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The November 2018 heat wave occurred at the start of the birthing season, leaving hundreds of orphaned flying foxes. David White

By Jason Bittel

Weighing up to two pounds and with wingspans approaching five feet, spectacled flying foxes are among the largest bats in the world. Now imagine what it would be like if 23,000 of them fell out of the trees and onto, say, your car or backyard pool.

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Terry Evans's Ancient Prairies project

By Clara Chaisson

Photographer Terry Evans has been piecing together prairies for more than 40 years.

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Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

"Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it." This is something that everybody has to learn at some point. Lately, the lesson has hit home for a group of American automakers.

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A person walks through a flooded street in the Brickell area of downtown as Hurricane Irma passes through on Sept. 10, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Robynne Boyd

Liberty City, Florida, feels a world apart from the glitzy beaches, posh boutiques and multimillion-dollar residences of Miami Beach, though it's only four miles away as the pelican flies. You may recognize this community from the Oscar-winning film Moonlight. Here, the streets thrum to the beat of Miami bass, the aroma of Haitian griot and banan peze (fried pork and plantains) wafts out from the area's restaurants, and homes are painted in bright hues that speak of their owners' Caribbean roots. According to longtime residents, though, the character of the neighborhood is changing as wealthier Miamians move in.

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The Timber Road II Wind Farm's 52 windmills in Paulding County, Ohio, generate enough electricity to power 29,000 homes. David Grant / Flickr

By Jeff Turrentine

From a political standpoint, defending coal consumption is harder than ever. Coal is far and away the dirtiest fossil fuel there is in terms of carbon emissions and regular old air pollution (and its messy mining practices certainly aren't helping its reputation). And when you factor in health care costs, environmental costs, and costs to local communities in the form of reduced tourism and property values, coal is also a real loser economically speaking—especially in relation to natural gas and renewables like wind and solar.

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An invasive Amynthas worm, also known as a crazy snake worm, Asian jumping worm and Alabama jumper Tom Potterfield / Flickr

By Jason Bittel

My wife and I built a house two years ago on a few acres of woodland outside of Pittsburgh. The backyard is full of maples, poplars, briars and common spicebush. Two-lined salamanders and grumpy-looking crayfish wade among the rocks in the small stream that runs down the edge of the property. Deer, raccoon and opossum tracks appear regularly in the snow and mud. Sometimes, my trail-cam even catches a pair of gray foxes as they slink through the night.

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Bogdan Kurylo / iStock / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

If you think this is going to be yet another column admonishing you for not doing enough to curb the amount of single-use plastic in our waste stream, you can relax. You don't need a lecture at this point.

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A picture taken on Sept. 28, 2017 shows a house destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, in the eastern part of storm-battered Puerto Rico. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

The costliest hurricane season in our nation's history took place two years ago, when 17 named storms—including three that went by the names of Harvey, Irma and Maria—all came ashore within a six-month period, killing more than 3,300 Americans and causing more than $300 billion in damage. So when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced last April that it would be distributing nearly $16 billion in mitigation funding to the areas hit hardest by storm activity since 2015, officials in places like Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands must have breathed a little easier.

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Voice of Nature β01 by Thijs Biersteker–Woven Studio. Thijs Biersteke

By Clara Chaisson

Dutch interactive artist Thijs Biersteker is something like a real-life Lorax—except instead of speaking for the trees, he equips them with the technology to speak for themselves.

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Children are playing in inland refugee camp in the village of Garowe, Somalia Feb. 21, 2017. According to UN figures, more than a million domestic refugees exist in the country at the Horn of Africa. Some 6.2 million people in Somalia are dependent on humanitarian aid as a result of a severe drought. Anna Mayumi Kerber / picture alliance / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

Given the oversize role that migration plays in our current political discourse, you'd think there would be more emphasis on the one factor military and security experts believe will affect future migration patterns more than any other: .

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George the Snail, the last of his species, Achatinella apexfulva, died on Jan. 2. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

By Jason Bittel

On January 2, a snail named George shriveled up and died in his tank at the University of Hawaii. He was 14 years old, which for a land snail is pretty long in the tooth (or in George's case, radula). But in all of his years, George never sired any offspring. There were simply no mating partners to be found. In fact, George was the last known member of his species, Achatinella apexfulva. And the moment he slimed off this mortal coil, 2019 experienced its first documented extinction.

While George's death came as a bit of a surprise (it's tough to tell when a snail is ill), the extinction of his species has been a long time coming.

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