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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.
A Fraser's dolphin washed up dead in Maui in 2018. Cindy Kern

When a Fraser's dolphin washed up dead in Maui in 2018, researchers did not suspect that this could be the first sign of a deadly outbreak.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An endangered North Atlantic right whale is seen in New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy in Canada. Francois Gohier / VW Pics / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Endangered North Atlantic right whales gave birth in greater numbers this winter compared to the past six years — a promising sign for a species that's been driven to the brink of extinction due to human activity.

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Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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The Peruvian coast guard and special prosecutors prepare to board the Don Santos after observing its illegal fishing activities from Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior. Sea Shepherd

In June, the first missions of a successful joint operation between specialized environmental prosecutors of the government of Peru and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society encountered and apprehended multiple illegal fishing vessels in Peruvian waters.

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A humpback whale breaches at sunset during a whale watching tour off Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. Mark Wong / Getty Images

Every year, humpback whales migrate from polar regions to warmer waters, where they mate, give birth, raise their calves, and amaze whale watchers.

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The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials using live explosives in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021. U.S. Navy / YouTube

By Brett Wilkins

Marine mammal experts this week expressed deep concern over the potentially devastating effects of the U.S. Navy's recent detonation of 40,000 pounds of explosives off the Atlantic coast of Florida on sea life, while progressive observers blasted what they called the government's misplaced spending priorities.

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In a tireless, two-day effort, volunteers in New Zealand joined together to successfully refloat a pod of long-finned pilot whales stranded on the beach.

Read More Show Less
A new study finds that scientists can use fin whale song to help image the ocean floor. JG1153 / Getty Images

A study published in Science on Thursday found that it's possible to use fin whale song for imaging the structure of the Earth's crust beneath the ocean floor.

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Until recently the critically endangered Rice's whale were classified as a subspecies of Bryde's whale. NOAA

Scientists have determined that a critically endangered group of whales in the Gulf of Mexico is actually a new species.

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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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Bowhead whale populations are nearing pre-commercial whaling numbers in U.S. waters. CoreyFord / Getty Images

In good news that has scientists excited, bowhead whale populations are nearing pre-commercial whaling numbers in U.S. waters.

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A beaked whale believed to be a new species. Sea Shepherd / CONANP

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

When a trio of beaked whales surfaced off Mexico's Pacific coast, researchers thought they'd found the elusive Perrin's beaked whale (Mesoplodon perrini), an endangered species that's never been officially sighted alive. But upon closer inspection, the researchers realized they may have stumbled upon something even rarer — a new species of beaked whale altogether.

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The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

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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.
A Fraser's dolphin washed up dead in Maui in 2018. Cindy Kern

When a Fraser's dolphin washed up dead in Maui in 2018, researchers did not suspect that this could be the first sign of a deadly outbreak.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An endangered North Atlantic right whale is seen in New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy in Canada. Francois Gohier / VW Pics / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Endangered North Atlantic right whales gave birth in greater numbers this winter compared to the past six years — a promising sign for a species that's been driven to the brink of extinction due to human activity.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

Read More Show Less
The Peruvian coast guard and special prosecutors prepare to board the Don Santos after observing its illegal fishing activities from Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior. Sea Shepherd

In June, the first missions of a successful joint operation between specialized environmental prosecutors of the government of Peru and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society encountered and apprehended multiple illegal fishing vessels in Peruvian waters.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A humpback whale breaches at sunset during a whale watching tour off Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia. Mark Wong / Getty Images

Every year, humpback whales migrate from polar regions to warmer waters, where they mate, give birth, raise their calves, and amaze whale watchers.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials using live explosives in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021. U.S. Navy / YouTube

By Brett Wilkins

Marine mammal experts this week expressed deep concern over the potentially devastating effects of the U.S. Navy's recent detonation of 40,000 pounds of explosives off the Atlantic coast of Florida on sea life, while progressive observers blasted what they called the government's misplaced spending priorities.

Read More Show Less

In a tireless, two-day effort, volunteers in New Zealand joined together to successfully refloat a pod of long-finned pilot whales stranded on the beach.

Read More Show Less
A new study finds that scientists can use fin whale song to help image the ocean floor. JG1153 / Getty Images

A study published in Science on Thursday found that it's possible to use fin whale song for imaging the structure of the Earth's crust beneath the ocean floor.

Read More Show Less
Trending