Must Reads

Global

Tree Tally

The Amazon rainforest is thought to harbor a greater diversity of trees than anywhere else on Earth, but the exact number has long been a mystery. In 2013, scientists estimated that the number of species was around 16,000, but no actual count had been done. In a new paper in Scientific Reports, researchers delved into museum collections from around the ... Read More »

Tiny Baubles

Microplastic Mess Threatens World Oceans Scientists from the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have published research in the journal Science of the Total Environment showing levels of microplastics are five times higher in the Antarctic than previous estimates. Co-author Dr. Claire Waluda, a BAS biologist, says, “We have monitored the presence of large plastic items in ... Read More »

Nature Rights

Waterways Granted Personhood This year, the Whanganui River, in New Zealand, became the first in the world to be granted the same legal rights as a person. Equally vital, a court in northern India has given the sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers, as well as several glaciers, the legal status of “living human entities” to help in the preservation and ... Read More »

Stark Mark

Carbon Dioxide Passes Climate-Warming Threshold Record carbon dioxide levels will surpass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million (ppm) this year and will likely never fall below it again in our lifetimes, according to a new study published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings highlight urgent concerns about global efforts to curb climate change as outlined in ... Read More »

Farmers Sue GMO-Maker Over Lost Revenue

Swiss biotech giant Syngenta AG may have destroyed much of the corn export business that U.S. farmers count on. China has rejected huge shipments of U.S.-grown corn, largely because Syngenta released a GMO (genetically modified organism) version before it was approved. Consequently, $1 billion in class action suits are being brought in federal court by farmers in three states. The ... Read More »

Upbeat Forecast for Long-Term Emissions

New data from the U.S. Department of Energy shows that overall domestic energy consumption is slowing and isn’t expected to grow much over the next 25 years, despite a growing economy and population. Usage is forecast to rise 0.3 percent annually between now and 2040, or just half the expected population growth rate, and dramatically less than the 2.4 percent ... Read More »

Secular Socialization

Today’s Young Adults Are the Least Religious Ever Researchers led by San Diego State University Psychology Professor Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., found that millennials are the least religious generation of the last six decades, and possibly in the nation’s history. They analyzed data from 11.2 million respondents from four nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents ages 13 to 18 taken ... Read More »

Crayon Kicks

Not Just for Kids Any More Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Basford, are two of the most popular titles on sale at Amazon.com—and both are coloring books for adults. Featuring detailed black-and-white drawings of the flora and fauna that surround illustrator Basford’s Scottish home, Secret Garden has sold nearly 1.5 million copies. Fans include Hollywood celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel, and when National ... Read More »

Solar Timeshare

Buying Kilowatts from Each Other Yeloha, a new, Boston-based, peer-to-peer solar startup, allows anyone to go solar, even if they live in a rented apartment, have a roof blocked by a shady tree or don’t have the funds to buy panels. Customers can sign up for the service either as a “sun host” or “sun partner”. Potential sun host homeowners ... Read More »

Fracking Halt

Earthquakes Derail Dutch Gas Production   Gas production by fracking in the Loppersum, Netherlands, area of the Groningen natural gas field, Europe’s largest, was suspended by a Dutch court after a home was damaged by earthquakes linked to the operation. Nette Kruzenga, co-founder of Groningen Centraal, one of two groups seeking an immediate halt in Groningen gas production, says, “It ... Read More »