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What the River Knows: Kamo River, Japan

In Japanese I am called Kamo-gawa, (kanji compound 鴨川).

Translated from the kanji my name means “wild duck,” and “gawa” is river. Not only ducks, but also a large variety of birds wade in my shallow waters in search of their next meal. Herons and egrets wait patiently as they stalk their food.

Peace Boat passengers consider the cost of shark fin soup

With his orange life vest tightly fastened and carrying a plastic water gun, 6-year-old Murakami Yoshinao climbed down the motorboat’s fibreglass steps and plopped into the sea below. The water sloshed around Yoshinao’s shoulders and shadows moved across the bone coloured sand near his feet. Then the blacktip sharks came closer – one glided right…

Satsuma Fields: Encounters with the diaspora provoke reflections on what it means to be Japanese

When the Sakura Maru departed from Yokohama in February 1899 bound for the Peruvian port city of Callao, its 790 passengers must have had high hopes. The Meiji Government had been run campaigns advertising a better quality of life overseas, and the Morioka Emigration Company and other agents promised solid pay for four-year contracts on…

Listening to the volcano: Nasa communities blend ancestral knowledge with contemporary seismology in Colombia

On Ricardo Mena’s first humanitarian mission with the United Nations in April 1994, the only way to fly over southwestern Colombia’s Valle del Cauca was by police helicopter. Mena had been assigned to track indigenous Nasa displaced by the Páez River earthquake, but an eager police officer kept leaning over to photograph the poppy fields…

Reflecting on the voyage: across the Indian Ocean

After three weeks at sea with Peace Boat, charting a westerly course around the world, time has become a slippery concept. Every few days we hit a new longitude and gain an hour – an anomaly I’m told will be resolved somewhere beyond Easter Island, when we shoot through 24 of them in sixty minutes.…

Zookeeper Bando Gen on the shifting relationship between humans and animals

When a shortage of work in the agricultural sector prompted newly qualified veterinarian Bando Gen to accept a job offer at Hokkaido’s Asahiyama Zoo the situation did not look promising. Zoos in Ueno and Yokohama had bought in exotic animals such as sea otters and koalas but Japan’s northernmost zoo, with its dilapidated enclosures and mainly domestic…

Sarufutsu River “Jumping” with Itou Salmon, Researchers Report

In the field of conservation, we are often faced with the question “Is a certain species or population secure?”  As I mentioned in my earlier blog this year, it is not an easy question to answer, particularly for river fishes that are elusive by nature.  However, I am happy to report we are making substantial…

Icelanders Grieve for the Peculiar Lake Balls

  Dr. Isamu Wakana prepares for a dive in Lake Mývatn in Iceland. Isamu is an expert on algae and has come a long way from Japan on his search for an extremely rare plant. As he descends to the bottom he is met by brown silt in every direction. This area was once covered by…

Senate Clears Way for Keystone XL Pipeline

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 12 to 10 on a bill Wednesday approving the long-debated Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, requires presidential approval as it crosses international boundaries. Without a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring it to a vote…

April 27, 2014: Tragedy on Everest, Rowing Across the Pacific, Wrestling Mongolians and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week his guests reflect on the dangers of climbing Mount Everest after the recent tragedy, row a boat across the oceans and bike across continents to circumnavigate the globe, discover what it is like to be a kid in Mongolia, learn what happened This Weekend In History, detect land mines in Cambodia, travel in style with your dog companion, discover new ways which drug trafficking is cutting down the rainforest, gave through space and time with the world’s most powerful satellite array, and understand why Sherpas climb deadly peaks on Wild Chronicles.

January 19, 2014: Waging War Against Whalers, Paragliding Above Pakistan and More

Join host Boyd Matson as he and his guests sleep high on sheer mountain cliffs, wage war against whalers, consume bacteria in pursuit of better health, crash during paragliding takeoff in Pakistan, eat invasive species, and photograph 30 years of warfare in Afghanistan.

EPA Proposes Lower Biofuel Mandate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced cuts to a federal mandate dictating how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline. The mandate—under the Renewable Fuel Standard—would have been scheduled to reach 18.15 billion gallons in 2014, up from 16.55 billion gallons this year. The EPA instead proposes to set the 2014 requirement at 15.21 billion gallons, equal…

EIA: Carbon Emissions Decline

In 2012, energy-related carbon emissions in the United States declined 3.8 percent even as global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The recorded 5.29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide amounted to the largest decline since 1994, continuing a downward trend that started in 2007. EIA attributed last year’s decrease to several factors, including a mild…

Cove Guardian Elora Malama West Takes on Taiji for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

National Geographic Society contributor Dr. Jordan Schaul has embarked on a new endeavor to find young nature conservation crusaders and tell their story through exclusive interviews for NAT GEO NEWS WATCH. I believe in citizen science and informed citizen advocacy. I’m particularly impressed by young people who advocate on behalf the voiceless creatures of nature.…

Rare Giant Salamanders Bred in Captivity

The five-foot long amphibian, native to Japan, has been bred in captivity for only the second time in history, experts say.