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Category archives for Science

Plastic: The big breakup

Co-authored by Erica Cirino My dog Foosa and I step onto the beach, and in the first few steps I find—as usual—something made of plastic. This beach is strewn with everything from fiberglass buoys to crumbling Styrofoam cups to poorly disposed “disposable” lighters to plastic bags (use once, throw away, except that “away” is here).…

Challenging conventional wisdom in social innovation

There are no shortage of books on social entrepreneurship and innovation, but are they the books young people need? Do we have the right balance between theory and practice, or mechanics and motivation? Whose voice is dominant? What’s wrong with many of the current books on offer that drove me to publish two of my own? Well,…

Tracking Tigers Is Just As Dangerous As It Sounds

Matthew Luskin is a conservation biologist, wildlife ecologist, and National Geographic grantee. He spent a year in the rain forest of Indonesia tracking tigers through the remaining three largest national parks—and it was seriously dangerous. “When there’s a tiger around you can’t sleep. You can barely eat. You can’t do anything because all you are…

Lake Suwa’s Shinto Legend and the Oldest Lake Ice Record on Earth: What It Tells Us About Climate Change and Variability

By Lisa Borre Shinto priests observing an ancient legend recorded ice freeze dates on Lake Suwa in Japan starting in the 15th Century. On the other side of the world, a local merchant began a tradition of recording ice thaw events on the Torne River in Finland in the 17th century. Both traditions continue to…

Celebrate DNA Day with Genographic! Join, Search and Learn

Join us at National Geographic in wishing every past, current, and future Genographic Project participant a Happy DNA Day! Sixty-three years ago today a ground-breaking paper was published that introduced us to the double helix and revealed the structure of DNA, catapulting forward the field of genetics. The scientific world never looked back. Eleven years…

Wetland Revival: Using impact investment to restore nature

 Conservation interests and agencies gathered along the Murray River in Australia earlier this month to witness the return of water to a wetland system that now rarely receives floodwater from the river, due to construction of large water-storage reservoirs built upstream that capture the river’s flow and sends it to irrigated farms.   With the twist…

Creating an Artificial Ice Storm

Dr. Lindsey Rustad and her colleagues stood in the middle of a New Hampshire forest rimmed by the White Mountains. The sun had set hours ago, and they were staring up toward the sky, where ice-laden tree limbs creaked in the breeze. The weight of the ice bent the branches, and smaller trees completely hunched…

Wolf – Caribou Detente? Clues Hidden on Lake Superior Islands

Qalipu, it’s called by Canada’s Mi’kmaq people. To others, it’s the elusive gray ghost of the far northern forest. Most know it simply as caribou. Woodland caribou are medium-sized members of the deer family. In Canadian provinces such as Ontario, these shadows in the forest are listed as threatened – quickly vanishing. Non-migratory woodland caribou…

A New Milestone for the Urban Caracal Project

Post by Max Allen – University of Wisconsin, Madison The Urban Caracal Project on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa recently captured and GPS-collared its 25th caracal in its quest to understand how these mid-sized African carnivores make their living in urban environments. The newest caracal was a male nicknamed “Titan” for his impressive size.…

Green Warriors Honored for Fighting Bad Tourism

Good tourism should help protect a place, not destroy it. This week two men in two countries won the same international conservation award for successfully combating two types of flawed tourism.
This post, part 1 of 2, reports on how Luis Jorge Rivera Herrera led the charge to save one of Puerto Rico’s last bits of pristine, ecologically valuable coastline from resort development. Next post: Tanzania.

William Gray, 86, Pioneer Of Hurricane Meteorology

Pioneering meteorologist William Gray, who devised seasonal forecasting for hurricane activity, died earlier today surrounded by his family in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 86. His death was announced by the Colorado State University News Service, but word of his passing was posted on Facebook before the university’s official announcement. Gray joined the CSU faculty…

Weaving Science With Storytelling on the American Prairie Reserve

Standing in the lee of some hills as other more industrious crew members retrieve data from a wildlife trapping camera, I wonder if the coyotes are howling today for the pronghorn that ducked under the fence not a few miles back. This hole in my knowledge—why do coyotes howl and for whom?—tugs a little at my anxious heart.

The Recovery of Tromelin Island

Islands can have strange histories but few are more obscure than that of Tromelin Island of the Îles Éparses in the Western Indian Ocean.

Living on a Tropical Island—and an Asbestos Wasteland

BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. It’s in the field where people plant cassava. Broken pieces of asbestos sheeting litter the ground, and children use them to make toys and skateboards. All of this in an environment already littered with scrap metal, industrial waste, and oil…

Mayors, city networks and urban stakeholders worldwide call for an IPCC Special Report on Cities and Climate Change

Over 25 organisations have now joined forces to show their support for the Special Report proposal, to be decided during the IPCC 43rd Session in Nairobi on April 11-13  Cities are already facing the impacts of climate change and are highly vulnerable to a range of climate hazards, including sea level rise, street flooding, landslides, droughts, epidemics and…