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NASA image shows locations of wildfires in red and plumes of smoke across the Western U.S. NASA

By Jeff Berardelli

This story was originally published on CBS News on September 9, 2020. All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication.

Right on the heels of arguably the West Coast's most intense heat wave in modern history comes the most ferocious flare-up of catastrophic wildfires in recent memory. Meanwhile, just a few hundred miles east, a 60-degree temperature drop over just 18 hours in Wyoming and Colorado was accompanied by an extremely rare late-summer dumping of up to 2 feet of snow.

It's not coincidence, it's climate change.

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The unprecedented and concurrent extreme conditions resemble the chaotic climate future scientists have been warning us about for decades. Master Sgt. Christopher DeWitt / U.S. Air Force / DoD / NASA

By Jeff Berardelli

From the historic heat wave and wildfires in the West, to the massive derecho that tore through the middle of the nation, to the record-breaking pace of this year's hurricane season, the unprecedented and concurrent extreme conditions resemble the chaotic climate future scientists have been warning us about for decades — only it's happening right now.

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Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

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Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity's existence. Craig Barritt / Getty Images for TIME

By Jeff Berardelli

While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world's collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world's been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of "biological annihilation" may soon be "unimaginable."

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Co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice Peggy Shepard attends New Yorkers For Clean Power Campaign Launch at Solar 1 on May 2, 2016 in New York City. Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

In recent weeks, our nation has been forced to come to grips with the variety of ways in which inequality harms minority communities, from the death of George Floyd at the hands of police to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. A recent Harvard study concluded that air pollution — which is typically worse in areas with larger minority populations — is linked to higher coronavirus death rates, along with a slew of other health problems.

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A woman takes a break to look outside while working from home on a laptop computer. Justin Lewis / Getty Images

By Irina Ivanova

The millions of Americans who are skipping their morning commute and working from home because of the coronavirus have drastically reduced smog over America's largest cities and otherwise benefited the environment. Yet the growing ranks of workers now plying their trade online using tools like Zoom and Slack are taking their own toll.

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Doctor wearing highly protective suit while injecting a vaccine into the earth. Hocus-Focus / Getty Images

By Margaret Brennan and Kelsey Micklas

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and since well before the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization has been tracing and analyzing the impact of how climate change is impacting public health.

But as the global community continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, top climate officials say our attention needs to shift to climate-related issues that directly impact our health.

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A reindeer herd congregates in mid-winter in the Norwegian Arctic, January 27th, 2016. Scott Wallace / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Herds of horses, bison and reindeer could play a significant part in saving the world from an acceleration in global heating. That is the conclusion of a recent study showing how grazing herbivores can slow down the pace of thawing permafrost in the Arctic.

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