An area of 3.2 million hectares (7.9 million acres) was engulfed by forest fires in remote regions of Russia on Monday. In comparison, the total surface of the nation of Belgium is 3.07 million hectares.
With fires raging for days, immense clouds of smoke reached large population centers, including Russia's third biggest city, Novosibirsk. Authorities declared emergencies in several regions.
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Beverage behemoths Coca-Cola and Pepsico have taken a stand against a trade association that actively works to restrict plastic bag bans. The two soft drink giants have announced that they will leave the Plastics Industry Association as a response to concerns that their membership in the group contradicted their commitment to reducing plastic waste and packaging, as Newsweek reported.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Willie Mackenzie
When it comes to being otherworldly, alien and bizarre, the ocean has plenty to fuel the imagination and make your jaw drop: giant scuttling bugs, jelly-like blobfish, slimy mucus-drenched hagfish, hairy armed lobsters and almost anything else you could imagine.
The spiral tube worm, or Sabella Spallanzanii, lives in membranous tubes, often reinforced by the inclusion of mud particles and has a feathery, filter-feeding crown that can be quickly withdrawn into the tube when danger threatens.
Gavin Newman / Greenpeace
Discovery of Hydrothermal Vents<p>One of the hottest candidates for creating the right conditions are deep sea "<a href="https://www.whoi.edu/know-your-ocean/ocean-topics/seafloor-below/hydrothermal-vents/" target="_blank">hydrothermal</a>" vents, where super-heated water and chemicals meet. These vents exist far below the reach of sunlight, in an area devoid of any oxygen. They're created at the places where giant tectonic plates meet, by the heat from the inner Earth pushing through the crust of the planet.</p><p>Hydrothermal vents were only discovered in 1977 – and astonished scientists with their towering chimneys and bizarre animals discovered around them. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QffkyLYB_PA" target="_blank">Giant tube worms</a>, bacteria-eating crabs and other surreal creatures somehow thriving at great depths, clustered around columns billowing out "<a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/vents.html" target="_blank">smoking</a>" superheated, mineral-rich seawater. </p><p>This discovery challenged what people thought about life on Earth, and even more so when "alkaline" versions were discovered in 2000. <a href="https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/ph-scale-0" target="_blank">Caustic conditions</a>, similar to weak bleach, or bicarbonate of soda, seemed even more unlikely to support life. Yet they did. </p>
The Lost City: The Real Primordial Soup?<p>The Lost City is the best known of these hydrothermal vents — a collection of turrets, towers and chimneys that could be as much as 120,000 years old.</p><p>Research shows that these vents are <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080131151856.htm" target="_blank">creating hydrocarbons</a> — molecules that are essential for all life on Earth. Could it be that churning chemicals and minerals in superheated seawater in places like the Lost City were actually <a href="https://www.chemistryworld.com/features/hydrothermal-vents-and-the-origins-of-life/3007088.article" target="_blank">where life started</a>? Is this the real primordial soup?</p><p>The honest answer is — we still don't know. In the last couple of decades, scientists have struggled to survey and understand the mysteries of the Lost City.</p><p>But as research continues to try and answer these questions, the seabed has attracted attention from industry keen to exploit the minerals and metals down there too.</p>
Hydrothermal vents at Dom João De Castro.
Greenpeace / Gavin Newman
Monster Machines at the Ready<p>We don't know very much about the deep sea, and we know even less about remote, inhospitable deep sea vents. Though they exist in extreme chemical and physical conditions, they seem to be very fragile and precarious.</p><p>Yet even before scientists have started to scratch the surface of understanding these remarkable environments, they are at risk of being damaged or destroyed forever by industries keen to mine minerals from the deep sea. </p><p>Licenses have already been granted to explore for mining the seafloor with monster machines — which risk wrecking these places before they are even understood.</p>
Underwater footage of seamounts in the Azores, Princess Alice Banks.
A Wake-Up Call<p>The rush to exploit the deep ocean, before we even understand it, has to be a wake-up call.</p><p>It's not as if the public is clamoring for the seafloor to be ripped up for us to get a new gadget (especially when companies can't even get their act together to reclaim and recycle the materials we already have!). Not only are we threatening unique marine life, but we might destroy these places forever.</p><p>That's why Greenpeace's Pole to Pole expedition is sailing to the Lost City this summer with the scientist who discovered this wonder of the deep ocean, to learn more about its mysteries and make the case for protection, rather than exploitation.</p><p>Did life on Earth begin in the cauldron of chemical soup around deep sea hydrothermal vents? I don't know. But I do know that we're already harming enough species and habitats, and we have no justifiable reason to trash the fragile deep sea and all the wonderfully weird marine life that makes its home there.</p>
The Esperanza arriving to the Azores for the Lost City Leg of the Pole to Pole Ship Tour.
Barbara Sanchez Palomero / Greenpeace
By Paula Tejón Carbajal
Working in climate and environment, you hear this question a lot. On one hand, environmental groups — including Greenpeace — will tell you that every action you take can make a difference. Every action counts! On the other, editorials and experts will tell you that it doesn't matter what you do in your everyday life, because the problem can't be solved by individual action. They may claim that its a cop out and lets corporations off the hook, because the problem lies with the broken but deeply entrenched system we're caught in. After all, 70 percent of emissions are created by 100 companies, right?
By Eon Higgins
Its official name is the "Akademik Lomonosov," but critics call it a "floating Chernobyl."
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By Jeremiah Lowery
The climate crisis is comprised of many issues, which require many solutions. Now is the time for presidential candidates to discuss all these issues facing U.S. citizens and our international community.
A woman stands at the window of her home looking out at Shell refinery just a couple of yards away, in an area dubbed "Cancer Alley" in Louisiana.
People ride in the back of military trucks as they are evacuated through the flooded streets of Houston after Hurricane Harvey caused record flooding in southeast Texas.
A woman holds a jar of water from her well, which was contaminated after hydraulic fracturing drilling began near her Washington County farm.
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Greenpeace Activists Stop BP Rig Bound for North Sea, Stalling Plan to Drill for 30 Million Barrels of Oil
By Julia Conley
The Washington Post / Contributor / Getty Images
Washington Governor Jay Inslee is at the top of the class, and former Vice President Joe Biden is struggling near the bottom with a D minus. Those are the results of Greenpeace USA's #Climate2020 Scorecard, the latest tool designed to rate the 2020 presidential candidates based on their plans for tackling the climate crisis.
The scorecard, released Thursday, graded the candidates on a 1 to 100 scale based on two main criteria: their support for a Green New Deal and their commitment to ending the use of fossil fuels, NBC News reported.
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The far-right German party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is increasing its climate denying rhetoric as it prepares for the European elections later this month, singling out 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg for particular attack.
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