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A chimpanzee in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. Ray in Manila / CC BY 2.0

By Ashley Edes

Whether you find it fascinating or disquieting, people recognize the inherent similarities between us and our closest primate relatives, especially the great apes. As a primatologist I regularly field questions ranging from how strong gorillas and chimpanzees are (very) to whether monkeys throw poop (not yet observed in the wild) to how smart they are (let's just say I can't compete with their puzzle-solving abilities).

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Grey reef sharks. Joe Boyd / CC BY-SA 2.0

By David Shiffman

How can we better protect sharks and rays from overfishing?

These related species — which, along with chimaeras, are known collectively as chondrichthyans — include some of the most threatened marine fishes in the world. Sharks and rays face a variety of threats depending on where they live and swim, but the biggest risk comes from overfishing, which takes a noticeable toll on these slow-growing, slow-to-reproduce animals. As a result, nearly 1 in 4 species of chondricthyan fishes is estimated to be, or assessed as, threatened, according to the IUCN Red List.

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A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

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Climate Narrative Project at the Harker School in San Jose, California. Photo by Jeff Biggers

By Tara Lohan

We have a big job ahead of us. The perils of climate change will require that we craft new policies, fund robust scientific research and dramatically rethink most of the infrastructure we rely on — everything from energy to food to transportation. Supporters of a Green New Deal have insisted that we need a World War II-scale mobilization to put the brakes on a fossil-fueled economy. All of this may conjure the work of engineers, urban planners, designers, scientists and policymakers.

But that's not all. We'll also need more storytellers, says Jeff Biggers.

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Low-value plastic piles up in Surabaya, Indonesia. Photo by Stiv Wilson

By Tara Lohan

When you throw things away, do you wonder where "away" is? An upcoming film, to be released this fall by the nonprofit The Story of Stuff Project, traces the journey of our plastic products. It covers not just where our plastic goes but also where it comes from.

It's a lesson we need.

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Produced water from gas drilling in the Marcellus shale. Tara Lohan

By Tara Lohan

We're living beyond our means when it comes to groundwater. That's probably not news to everyone, but new research suggests that, deep underground in a number of key aquifers in some parts of the U.S., we may have much less water than previously thought.

"We found that the average depth of water resources across the country was about half of what people had previously estimated," said Jennifer McIntosh, a distinguished scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona.

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Glen Canyon Dam, Colorado River. Sharon Mollerus, CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In the last few weeks of 2018, the Trump administration set the stage for a big battle over water in the new year. At stake is an important rule that defines which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. The Trump administration seeks to roll back important protections for wetlands and waterways, which are important to drinking water and wildlife.

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Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson swimming in Jamaica's seagrass. Photo by Jeremy McKane

By Tara Lohan

Oceans stretch across 70 percent of our planet, and the vast majority of the world beneath them is unmapped and unexplored. Their depths may still hold many secrets, but we know they face serious risks from overfishing and pollution. The biggest threat of all is climate change, which could affect billions of people in coastal communities, said marine biologist and conservation strategist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.

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Background photo by Sven Lachmann / Pixabay

By John R. Platt

It's election season, and we all need something to read after we're done combing through our midterm voters' guides. Here are our votes for the 16 best environmental books coming out this month, covering everything from wolves to wolverines and climate change to animal rights. Some of these books are intended for professional conservationists, while others may appeal to kids, mystery lovers, history buffs or fans of wildlife. And while many of these books are admittedly dark and depressing, you'll find more than a few solutions in the mix as well. We hope you enjoy them. (Now if we can just get our politicians to read some of these books, too…)

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OSCE Parliamentary Assembly / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Tara Lohan

How little do elected officials care about climate change? Look no further than a recent U.S. Senate hearing about the biggest threats facing the country, where lawmakers asked a single question about global warming during the entire three-hour event.

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Bloede Dam removal in process. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services / YouTube

By Tara Lohan

For much of the 20th century humans got really good at dam building. Dams—embraced for their flood protection, water storage and electricity generation—drove industry, built cities and helped turn deserts into farms. The United States alone has now amassed more than 90,000 dams, half of which are 25 feet tall or greater.

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