A fire broke out in Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral Monday evening. It burned for almost five hours, destroying two-thirds of the roof and causing its spire to collapse.
The church, which has stood in Paris since the 1200s, has come to embody "the permanence of a nation," Henri Astier wrote for BBC News. It was last seriously damaged during the French Revolution and survived both World Wars.
Around 500 firefighters worked to control the blaze. In the end, the church's structure, including its two towers, was "saved and preserved as a whole," Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said. No one was killed, though one firefighter was seriously injured. The fire also had a profound emotional impact on those who watched it burn.
"It is like losing a member of one's own family," 45-year-old marketing director Pierre Guillaume Bonnet told The New York Times. "For me there are so many memories tied up in it."
As expressions of grief and solidarity poured out from around the world, environmental leaders were among those who responded to the tragedy.
Primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall wrote on her website about how much the cathedral had meant to her. She shared an excerpt from her book Reason for Hope in which she described how visiting the church had helped her through a difficult time in her life.
"[T]he experience I had there, when I visited in 1977, marked an epiphany in my thinking about my place on Planet Earth and the meaning of my life," Goodall wrote.
In the excerpt, Goodall describes hearing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor play on the cathedral organ while the Rose window glowed with morning light. She said she could not believe that the moment was the work of chance alone, and so came to believe in God.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters tackling the frightful flames, and all those in France for whom Notre Dame is a integral part of the French nation and especially for all who worship there," Goodall wrote Monday. The fire comes as Catholics celebrate Holy Week, which leads up to Easter next Sunday.
Other activists drew a connection between the loss of Notre Dame and the loss of the natural world due to climate change and other human actions.
"Beauty and meaning can be so vulnerable — not to be taken for granted, ever," he wrote.
This was my first thought today too. It's not at all the same thing — most importantly, it seems like the fire at… https://t.co/uXuyndcBC9— Eric Holthaus (@Eric Holthaus)1555355295.0
Grist writer Eric Holthaus agreed.
"The profound sense of permanent loss is heartbreaking," he tweeted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to see the church rebuilt.
"Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives ... So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together," he said, as The Guardian reported.
French billionaire and Kering CEO and Chairman François-Henri Pinault has promised 100 million euros to the cause.
These Jane Goodall Quotes Will Inspire You to Save the World https://t.co/qSNKD11FqW @JaneGoodallInst @NRDC @SierraClub @CenterForBioDiv— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1492376922.0
Watch as Dr. Jane Goodall shares her hopes and vision for a healthier, greener world.
"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make," is one of EcoWatch's favorite Dr. Jane Goodall quotes. Read more of her incredible quotes here.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
The Explorers Club in New York City was covered with portraits of primates on May 10, in the first art exhibit the club has ever hosted in its 113 years. The show featured artist Robin Huffman who was honored Wednesday evening for her work in environmental conservation.
The exhibit, Witness, displayed the many monkeys and apes that Huffman has cared for during her time at animal sanctuaries around the world. Huffman told EcoWatch that these animals deserve to live freely just like we do and to make that happen, we must be their voice.
Huffman spoke at The Explorer's Club on May 10. Cassie Kelly
"This is the first gallery we've ever done and we've done it in part because her work is downsizing a global issue," said Will Roseman, executive director of The Explorers Club. "Witness is the perfect name for it because it's forcing us to witness what we've done to these beautiful creatures."
Huffman has not always been a painter, in fact, she used to be an interior designer in New York where she lived a lavish life of cocktail parties and schmoozing with corporate executives. But, about 10 years ago, Huffman found her true purpose, which she said was to help primates.
"I went to look at gorillas on a volunteer vacation. I was studying them, and then I fell in love with them," she said. "Suddenly my career of thirty years, with a great income and a condo, just didn't matter."
Huffman ditched her high-rise apartment overlooking the city and headed for Cameroon, where she worked at a sanctuary for several months. "Now, I refer to my life as BP and AP, before primates and after," she explained.
She began collecting the monkey's stories, photographing them and later painting them.
This is Zero Zero, a mustached guenon, who arrived at the sanctuary after being orphaned, sick and injured. After four days of care and attention—he loved mangos and leaves—Zero Zero fell ill and died.
Zero Zero arrived at Ape Action Africa sanctuary in Cameroon with just days left to live. Cassie Kelly
"I was still grieving five years later, thinking about the brief life of that innocent animal," she said. "Then, somebody said 'you should paint his picture, tell his story,' and I did it as a way to get over the sadness and pay tribute."
Since beginning to paint, Huffman has created dozens of portraits. She often works out of friends' homes or anywhere she is welcome.
"I've even painted in the corridor of the storage facility where I hold my work," she said. "I sold my home to be able to budget and afford going to Cameroon and pay to volunteer at the sanctuaries. My ideas of what is important changed a lot. Things that were unimportant felt like unwanted weight."
Huffman alongside her portrait of Kecksie, a vervet monkey. Cassie Kelly
Huffman said her life has a calling now. She wants to educate others about the exotic pet trade, horrendous conditions for animals in captivity, poaching and overall conservation efforts that can give these animals their habitat back.
For example, this is Rocky, she was put on display as a spectacle for 10 years with a chain around her neck, which was attached to a metal cart. She now has poor vision from the harsh sun and is very small for a full grown female chimp due to malnutrition.
Rocky is a chimp, timid and shy, but has a heart of gold. Cassie Kelly
"It's about animal welfare, but also about conservation and preserving a species," she said. "It's about respecting the individual and realizing they have as much of a right to live as we do."
Frida, a patas monkey, was also at the Ape Action center where she gorged herself on scrambled eggs. Cassie Kelly
"It'd be a better world if there didn't have to be sanctuaries, but for now they do have to exist," she concluded.
By Amanda Froelich
Jane Goodall is one of the most iconic conservationists on planet Earth—and for good reason! At age 26, she left England with little more than a notebook, binoculars and a dream to live with wild chimpanzees in Africa.
Due to her efforts, present-day humans have a greater understanding of primate behavior and the need to be compassionate toward all living creatures. Whether she's debating against the inclusion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply or arguing for more ethical practices to be adopted by all, she consistently inspires people to "be the change" they desire to see and stand up for what they believe in. As One Green Planet said, "innumerable actions have been spawned by Goodall's influence."
Because it can be tiresome advocating for clean waterways, an end to animal cruelty, the importance of organic food, reducing pollution and so on so forth, we're sharing six quotes stated by Goodall that are likely to inspire you. In many instances, it only takes one person to start a movement. Take Jane, for instance; her tireless persistence and passion for better understanding primates has changed the world for the better. Don't let anything prevent you from doing the same.
In response to Tuesday's order, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, "Mr. Trump, you cannot run a government by rejecting science. Listen to the scientific community, not the CEOs of the fossil fuel industry."
Sanders—who has one of the strongest records on climate change in the Senate and is one of the new president's harshest critics—also posted a video onto social media calling Trump's "anti-environmental executive orders" a "disaster" and a "threat to the future of this country, and to the future of the world."
Trump's order has rolled back Obama-era regulations such as the Clean Power Plan that limits emissions from power plants. The Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce harmful carbon emissions and particle pollution that would benefit the climate and provide important public health protections at the same time.
Mr. Trump: You are threatening the lives of our children and grandchildren. We will fight you every step of the way. https://t.co/xrSsag1c9K— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1490739721.0
Trump, however, does not seem to care about that. At yesterday's signing ceremony, the president surrounded himself with company executives and coal miners and promised that his sweeping order will create jobs.
"C'mon, fellas. You know what this is? You know what this says?" Trump said. "You're going back to work."
But as Sanders' widely viewed video shows, the president's promise to bring back coal jobs is a "flat out lie." U.S. mining jobs have been on the decline for decades whereas the renewable energy sector can create millions of jobs while protecting the climate at the same time.
Trump to Strike Biggest Blow Against Obama Climate Legacy https://t.co/c0PWjQRFug @wattsupwiththat @wildfiretoday— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1490787308.0
Indeed, a new Sierra Club
analysis of Dept. of Energy 2017 jobs data across the energy sector found that clean energy jobs overwhelm fossil fuels in nearly every state.
"What our job is, is not to expand the use of fossil fuels," Sanders said. "It is to significantly cut back on fossil fuels, move to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like wind, solar and geothermal."
Sanders lamented that the United States is being led by a president who thinks that climate change is a "hoax" created by the Chinese. He believes that Trump's actions threaten "not only this generation" but also "the lives of our kids and our grandchildren," Sanders added. He then vowed to fight the order "every step of the way."
The Whole World Is Watching as Trump Trashes U.S. #Climate Policy https://t.co/VNVc3IMaTF @climatehawk1 @ClimateReality @SierraClub @NRDC— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1490795514.0
The senator is not alone in his disapproval of the Trump administration's anti-environmental polices.
"I find it immensely depressing because many of us—not just my institute—have been working really hard to create the Paris agreement and global effort to cut carbon emissions," Goodall told reporters before a speech at American University in Washington. "Thinking that the USA isn't going to play its part, such a major industrial country, is really very, very sad and it just means we're going to have to work harder."
The famed primatologist and conservationist went on to say that she's seen the effects of our rapidly warming planet firsthand.
"Because I'm traveling all over the world 300 days a year, I have seen the result of climate change and we know, science has shown, that global temperatures are warming and these so-called greenhouse gases are blanketing the globe," she said.
'Human Fingerprint' Found on Extreme Weather Events, via @EcoWatch & @ClimateNexus: https://t.co/BewkGshdar— Michael E. Mann (@Michael E. Mann)1490625785.0
Goodall then rejected the attitudes of many politicians who actively oppose climate change policies by claiming they do not know the science behind it.
"There's no way we can say climate change isn't happening: it's happened," she said. "The argument that people give is, 'Well, we can't prove that human activities are the main cause of this,' and I just heard the other day that one of the president's people [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt] said, 'Well, we don't think carbon monoxide is the main greenhouse gas.'"
Pruitt notoriously said in an interview with CNBC earlier this month that CO2 is not a primary contributor to global warming.
"So being not a scientist in that field, I tend to listen to scientists who do work in that field, like Nicholas Stern, and I would not dream of refuting the science that shows climate change is happening, it's happening everywhere, it's already having devastating effects in many parts of the word and the droughts are getting worse, flooding's getting worse, storms, hurricanes are getting more frequent and more violent. And the main thing is unpredictability: everywhere I go people say well it's not normally like that at this time of year," Goodall said.
Discovery Communications and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced Wednesday a partnership to conserve nearly 1 million acres of critical tiger habitat in India and Bhutan in hopes of doubling the world's population of tigers by 2022.
The big cats are known to have once roamed much of Asia. Poaching and habitat loss slashed the 100,000 tigers that existed just 100 years ago by 96 percent and led to the extinction of four subspecies. As top predators, they are crucial to the ecosystems where they live. The current tiger population is estimated at under 4,000.
"Not on our watch will we let these beautiful animals disappear from the world," David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, said when making the announcement.
The effort, dubbed Project C.A.T. (Conserving Acres for Tigers), will improve security measures for this protected habitat and maintain land corridors for better wildlife movement. To reduce conflict between tigers and people, the project will provide community education and engagement. More camera-trap installations will increase tiger monitoring and assessment.
Just recently, a camera trap in the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan recorded a tiger in a forest where they have not been seen for almost two decades. "Tiger populations are rising for the first time in a century," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. "We need even more of a movement to accomplish these goals."
WWF and Leonardo DiCaprio: Wild Tiger Populations Increase for First Time in 100 Years - EcoWatch https://t.co/Gab2UuIZBR— BigCats.com (@BigCats.com)1460398930.0
Discovery plans to use its worldwide media platforms to reach 3 billion cumulative viewers. The network has put into development a new documentary on tigers from the Academy Award nominated producers of Virunga. The documentary is set to air globally in 2018. Discovery will also produce public service announcements and in-program content tied to Project C.A.T.
In a Facebook Live presentation hosted on Dr. Jane Goodall's Facebook page, John Hoffman, Discovery Channel's EVP of documentaries and specials, said, "In our core, we understand that we are not apart from our fellow species. I think that at the end of the day we as humans will do the right thing."
Discovery and WWF will also provide ways for viewers and those who care about tigers to get involved. Discovery's Saving Species page enables people to show their support for legislation to combat illegal wildlife trafficking, and WWF's Adopt a Tiger program accepts donations in support of the organization's work.
"The global movement to protect tigers just got 1 million acres stronger," said Zaslav.
Tribal leaders from the U.S. and Canada signed a joint treaty today opposing the proposed delisting of Yellowstone grizzly bears by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). More than 50 federally recognized tribes, backed by the 900,000-member Assembly of First Nations, support the treaty.
The USFWS has been working to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the threatened species list under the Endangered Species Act since 2005. Trophy hunters have been waiting for the opportunity to put a grizzly head on their walls ever since.
Grizzly Bears at Risk of Being Hunted for the First Time in Decades https://t.co/1XYPyaYEri @ConservationOrg @environmentca— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1457821513.0
In 2007, the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population was delisted, but a court challenge was upheld and it was returned to the threatened species list in 2009. The bears survived another court challenge when the USFWS appealed the decision to overturn the delisting, but an appellate court ruled in favor of the bears in 2011. Now, the USFWS is back for another try.
Chief Stanley Grier of the Piikani Nation.Native News Online.net
"The grizzly bear has been significant to the Blackfoot people since the time of our Creation," said Chief Stanley Grier of the Piikani Nation, where one of several treaty ceremonies will take place today.
"It is cultural genocide. I wouldn't put it any other way," said Blackfeet councilwoman Cheryl Little Dog. "To delist and allow trophy hunting of the grizzly bear is the government again saying to our people, 'Forget how sacred the grizzly bear is. Forget your sacred ways.'"
Grizzly bears once roamed the American West from California—where it is on the state flag—to the Great Plains and south to Mexico. By 1975, when the grizzly was added to the threatened species list, it was down to just two percent of its traditional range, and just 136 bears were left in the the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—which includes Yellowstone, Grand Teton and John D. Rockefeller national parks, along with national forests, the National Elk Refuge and some state and private lands in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Map of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.National Park Service / Yellowstone Spatial Analysis Center
Today, there are about 150 grizzly bears with home ranges in Yellowstone National Park, and between 674 and 839 in the 34,375-square-mile Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The USFWS contends that this equates to recovery of the bears to a sustainable population. Conservationist Jane Goodall and 57 other scientists and experts disagree.
"These grizzlies are also still isolated. Years of protection and conservation work have created a relatively safe landscape for the bears in this region, but not necessarily beyond it. With dangerous roads and human development criss-crossing a patchwork of habitats, it will be a difficult journey for Yellowstone grizzlies to safely travel to other grizzly bear populations or for bears from other populations to get to the Yellowstone ecosystem – something Yellowstone bears need to help the species remain healthy and resilient to change."
Jane Goodall Among 58 Scientists Urging Government to Halt #Grizzly De-Listing https://t.co/MPT5m6cWVG @NWF @NRDC https://t.co/Gk8UXkkjqf— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1462552204.0
Should the grizzly bear lose its protected states, Montana residents will soon be able to fork over just $150 for a permit to shoot and kill a grizzly during two proposed hunting seasons, in late fall and early spring. Last year, a bear popular with wildlife watchers and photographers who earned the nickname Scarface was shot illegally near Gardiner, Montana, outside the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
In August, the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity and Bozeman resident Clint Nagel filed suit against the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission over adoption of its trophy hunting plan.
"By specifically targeting the biggest and strongest males, trophy hunting reduces the genetic viability of a species and has cascading impacts on the social dynamics of apex predators, including increasing infanticide," wrote The Wildlife News.
Todd Wilkinson, author of Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek, writing for National Geographic, stated, "Grizzlies' rarity has made them valuable assets, economically worth far more alive than as a person's rug or trophy."
Today, there are about 150 grizzly bears with home ranges in Yellowstone National Park, and between 674 and 839 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.National Park Service
But the debates over hunting and the scientific merits of delisting leave out the interests of Native peoples, and as we've learned from Standing Rock, they are not about to give up the fight for their lands and a healthy environment. In the statement March 3, statement from USFWS announcing the proposed delisting, service director Dan Ashe said, "We are look forward to hearing from the public about the proposal and consulting with Native American tribes."
Tribal leaders have denounced the consultation process.
"Our formal request for consultation has been ignored," wrote Hopi Chairman Herman Honanie in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
Native leaders also question USFWS' choice of consultancy Amec Foster Wheeler to conduct the peer review process for the delisting of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears. The company says that it serves "the oil & gas, clean energy, environment & infrastructure and mining markets" and lists projects including oil and gas pipeline development.
In a letter from the Navajo Nation to Secretary Jewell, president Russell Begaye and vice president Jonathan Nez wrote, "It is very troubling to see the influence of corporate energy companies on this delisting decision."
"Tribes have endured two centuries of deception and deceit when dealing with the U.S. government, and this rule that will provide rich wasicu [non-Indians] with the legal authority to trophy hunt our sacred relative, the grizzly bear, is a continuation of that pattern," said Tom Poor Bear, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, earlier this year.
The treaty signed today makes a statement about the core interests of Native American and Native Canadian peoples in the survival of the grizzly bear.
Federal Bill Seeks First Native American Land Grab in 100 Years https://t.co/qvNtJMjxDJ @Frack_Off @FrackAction @VanJones68 @shailenewoodley— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1474392375.0