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Illegal deforestation in Pirititi indigenous land, Roraima, Brazil on May 8, 2018. Felipe Werneck / Ibama / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Robert T. Walker

Over the past 25 years that I have been conducting environmental research in the Amazon, I have witnessed the the ongoing destruction of the world's biggest rainforest. Twenty percent of it has been deforested by now—an area larger than Texas.

I therefore grew hopeful when environmental policies began to take effect at the turn of the millennium, and the rate of deforestation dropped from nearly 11,000 square miles per year to less than 2,000 over the decade following 2004.

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will rise in 2019 as natural sinks like forests absorb less of it. A330Pilot / Getty Images

In 2019, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will make one of their highest leaps in the past 62 years of measurement, the UK's Met Office predicted Friday.

This is because the tropical Pacific ocean is expected to be warmer this year, which leads to hotter and drier conditions that make it more difficult for plants to grow and absorb the excess carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels, which is fueling climate change.

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Special address by Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil. World Economic Forum / YouTube

In his first major international speech, Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro told the politicians and business leaders gathered in Davos this week that he's opening up his country and its natural resources to foreign investment, all while—somehow—preserving the nation's environment and biodiversity.

"It is now our mission to make progress in harmonizing environmental preservation and biodiversity on the one hand, with much-needed economic development, while bearing in mind that these are interdependent, inseparable pillars of our society," he said Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

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NASA's ICESCAPE mission investigates the changing conditions in the Arctic. NASA / Kathryn Hansen

Before-and-after photos of your friends have probably taken over your Facebook and Instagram feeds, but environmentalists are using the #10YearChallenge to insert a dose of truth.

Memes of shrinking glaciers, emaciated polar bears and coral bleaching certainly subvert the feel-good viral sensation, but these jarring images really show our planet in a worrying state of flux.

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A man photographing a landscape in Brazil, where environmental journalism is under pressure. Cesar Okada / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Kaamil Ahmed

A pair of "French spies" had infiltrated India by sea to commit a "treasonous conspiracy," an Indian minister claimed in late November. In reality, they were two visiting journalists, and their mission was an investigation into allegations of illegal sand mining in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. They had merely tried and failed to visit the site of a major mining company through legal means.

Their presence set off alarm bells among some connected to the industry, and the fallout has been significant. It's included a police investigation, a politically fueled propaganda campaign and the arrests of two local translators who had been working for them.

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A worker carries a bunch of African oil palm fruit at a plantation in Guatemala. Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg

Palm oil production is exploding in Guatemala and is helping to fuel migration to the U.S. while creating poor labor conditions on the ground, Reuters reports. Palm oil production in Guatemala has exploded nearly sevenfold over the past ten years as subsistence farmers in the forested province of Raxruha are selling their land to palm oil companies—some to help pay for smugglers to help them cross the border into the U.S.

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