The world’s biggest meat and dairy operations combined pump more greenhouse gas into Earth’s warming atmosphere than any one of the largest fossil-fuel giants.
Rising costs from flooding and erosion are prompting Americans, military bases and government agencies to opt for more natural alternatives. State and federal governments are changing permitting rules and taking other steps to encourage the switch, which can improve water quality, support fisheries and protect against storms and rising seas.
The northern white rhino will surely be mourned, as would other stalwarts of picture books, documentaries and soft toy collections. But what about species of which of which we are less fond – or perhaps even entirely unaware? Would we grieve for obscure frogs, bothersome beetles or unsightly fungi? Extinction is, after all, inevitable in the natural world – some have even called it the “engine of evolution“. So should extinction matter to us?
Conserving tropical forests is an essential part of the fight to slow climate change. Tropical forest conservation benefits everyone, but the economic burden is mostly shouldered by some of the world’s poorest people.
Insects, already part of the diets of 2 billion people, mainly in Asia, are set to reach more dining tables as consumer concern about the environmental and social costs of producing beef, pork and poultry overrides the yuck factor of eating bug-filled burger. Using little land and emitting a fraction of the greenhouses gases generated by cattle, that appeal will grow as a surging population stretches scarce global resources.
How to bring home the sheer volume of plastic waste in the oceans? Fill the bay of Cannes with yellow plastic ducks.
The technology still has a very long way to go before it can become a household staple, and even further before it can begin to replace the traditional methods of animal husbandry. However, in the very long term, the Frankenstein burger could become the economy’s prime cut.
Rather than being an ecologically-fragile ape, there is evidence that orangutans have long been adapting to humans. The modern orangutan is the product of both environmental and human impacts, and where they live and how they act appear to reflect our shared history.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is considering whether to open up swathes of two world-famous national parks to oil exploration.
A decision to allow a search for crude may threaten Virunga National Park, home to many of the about 1,000 mountain gorillas still alive, and Salonga National Park, the world’s second-biggest tropical rainforest reserve. A committee is being established to debate the proposal as Congo plans to increase crude output from the 25,000 barrels per day it produces from aging oil blocks along the Atlantic Ocean coast.