain in the Indian Ocean is the flattest nation on earth, with most of its land lying less than five feet above average sea level―and large areas in imminent danger of flooding.

Read More Show Less

By Brianna Acuesta

In an incident that's shockingly similar to what happened one year ago in Argentina, beachgoers pulled a stranded baby dolphin from the water to capture photos of him and take selfies. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the baby's death, showing that Argentinians did not learning anything from the last time they pulled a baby dolphin from the ocean.

A video that was released this week shows the baby dolphin surrounded by a crowd of people taking photos and videos. The local newspaper, La Nacion, reported that fellow beachgoers said that people had pulled the dolphin from the shallows of the water.

A witness told C5N News, "They let him die. They could have returned him to the ocean, he was breathing, but everyone started taking photos and touching him, saying he was already dead."

A person's first instincts when seeing an animal in need, especially one so young, should be to help them rather than hurt them. Instead of checking to see if the baby had a chance to live, they immediately yanked him from his home and he died while extremely stressed from the situation.

It's unclear if the baby was sick before humans spotted him, which would explain why he found himself stranded, but what's indisputable is that the humans involved inadvertently participated in his death by not helping him.

Last year, beachgoers pulled two baby dolphins out of the water for selfies, resulting in the death of one and people everywhere were outraged. This outrage, apparently, had little to no effect on the people that repeated this sad act all over again.

Humans have the unique ability to feel empathy, but it is their selfish nature that causes them to often forget to help others. In this situation, the humans did not even think to save the allegedly dying dolphin because they were so absorbed in getting the perfect picture for social media. Meanwhile, dogs around the world have made news for spotting dolphins in need and springing into action to help.

Watch the video below to see the baby dolphin.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Trending
Shutterstock

By Nathan Runkle

Hundreds of leaders from fast-food chains, marketing agencies and poultry production companies recently gathered in North Carolina for the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit to play golf and figure out how to make you eat more animals.

One session focused on marketing chicken to millennials. Richard Kottmeyer, a senior managing partner at Fork to Farm Advisory Services, explained to the crowd that millennials are "lost" and need to be "inspired and coached." His reasoning? Because there are now "58 ways to gender identify on Facebook." Also, because most millennial women take nude selfies, the chicken industry needs to be just as "naked" and transparent.

Read More Show Less
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger teams with current Gov. Jerry Brown on climate change bill.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's anti-climate polices, helped launch a comprehensive online database today to help local and state lawmakers advance environmental legislation.

"I'm pumped to unveil the Environmental Digital Legislative Handbook today, a resource for legislators around the country to find the blueprints on policies for energy efficiency, reducing pollution, recycling—you name it," Schwarzenegger announced on Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Trending
www.elysee.fr

By Andy Rowell

There is a growing feeling within European capitals that a quiet, but deeply positive, revolution is happening under Emmanuel Macron in France.

Macron's opinion poll rating is high, especially boosted in how the young French president has reacted to Donald Trump on the international stage.

Read More Show Less

By Emily J. Gertz

Wild animal selfies drive millions of digital clicks and shares, but these critter photos are not just entertainment for the online masses. They are scientific data collected by camera traps: cameras equipped with a sensor—motion, infrared or light beam—that triggers the shutter when it detects an animal moving by.

These devices let researchers observe wild animals in their natural habitats while largely staying out of their hair, feathers and scales.

In Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, zoologist Roland Kays has collected 613 of the best images from 153 research groups around the world. It's a delightful photo album of wildlife ranging from aardvarks to zebras, with plenty of big cats, bears, primates, elephants and other charismatic critters in between, as well as a comprehensive overview of how camera trap technology is transforming our understanding of their lives.

Camera trapping has been around in some form for more than a century. To create his 1,878 images of a horse in full gallop, photographer Eadweard Muybridge connected strings to the shutters of a dozen cameras, which the horse triggered in sequence by breaking the strings as it ran by. In the late 1880s, Pennsylvania photographer (and one-term Congress member) George Shiras created a camera-and-flash system triggered when a wild animal touched a trip wire. His images won a gold medal at the universal exposition in Paris in 1900.

Fast-forward to 2006, the year photographer George Steinmetz touched off the field's modern era when he created the first digital camera trap while on assignment for National Geographic. In the decade since, cameras have become more durable, memory cards more capacious and batteries more powerful—a trifecta that has ushered in the golden age of the camera trap.

"Modern studies use dozens of camera traps over hundreds of locations to collect many thousands or millions of photographs," Kays wrote. "The camera trap photograph offers a way to measure biodiversity, a testament to life on earth similar to the traditional animal skins and skeletal specimens stored in the collections of our great natural history museums."

Scientists are learning things about even the most avidly observed species from camera trapping, Kays wrote, while generating the perfect means to engage the public on preserving biodiversity, "Data and images are the two most important results of any camera trap study, working together to help in the fight to conserve animals and their habitats.

Sunda Clouded Leopard

Giant Panda

African Forest Elephant

Malayan Tapir

Giant Sable Antelope

Black Cod

Tasmanian Devil

Giant Pangolin

Bornean Orangutan

Western Gorilla


All captions are adapted from Candid Creatures.

This article was reposted with permission from our media associate TakePart.

Naruto, a now-famous monkey known for taking a "selfie" that prompted an unprecedented copyright lawsuit, has another chance at claiming ownership over his image as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The images in question were taken in 2011 by Naruto, a then–6-year-old male, free-living crested macaque in Indonesia. Photographer David J. Slater had left his camera unattended in an Indonesian forest, which allowed Naruto to take several photos of himself. Slater and his company, Wildlife Personalities Ltd., which both claim copyright ownership, published the photos that Naruto indisputably took. PETA sued, claiming that Naruto was the author of the photos and that Slater had infringed on Naruto's copyright.

Disappointingly, in January, a federal judge dismissed the monkey selfie suit, finding that a non-human animal could not own a copyright.

"In every practical (and definitional) sense, he is the 'author' of the works," argued PETA, in the appeal brief. "Had the Monkey Selfies been made by a human using Slater's unattended camera, that human would undisputedly be declared the author and copyright owner of the photographs. Nothing in the Copyright Act limits its application to human authors. … [P]rotection under the Copyright Act does not depend on the humanity of the author, but on the originality of the work itself."

PETA's brief also emphasizes that the Copyright Act should be interpreted broadly and was intended to expand to include new forms of expression unknown at the time that it was enacted.

If this lawsuit succeeds, it will be the first time that a nonhuman animal has been declared the owner of property rather than a piece of property himself or herself. It will also be the first time that a right has been extended to a nonhuman animal beyond just the basic necessities of food, shelter, water and veterinary care. In our view, it is high time.

"The fact that copyright ownership by an animal has not been previously asserted does not mean that such rights cannot be asserted," PETA wrote. "[I]nsofar as the issue of non-human authorship has been considered by this court, it remains an open question. The only requirement articulated by this court so far is that the 'author' be of this world. And Naruto certainly meets that requirement."

PETA is seeking the court's permission to administer and protect Naruto's copyright in the "monkey selfies," without compensation, with all proceeds to be used for the benefit of Naruto and his community.

EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Equinac

Not again! A baby dolphin died last Friday in southern Spain after beachgoers took the mammal out of the water and passed it around for photos, according to media reports.

The incident was detailed in several Facebook posts from Equinac, a Spanish marine wildlife conservation group.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
White-tailed deer flee in a nighttime photograph. George Shiras

By Jason Bittel

It's official: Animals around the world are sick of our sh . . . enanigans.

Read More Show Less
KangeStudio / iStock / Getty Images

Residential solar energy systems provide homeowners with a way to minimize their environmental impact and reduce their dependence on electric utilities. One of the biggest obstacles to going solar is the cost of installation, but thankfully, there are a number of solar financing options that homeowners can choose from.

In this article, we'll break down avenues for solar financing including paying in cash, taking out a loan and solar panel leasing. Read on to learn which option might be the best choice for you.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on for and is not intended to provide accounting, legal or tax advice.

Most Common Solar Financing Options to Choose From

When buying solar panels, there are generally three ways for homeowners to pay for their systems: cash, loan or lease. Here's a brief overview of these financing options:

  1. Pay in cash: The simplest way to purchase solar equipment is in cash. This way, you own the system outright and do not have to pay any kind of interest on it.
  2. Solar loan: A solar loan is similar to a home improvement loan — it's money you can borrow to cover the cost of solar panels, then pay back over an extended period of time (usually with interest).
  3. Solar lease: With a solar lease or power purchase agreement, you don't actually own the solar panels on your roof. Instead, you lease them from a solar installer and pay a fixed monthly amount to get electricity that is generated by your home's solar system.

Paying for Solar Panels in Cash

For homeowners who wish to maximize their savings, paying in cash is the optimal way to go. After all, by buying a residential solar system outright, you're essentially paying in advance for 25 to 30 years of electricity to use in your home. This means your energy rates are locked in for decades, and you don't have to worry about inflation or rising utility costs.

The big problem with paying in cash is that the upfront cost of solar equipment tends to be fairly high. Even when you take into account tax incentives and rebates, you're looking at an investment of at least $10,000 to $15,000. This isn't going to be feasible for every homeowner.

Solar Financing Through Loans

Another option is to borrow money from a solar lender, using it to finance your solar installation, then paying it back over time. The most common types of solar loans include unsecured personal loans, home equity loans or lines of credit, and in-house financing through your solar panel installation company.

If you choose a loan as your solar financing route, pay special attention to interest rates and loan terms. How much you pay in interest and your repayment period will often increase the overall cost of your renewable energy system. However, rest assured that homeowners who finance their systems with a loan are still eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit, which may make it a bit easier to pay off that loan.

Some states and local governments have low-interest loan programs for clean energy systems that homeowners can take advantage of. If you're interested in paying for a solar installation via a loan, make sure you research state or municipal programs that are available to you.

Leasing Solar Panels

Homeowners may also choose to either lease their solar panels or participate in a power purchase agreement (PPA), through which you buy the electricity the panels on your roof are producing.

Solar leases and PPAs are pretty similar, but with one significant difference: A solar lease means you're making fixed monthly payments to use solar panels and other solar equipment, whereas a PPA means you're making monthly payments simply for the electricity produced by solar panels. Naturally, the amount of electricity may fluctuate quite a bit from month to month.

Solar leases can seem attractive at first, but for most homeowners, they don't make much financial sense. One reason for this is that homeowners in PPAs or leases are not eligible for the federal solar tax credit. Another thing to note is that solar leases don't enhance your property values, which can be one of the big financial incentives of a residential solar system. Other financing options will allow you to save a lot more money in the long run.

Saving Money on Solar Power

While the initial solar investment can be steep, there are options available to homeowners who wish to save money on their solar installation.

  • Federal solar tax credit: Currently, installing a solar system qualifies you for a tax credit that's worth 26% of the total equipment and installation cost. (This number is set to decline in the coming years, so to take full advantage of it, act soon.)
  • Local utility rebates: Many municipal utility companies offer rebates to homeowners who go solar. Research your local utility providers to learn more.
  • Net metering: Also see if there is a net metering program available in your area. Net metering gives you the opportunity to funnel any surplus energy you generate back into the electrical grid, in exchange for a credit from your utility company.
  • Shopping around: Finally, remember that not all solar installers are created equal. Shop around and compare quotes to ensure you're getting the best value.

To start with a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar company near you, fill out our 30-second form below.

Which Solar Financing Option is Right for You?

Ultimately, the way you choose to pay for your solar panel system will depend on a number of factors, including your expendable income, your credit score and ability to get a good loan rate, and more.

Here's a breakdown of which type of solar panel financing may be right for which homeowners:

Solar Financing Option Who it May Be Right For
Cash payment
  • Homeowners who really want to maximize their savings
  • Homeowners who have enough tax liability to take advantage of the federal credit
  • Homeowners with enough cash liquidity to pay for their solar installation outright
Solar loan
  • Homeowners who don't have the funds to buy a solar system outright, but still want to reduce their electric bills as much as possible
  • Homeowners who want to be eligible for all rebates and tax incentives
Solar lease or PPA
  • Homeowners who don't want to deal with system maintenance
  • Homeowners who are ineligible for tax credits

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Financing

What is the best way to finance solar?

If you have the funds, paying in cash is the most advantageous way to finance solar. For those without the funds, a solar loan is usually the best way to go. For most homeowners, leasing doesn't make as much financial sense.

Is financing available for solar?

Yes, there are plenty of ways to finance solar panels. Banks, credit unions and even some solar installers offer their own lines of credit, specifically to be used for installing solar equipment.

Is it smart to finance solar panels?

For those without the funds to buy solar equipment outright, financing solar panels can be a flexible and affordable way to lower monthly utility bills and reduce environmental impact.

Are solar loans worth it?

Taking out a solar loan delays your break-even point, but it still lets you cut your electric bills and enhance your property value. For many homeowners, solar loans are well worth it.

Can you rent solar panels?

Yes, leasing solar panels is an option. However, for most homeowners, it is not financially prudent to do so.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pledges to terminate plastic spoons at home. @schwarzenegger / Twitter

In one of the coolest social media campaigns since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the United Nations launched a global challenge to #BeatPlasticPollution, the theme of World Environment Day on June 5.

The movement encourages you to give up single-use plastics and replace them with reusable and sustainable alternatives. Participants are asked to announce their commitment on social media and tag their friends to help spread the message within 24 hours.

Read More Show Less
Trending
www.facebook.com

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a selfie video Friday with French president Emmanuel Macron, in what some are reading as Schwarzenegger's latest jab at President Trump on climate change.

Read More Show Less
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Carol M. Highsmith Archive / Library of Congress

By Jillian Mackenzie

If you've visited the wilderness recently, you may have noticed something: people. People with walking sticks, people with selfie sticks, people with more people in tow. Surging numbers of visitors are hiking, camping, and all-around loving the outdoors. A whopping 330,882,751 of them spent 1.44 billion hours in our national parks in 2017—up 19 million hours from 2016. Great news, except that all this wilderness enthusiasm does come with a downside. "We're seeing record numbers of people connecting to nature, and that's a good thing," said Dana Watts, executive director of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. "But with that comes an increase in the impact to the land."

Read More Show Less
"The Coralarium," Jason deCaires Taylor's latest underwater sculpture, in the Maldives. Jason deCaires Taylor

By Patrick Rogers

Famous for its turquoise waters and spectacularly diverse animal and plant life, the Maldives also bears the unwelcome distinction of being the country most vulnerable to rising sea levels. The island chain in the Indian Ocean is the flattest nation on earth, with most of its land lying less than five feet above average sea level―and large areas in imminent danger of flooding.

Read More Show Less

By Brianna Acuesta

In an incident that's shockingly similar to what happened one year ago in Argentina, beachgoers pulled a stranded baby dolphin from the water to capture photos of him and take selfies. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the baby's death, showing that Argentinians did not learning anything from the last time they pulled a baby dolphin from the ocean.

A video that was released this week shows the baby dolphin surrounded by a crowd of people taking photos and videos. The local newspaper, La Nacion, reported that fellow beachgoers said that people had pulled the dolphin from the shallows of the water.

A witness told C5N News, "They let him die. They could have returned him to the ocean, he was breathing, but everyone started taking photos and touching him, saying he was already dead."

A person's first instincts when seeing an animal in need, especially one so young, should be to help them rather than hurt them. Instead of checking to see if the baby had a chance to live, they immediately yanked him from his home and he died while extremely stressed from the situation.

It's unclear if the baby was sick before humans spotted him, which would explain why he found himself stranded, but what's indisputable is that the humans involved inadvertently participated in his death by not helping him.

Last year, beachgoers pulled two baby dolphins out of the water for selfies, resulting in the death of one and people everywhere were outraged. This outrage, apparently, had little to no effect on the people that repeated this sad act all over again.

Humans have the unique ability to feel empathy, but it is their selfish nature that causes them to often forget to help others. In this situation, the humans did not even think to save the allegedly dying dolphin because they were so absorbed in getting the perfect picture for social media. Meanwhile, dogs around the world have made news for spotting dolphins in need and springing into action to help.

Watch the video below to see the baby dolphin.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

Trending
Shutterstock

By Nathan Runkle

Hundreds of leaders from fast-food chains, marketing agencies and poultry production companies recently gathered in North Carolina for the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit to play golf and figure out how to make you eat more animals.

One session focused on marketing chicken to millennials. Richard Kottmeyer, a senior managing partner at Fork to Farm Advisory Services, explained to the crowd that millennials are "lost" and need to be "inspired and coached." His reasoning? Because there are now "58 ways to gender identify on Facebook." Also, because most millennial women take nude selfies, the chicken industry needs to be just as "naked" and transparent.

Read More Show Less
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger teams with current Gov. Jerry Brown on climate change bill.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's anti-climate polices, helped launch a comprehensive online database today to help local and state lawmakers advance environmental legislation.

"I'm pumped to unveil the Environmental Digital Legislative Handbook today, a resource for legislators around the country to find the blueprints on policies for energy efficiency, reducing pollution, recycling—you name it," Schwarzenegger announced on Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Trending
www.elysee.fr

By Andy Rowell

There is a growing feeling within European capitals that a quiet, but deeply positive, revolution is happening under Emmanuel Macron in France.

Macron's opinion poll rating is high, especially boosted in how the young French president has reacted to Donald Trump on the international stage.

Read More Show Less

By Emily J. Gertz

Wild animal selfies drive millions of digital clicks and shares, but these critter photos are not just entertainment for the online masses. They are scientific data collected by camera traps: cameras equipped with a sensor—motion, infrared or light beam—that triggers the shutter when it detects an animal moving by.

These devices let researchers observe wild animals in their natural habitats while largely staying out of their hair, feathers and scales.

In Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, zoologist Roland Kays has collected 613 of the best images from 153 research groups around the world. It's a delightful photo album of wildlife ranging from aardvarks to zebras, with plenty of big cats, bears, primates, elephants and other charismatic critters in between, as well as a comprehensive overview of how camera trap technology is transforming our understanding of their lives.

Camera trapping has been around in some form for more than a century. To create his 1,878 images of a horse in full gallop, photographer Eadweard Muybridge connected strings to the shutters of a dozen cameras, which the horse triggered in sequence by breaking the strings as it ran by. In the late 1880s, Pennsylvania photographer (and one-term Congress member) George Shiras created a camera-and-flash system triggered when a wild animal touched a trip wire. His images won a gold medal at the universal exposition in Paris in 1900.

Fast-forward to 2006, the year photographer George Steinmetz touched off the field's modern era when he created the first digital camera trap while on assignment for National Geographic. In the decade since, cameras have become more durable, memory cards more capacious and batteries more powerful—a trifecta that has ushered in the golden age of the camera trap.

"Modern studies use dozens of camera traps over hundreds of locations to collect many thousands or millions of photographs," Kays wrote. "The camera trap photograph offers a way to measure biodiversity, a testament to life on earth similar to the traditional animal skins and skeletal specimens stored in the collections of our great natural history museums."

Scientists are learning things about even the most avidly observed species from camera trapping, Kays wrote, while generating the perfect means to engage the public on preserving biodiversity, "Data and images are the two most important results of any camera trap study, working together to help in the fight to conserve animals and their habitats.

Sunda Clouded Leopard

Giant Panda

African Forest Elephant

Malayan Tapir

Giant Sable Antelope

Black Cod