Quantcast
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.

By John R. Platt

The collective unconscious is telling us something…

These days more and more artists are turning their feelings about climate change, environmental justice and the extinction crisis into powerful creative works. It's easy to see why. These issues affect just about everybody — a new recent study found that about 85% of people on the planet already live with the effects of global warming — and that leaves us all with a lot of fear and grief.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Kākāpō, one of this month's species with good news. Kimberley Collins /CC BY 2.0

By John R. Platt

We've had a particularly brutal summer — not to mention spring and winter — so now that autumn has arrived, let's take a break from all the awful environmental news to focus on a few good-news items you may have missed. These aren't necessarily resounding successes — we still have a long way to go on all fronts — but they illustrate that hard work and persistence can pull us back from the brink just as greed and indifference can push us toward it.

Read More Show Less
Solar Paint: Is It Possible?

Could solar paint overtake solar panels?

Reviews
Anna Efetova / Getty Images

The solar boom has funneled billions of dollars into the solar energy sector, and top companies across the world are investing in what is now the cheapest source of energy in the world: solar panels. Though we're huge fans of solar power here at EcoWatch, we won't deny that even current carbon-neutral solar technology has room for improvement. Commercial solar installations can take up large plots of land, and though solar panels have a very long lifetime, they eventually need to be disposed of.

Solar panels and solar roof shingles have been a huge step forward in the fight against reducing fossil fuel emissions, but some challenges still remain. What if we run low on non-renewable resources like silicon and copper that are so important to photovoltaic cells? What about all of the homes with roofs that aren't fit for solar panels? Or all of the other surfaces exposed to sunlight that are unfit for solar panels?

Scientists seeking to answer these questions have been developing ideas to further reduce the expense, size and impact of solar panels. One idea with particular promise and intrigue is solar paint.

Read More Show Less
A monarch butterfly on a thistle. The current version of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act in Congress contains funding for pollinator-friendly roadsides. Louise Heusinkveld / Photodisc / Getty Images

By Malia Libby

The insect world's version of the ultramarathon is now taking place across the United States.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Move or Change: How Plants and Animals Are Trying to Survive a Warming World

Thor Hanson's new book explains the biology behind climate change and why some species may be better able to survive a quickly changing planet.

Climate
Researchers have observed Kodiak bears changing their diet in response to climate change. Caroline Cheung / USFWS / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

When it comes to climate change, nature hasn't had the luxury of waiting for foot-dragging politicians or stonewalling corporations or science deniers. Countless species are already on the move.

"Just as the planet is changing faster than anyone expected, so too are the plants and animals that call it home," writes biologist Thor Hanson in a new book that explores the field of climate change biology.

Read More Show Less
A restored wetland on a farm in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Chesapeake Bay Program, CC BY-NC 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Summer in the Gulf of Mexico is a time to celebrate the region's bounty, including its prized shrimp, which are the star of local festivals. But shrimpers this summer found themselves contending with another, competing event — the annual measuring of the Gulf's "dead zone."

Read More Show Less
Climate change will present a barrage of challenges no matter where you live. C.J. Burton / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

Talent. King Mountain. Hugo. The town names — each the site of new wildfire ignitions following a lightning storm the day before — are all new to me. After I read each incident report, I head to Google maps to ask the same question that's been on my mind for weeks: How close?

Read More Show Less
The Revelator

By John R. Platt

It's a dirty world out there — but it doesn't have to be.

That message rings out from a slate of important new books covering the fight against various pollutants around the world. They examine everything from pesticides to air pollution and from mining waste to the trash that accumulates all around us. Along the way these books shine a light on some bigger stories — like our food system and human effects on complex ecosystems. They also dive deep into the racism, indifference, greed and ignorance that allow these toxic compounds to flourish in our world and in our bodies.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A water treatment plant outfall. MN Pollution Control Agency / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Fish hooked on meth? It's a catchy headline that made the rounds a few weeks ago, but it represents a serious and growing problem. Our rivers and streams have become a soup of hundreds of drugs — mostly pharmaceuticals — that come from the treated water released from wastewater facilities.

Read More Show Less
Here’s What Climate Change Will Mean for Bats

A new study identifies threats facing dozens of bat species in areas of the world that are predicted to get hotter and drier.

Animals
Mexican free-tailed bats. USFWS / Ann Froschauer

By Tara Lohan

The Isabelline Serotine bat (Eptesicus isabellinus) ranges across areas north of the Sahara and into the southern portion of the Iberian Peninsula. But it may be time for the species to start packing its bags.

A new study in Global Ecology and Conservation found that dozens of bat species living in parts of the world predicted to get hotter and drier with climate change will need to shift their ranges to find suitable habitat. For Isabelline Serotine bats that could mean a big move — more than 1,000 miles, the researchers determined.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Vanishing: Song for the Bobolink

In the diminishing refrains of a bird's call, signs of our world disappearing around us.

Insights + Opinion
A bobolink in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA. Jason Crotty / CC BY 2.0

What happens to us as the wild world unravels? Vanishing, an occasional essay series, explores some of the human stakes of the wildlife extinction crisis.

Our small family knew bobolinks from a bird refuge four hours away. Each spring my partner and I made the trip to Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge with our daughter in hopes of seeing the 90-plus species of migratory birds we typically spotted over the course of a binoculared weekend. As we headed West we anticipated the winnowing, sky-dance displays of Wilson's snipe, the oranges of Bullock's oriole flashing high in the cottonwoods, and the bright spots of sunshine that dart through riparian thickets — the yellow warbler.

Read More Show Less
Brian Gratwicke / CC BY 2.0

The charismatic animals could serve as flagship species for ocean conservation, according to researchers, but only if we understand their extinction risks.

By John R. Platt

Last month conservationists working with SeaLife Aquarium in Australia dropped 18 biodegradable "hotels" into Sydney Harbor and Port Stephens to help one of the region's most endangered species: tiny White's seahorses (Hippocampus whitei).

Read More Show Less
A sign at Hoover Dam warns of "very dangerous levels" of heat in the forecast at Lake Mead near Boulder City, Nevada on July 1, 2021. David McNew / Getty Images

By Tara Lohan

It's hard not to think about how hot it's been — even if you live somewhere that has escaped the heat in the past few weeks. When British Columbia clocks temperatures of 121° F, it gets the world's attention. As it should.

Here are six reasons why we need to be paying more attention to heat waves.

Read More Show Less