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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
The Arctic fox's coat changes from the mixed gold and black of summer to a mostly pure white fur in winter. Dennis Fast / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

By Jacob Job

Maybe you've seen a video clip of a fluffy white fox moving carefully through a frozen landscape. Suddenly it leaps into the air and dive-bombs straight down into the snow. If so, you've witnessed the unusual hunting skills of an Arctic fox.

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A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.

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Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

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Infants and young children may experience high phthalate levels because they often put plastic products in their mouths. Image Source / Getty Images

By Stephanie Eick

You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They're in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes.

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A mix of public and private forests in Oregon's Coast Range. Beverly Law / CC BY-ND

By Beverly Law and William Moomaw

Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don't require costly and complicated technology.

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Illustration of Earth's magnetic fields. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Elen11 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Chris Fogwill, Alan Hogg, Chris Turney and Zoë Thomas

The world experienced a few centuries of apocalyptic conditions 42,000 years ago, triggered by a reversal of Earth's magnetic poles combined with changes in the Sun's behavior. That's the key finding of our new multidisciplinary study, published in Science.

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Heavy metals can be found at unsafe levels in commercial baby foods. Jordan Siemens / Stone / Getty Images

By C. Michael White

Heavy metals including lead, arsenic and mercury can be found in commercial baby foods at levels well above what the federal government considers safe for children, a new congressional report warns.

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A homeless camp under a bridge on I-35 in Austin, Texas on Feb. 17, 2021 as millions of Texans were still without water and electric during winter storms. Montinique Monroe / Getty Images

By Theodore J. Kury

Americans often take electricity for granted – until the lights go out. The recent cold wave and storm in Texas have placed considerable focus on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the nonprofit corporation that manages the flow of electricity to more than 26 million Texans. Together, ERCOT and similar organizations manage about 60% of the U.S. power supply.

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A food vendor wears a face mask inside a food truck on December 31, 2020 in New York City. Noam Galai / Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we eat.

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A recent study finds that superyachts emit the most carbon emissions. xefstock / Getty Images

By Richard Wilk and Beatriz Barros

Tesla's Elon Musk and Amazon's Jeff Bezos have been vying for the world's richest person ranking all year after the former's wealth soared a staggering US$160 billion in 2020, putting him briefly in the top spot.

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A frozen Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada is an example of the polar vortex influencing extreme weather. Seyit Aydogan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Zachary Lawrence and Amy Butler

At the start of February 2021, a major snowstorm hit the northeast United States, with some areas receiving well over two feet of snow. Just a few weeks earlier, Spain experienced a historic and deadly snowstorm and dangerously low temperatures. Northern Siberia is no stranger to cold, but in mid-January 2021, some Siberian cities reported temperatures below minus 70 F. Media headlines hint that the polar vortex has arrived, as if it were some sort of ice tornado that wreaks wintry havoc wherever it strikes.

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Close-up of white plastic bag with yellow smiley slowly drifting under surface of water with school of tropical fish. Andrey Nekrasov / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

By Alexandra McInturf and Matthew Savoca

Trillions of barely visible pieces of plastic are floating in the world's oceans, from surface waters to the deep seas. These particles, known as microplastics, typically form when larger plastic objects such as shopping bags and food containers break down.

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