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Schooling fairy basslets, Great Barrier Reef. GreensMPs / Flickr

62 Natural Wonders of the World at Risk From Climate Change

By Joe McCarthy

The marshy expanses of the Everglades in Southern Florida contain hundreds of species of animals, including flamingos, alligators and manatees. Clusters of mangroves span its coastline, acting as ecosystem hubs, and if you take a boat through the region, you'll see countless plants that are native to the area.

But the Everglades, which have been around for more than 5,000 years, are collapsing, as saltwater intrudes from rising sea levels, pollution seeps from surrounding industries, invasive species kill off native species, bad water management techniques dry parts of the wetland, and climate change intensifies.

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The effects of post-fire logging after the rim fire, in the Stanislaus National Forest, nearly three years after the logging occurred. Chad Hanson

Congress, Trump Exploit Fire Tragedy to Promote Logging Agenda

By Chad Hanson

In the wake of the October 2017 fires in Northern California, which resulted in the loss of so many lives and homes, people affected by the tragedy are grieving and bewildered. Many people are searching for answers about what caused the fires, and a way forward to prevent similar loss of life and property.

It's frustrating, then, to watch Republican leaders in Congress and the Trump administration politicizing the recent tragedy as they push for a sweeping elimination of environmental laws on our national forests and other federal public lands to increase logging and backcountry fire suppression under the guise of community protection. On Nov. 1, the House voted 232-188 to allow for more "salvage logging" and other forms of tree-cutting on federal properties. According to the Associated Press, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the bill was needed to protect the nation's federal forests "from the kind of devastation that California experienced."

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Climate
Pixabay

With Conservation Burials, Death Gives New Life

By Marlene Cimons

Natural burials—where bodies are buried in the soil to allow for a hasty decomposition—have already caught on. But an Australian scientist has proposed that the concept of "dust-unto-dust" go even further.

He suggests that natural burials become "conservation" burials, that is, that people use the costs of interring bodies to buy, manage and preserve new land for natural burials, turning them into nature preserves or wilderness areas. Such funds could go toward supporting other conservation efforts, as well.

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This "safety net" rendering is the first attempt to show what a 50 percent conservation target could look like by the year 2050. RESOLVE

Conservationists, Computer Scientists to Map a ‘Safety Net’ for Earth

By Mike Gaworecki

A team of biologists and computer scientists plan to map a global "safety net" for planet Earth.

The mapping effort, to be led by Washington, DC-based non-profit research organization RESOLVE together with Globaïa, an NGO based in Quebec, Canada, and Brazil's Universidade Federal de Viçosa, aims to identify the most critical terrestrial regions to protect as we work towards the goal of conserving 50 percent of the world's land area.

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Climate
Amidst a carpet of green lichen, flowers blossom on a fallen tree trunk in the Bialowieza forest. Konrad Skotnicki / Greenpeace

In Photos: The Battle for Poland’s Ancient Bialowieza Forest

By Janice Pereira, Unearthed

Despite repeated warnings from the European Union, the Polish government continues to defy orders to stop logging operations in the ancient Bialowieza forest.

It started more than a year ago as a formal request by the European Commission, asking Poland to stop logging activity that violates the bloc's wildlife protection laws. Now the battle between the European Commission and the Polish government is being fought in the highest court of the European Union.

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Forests cleared for oil palm plantations in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

Better Land Use Can Achieve 30% of Carbon Cuts by 2030

By Tim Radford

Land use is often a forgotten priority, yet those of us who wish to contain global warming and avert catastrophic climate change have a natural ally: the land.

As nations plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, an international team of scientists has calculated just how much the natural and farmed world could contribute to future stability by absorbing ever more carbon dioxide.

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Animals
Paradise Bay, Antarctica. axily / Fotolia.com

Greenpeace Launches Campaign to Create ‘Largest Protected Area on Earth’

Greenpeace has launched a global campaign for an Antarctic sanctuary, covering 1.8 million square kilometers (approximately .7 million square miles) of ocean, to protect whales, penguins and other wildlife.

Following a failure to agree on strong marine protection in the East Antarctic, Greenpeace has called for governments to show "greater vision and ambition" in the coming year and create the largest protected area on Earth: an Antarctic Ocean sanctuary.

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A deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico contains white tube-dwelling sea anemones. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Gulf of Mexico’s Deep-Sea Corals: Ancient Jewels Worth Protecting

By Holly Binns

Some of the deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico started growing when Rome still ruled an empire and Native Americans were constructing civilizations in the vast forests that would—centuries later—become the U.S. Southeast.

For countless generations, these structure-forming animals have thrived in the cold, dark depths, serving as homes to starfish, squat lobsters, crabs, sharks and many species of fish, including grouper and snapper. But modern-day threats loom for these fragile and slow-growing jewels, which may take centuries to recover from damage, if they recover at all. Of primary concern is fishing gear, such as trawls, traps, longlines and anchors, which can break coral. Fortunately, fisheries managers can do something about this.

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Insights
Wikipedia

Oil Spills Pose Dire Threats to Marine Life

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says oil pipelines have no place in BC's Great Bear Rainforest. Opponents of the approved Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to the West Coast and the cancelled Energy East pipeline to the East Coast argue pipelines and tankers don't belong in any coastal areas. Research led by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation confirms the threat to marine mammals in BC waters from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic is considerable.

After examining potential impacts of a 15,000-cubic-meter oil spill in BC waters on 21 marine mammals, researchers concluded most individuals would be at risk and a few local populations wouldn't survive. Baleen whales, for example, are highly susceptible to ingesting oil because they breathe through blowholes, filter and eat food from the ocean surface and rely on invertebrate prey. Oil residue can stick to the baleen, restricting the amount of food they consume.

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