Poaching and habitat loss have reduced Central African elephant populations by 63% since 2001. These losses not only pose dire consequences for the elephants themselves but also for the forests in which they live.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located nearly 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface and fully funded by the Norwegian government, offers any government access to seeds in case of natural or man-made disaster. It’s more often referred to as the Doomsday Seed Vault. And ironically, it too is threatened by climate change.
A comprehensive study has confirmed what has been widely believed in the scientific community and in popular reports for years: spring is arriving earlier and the further north you go, the more pronounced is the effect.
According to a European food safety watchdog, most applications of neonicotinoids – the world’s most widely used insecticides – represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees. The use of these insecticides has been restricted in Europe since 2014 following earlier risk assessments.
Orangutans are some of the planet’s most intelligent animals. In fact, orangutans and human beings share 97% of their DNA sequence. Orangutans can only be found in the wild in Southeast Asia on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the island of Borneo, which is a landmass shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. And while all orangutans are endangered, the critically-endangered Bornean orangutans are under exceptional duress.
Climate change continues to pose a major threat to polar bear survival. Polar bears, whose native range largely lies within the Arctic Circle, depend on sea ice for nearly all of their life cycle functions. And rising global temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
The Paris Climate Agreement embodies a commitment to hold the increase in the global average temperature to less than 2 Celsius degrees above preindustrial levels. Most strategies to achieve this goal involve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as burning fossil fuels as well as various land use activities. But there are also so-called Natural Climate Solutions, which relate to the storage of carbon and reduction in carbon emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands.
There is much to be said in favor of organic food. The organic produce industry took in $65 billion in 2016 and that farming method is clearly increasingly popular and is here to stay. Nevertheless, there are various misconceptions and inaccuracies related to organic food.
When was the last time you used a squeegee to remove squashed insects from your windshield? It’s been a while, right? It’s not just you. This is known as the windscreen phenomenon. Scientists and some motorists have long suspected that flying insects are in dramatic decline. New research has confirmed these suspicions.
The use of neonicotinoid pesticides or neonics has long been suspected as harmful to bees and a major factor in the widespread decline of honeybee and wild bee populations. A study published in Science last June provided strong evidence that neonics are indeed a real problem for bees.
Microplastics, which are tiny pieces of weathered plastic less than 5 millimeters in diameter, have been accumulating in the oceans for the past 40 years and are now ubiquitous in the marine environment. They are a major threat to many kinds of marine life, including numerous species of birds, turtles, fish, marine mammals and invertebrates who ingest the stuff causing a variety of problems.
The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It lacks almost every resource one associates with large-scale agriculture. Nevertheless, it is the number two exporter of food in the world, second only to the United States, which is almost 300 times bigger. The Dutch lead the world in exporting tomatoes, potatoes and onions and produce many other crops as well.
We have talked about the monarch butterfly on a number of occasions. The population of these iconic orange and black butterflies in North America has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million over the past 20 years. People have undertaken a variety of efforts to try to save the species but now a major project to restore the dwindling habitat of the monarch is underway.
Most gas stations in the U.S. sell a blend of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol. Mandated by legislation, the 14 billion gallons of ethanol consumed annually by American drivers is mostly made from fermented corn. Producing this ethanol requires millions of acres of farmland.
A new study warns that coral reefs are in danger of disappearing forever. According to U.N. research, the world’s coral reefs could die out completely by mid-century unless carbon emissions are reduced enough to slow ocean warming.
We have talked about the problem of food waste before. About 40% of the food produced in the United States goes to waste, which is a truly shameful statistic. According to a Business for Social Responsibility study on the subject, about 44% of the food that goes into landfills comes from homes. About a third comes from the food service industry.
According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or RSPO, almost 12 million tons, or 21% of the global supply of palm oil, is now certified as responsible and sustainable. The massive expansion of palm oil plantations has been one of the primary causes of global deforestation. This has been especially the case in Borneo, where 85% of global palm oil production takes place.
Trees are nature’s way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Growing plants take up CO2 and store it in the form of their roots, stems and leaves. And in fact, a significant factor in the growing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been the extensive deforestation that has gone on over the past couple of centuries.