Microbeads were so 2016! Remember, them? We all read those articles about how plastic microbeads in our toiletries were making their way into lakes, rivers, and oceans and being consumed by animals! Now I just rub my face two times a week with my cat’s litter; super sustainable! But there’s a new plastic villain on the scene, and if you’re not careful, it could be right on top of you! They’re called plastic microfibres and they exist in a lot of our clothing! Continue reading
** Please read this article while listening to Vanessa William’s “Colors of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas **
It is clear that the world is changing, and that it is humans that are shaking up the giant etch-a-sketch also known as the planet Earth. We see it with forest disappearing because of clear-cutting, in the ever-expanding cities, and in the loss of plants and animals on a minute-to-minute basis. Not all animals perceive the world the same way that we do. Unlike humans, there are many animals that rely predominantly on senses other than sight. For instance, sea mammals rely on audio information to assess their environment and communicate with other individuals. Oceanographer, Kate Stafford, researches the changing soundscape in our oceans and gave a TED Talk specifically about the now noisier Arctic Ocean. Trust us, it’s worth a listen…get it?
We’re back with another week of environmental news, and they run the gamut! There were multiple black bear attacks in Alaska, a ban of all wild animal performances in New York City, and one of the smartest people on the planet said we have to leave Earth for the sake of humanity… so if you want to contemplate our existence as a species, read on! Continue reading
Humans will go down in the history books as the only species to colonize every continent on the planet. However, there are much smaller animals that are accomplishing this feat, and they’re ants. Oh yes! Along with ruining our picnics, these insects are also taking over the Earth, one anthill at a time. For most of the 12,000 species of ants described on Earth, they are extremely territorial. However, there are about 20 species that exhibit a behaviour to create super-colonies. These super-colonies grow from a single ant colony that branches out to nearby areas, and can expand uncontrollably if not impeded. Continue reading
Along with finding solutions for the global hunger and water crises, climate change, and global financial inequity, researchers are hard at work finding out why flamingos only stand on one leg! This age-old question has been perplexing humans, and now we may be one step closer to solving this dumbfounding mystery. A team of researchers from Atlanta, Georgia claim that the one-legged balancing act is used to conserve energy. The famous flamingo pose is a passive stance which requires no active muscular energy, which means they use less energy. Continue reading
My regularly scheduled Wendy Williams Show watching was interrupted for a “Breaking News” bulletin where President Donald Trump exited from his sunless tanner bath to announce that the USA would be leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. While many politicians, CEO’s, and others voiced their displeasure with the announcement, it appears that days afterwards this really isn’t that big of a deal. Continue reading
A college student captured a hilariously terrifying and stupid moment at a harbour in Canada, which has since gone viral. Michael Fujiwara took his camera out in time to tape a little girl being grabbed by a sea lion and pulled into the water. You also see the girl’s grandfather jump in the water after her, to get her out of the water. You see both of them appear to leave the area unhurt. This means that not only can we laugh at the ridiculousness of the events, but also use it as a cautionary tale to whomever else thinks it’s smart to feed wild animals. Continue reading
So often my actions are plagued with an ethical dilemma about how detrimental they are to the environment! Finally one of my favourite things to do not only makes me feel good, but is also good for the environment! Every time I go to a hotel, I pretend like I’m a celebrity at a boutique where everything is free! I take it all, and I love it! Little did I know that leaving these toiletries in the hotel room is actually harmful to the environment. Continue reading
I get it! We all want to look like Christina Aguilera from the Dirrty video! We all want to achieve that hot skin-on-skin look that is only attainable by painting on a pair of leather pants. Then we undergo the classic moral dilemma; how can I look like a total sex God while also being respectful of animals and the environment? For most of us we calm our conscience by purchasing faux leather, “pleather”, or vegan leather products. These products bring us a step closer to Danny Zucko without directly harming any animals. However, our moral superiority may be in jeopardy because like everything in else in the world, pleather is also super detrimental to the environment. So pull out your faux-leather handkerchief to cry in to, and let’s begin. Continue reading
Out in the Falkland Islands, just off the east coast of Argentina, is a stretch of white sand beach bordered by barbed wires and warning signs. That is because the stunning beach is covered with landmines! 35 years after those landmines were buried, the beach at Yorke Bay has a special inhabitant, penguins! Thousands of Magellanic penguins have taken this once war zone into their home. However, their home might be soon uprooted in order to remove the landmines than have indirectly preserved their habitat.
It appears that the penguins are simply light enough that they don’t set off any of the landmines. Since no humans or other heftier animals set foot on the beach, they have provided a refuge for these flightless birds to nest.
In the spring of 1982, Argentine naval commandos landed on Yorke Bay to full on invade the island which was held by the British. One of the first things they did was plant tens of thousand of landmines along the beach! Unfortunately, they only held the beach for 74 days before the British took it back. In their wake they left behind a piece of conservation.
Along with the penguins, plant species have also reestablished themselves on the beach, untouched by humans for decades. However, the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which is signed by the UK states that they will clear the mines on their land. This won’t be an easy job though. First off the landmines have probably shifted with the sand dunes, which could mean that the entire beach would have to be dug up and sifted through.
This could be extremely detrimental to the ecosystem that have formed there. Residents of the island also don’t see the need to have the mines dug up especially since the area is fenced and marked off from the public.
Beyond ecology, conservation, treaties, and public opinion, there is one more factor that could influence the future of this beach; money. You see, the Falkland Islands’ economy relies heavily on tourism. With Yorke Bay being walking distance from the major harbour, having this white-sand beach available to the public could be a major attraction and revenue maker.
While plans to demine the beach have not been set in stone, some experts have suggested that they do the removal during the winter when the penguins won’t be on the beach. Even if the penguins are not present for the removal, it could damage this special system forever.
For now, we can enjoy this rare instance of where so much beauty came from an act of war.
Employees in Galveston, Texas came across a staggering scene when they found 395 migratory birds dead or dying outside of the American National Insurance building. The 23-story building is the highest in the city and collided with the birds migrating to northern nesting sites. 25 different species were recovered outside of the building including Nashville and Blackburnian warblers, redstarts, ovenbirds, and orioles. Continue reading
Last week we told you how NASA was using satellites to work with the Jane Goodall Institute to protect endangered chimpanzees! Today we have another fascinating story about how scientists are using satellites to track and protect endangered species. Using the highest-resolution satellite images available, researchers are able to count individual albatrosses on top of rock outcrops near New Zealand’s Chatham Islands. Continue reading
An autopsy of a killer whale, named Lulu, that was found on the Isle of Tiree in Scotland showed her body contained some of the highest levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) ever recorded. Lulu’s body was said to contain twenty times more of the toxic chemical than the safe level that cetaceans are able to handle. These chemicals which were banned in the 1970s are still present in the oceans and build up in animals. Now scientists fear that the other members of Lulu’s pod could also be highly contaminated. Continue reading
You know the saying “Think global, act local” well NASA has taken it to heart and has been aiding in the conservation of endangered species by providing a space-level perspective to conservation. Recently NASA partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to identify key areas of habitat destruction and threat to chimpanzees. Using satellite imagery, NASA was able to provide vital information to conservationists on the ground to focus on key areas where chimpanzees need the most help. Continue reading
Up until now the waxworm was best known to fishers as a type of bait, but a new discovery from a Spanish biologist Federica Bertocchini shows that these unsuspecting invertebrates can ingest plastic! The report published in the journal Current Biology provides a potential solution to the trillions of plastic bags used around the world every year. Continue reading
It’s true. We live in a time where we need to advocate for science! Good Lord! It turns out decision-makers are still not following science-based information, and so scientists and science-enthusiasts took to the streets last Saturday to fight for science! Honestly, it’s hard to sit back and not see the ridiculousness of the situation. Continue reading
I admit that quite often I get stuck in my own bubble. I have my house, I go to school, I write articles, and then I repeat. My immediate interactions with nature are limited to my bubble. For instance, I’m very well versed with squirrels, raccoons, robins, an array of spider species, and mosquitoes. Easily, I forget the diversity of life that inhabits the planet! That’s why my favourite animal fact is that the blue whale is the largest organism to have ever lived on Earth! The reason I love that fact so much is because it still lives on Earth, which means I’m currently sharing the planet with the largest creature EVER! Continue reading
Millions popped champagne and smoked a cigar after April the giraffe from Animal Adventure Park gave birth to a male calf on April 16. The giraffe’s pregnancy was streamed live since February, amassing a huge online following! The stream got so popular, it became sponsored by Toy’s R’ Us! When April wasn’t birthing as quickly as people expected, many started claiming it was a hoax, or a publicity stunt. While 1.2 million people tuned in for the baby giraffe’s birth, giraffes in the wild are getting closer to extinction. Continue reading
Southern California underwent a super bloom starting in the middle of March. These massive blooms happen after large amounts of rainfall occur in areas of drought and awaken dormant seeds. Images released by the US Department if the Interior went viral showing the carpets of wildflowers, including dandelions, desert asters, sand verbena, phacelia, and lupine, carpet the landscape! One of the most beautiful settings to see the bloom is the Wild Flower Trail at Diamond Valley Lake. The super bloom drew out massive amount of visitors to the area! These visitors clearly don’t know how to read signs because the trail had to be closed down on March 29 and reopened for only five days a week because people were trampling the flowers and destroying the blooms. Continue reading
My apologies for the click-bait title, but this research is so cool it deserves your undivided attention. As most of us know, we have a serious problem when it comes to water scarcity. It is estimated that 2.8 billion people in the world do not have access to viable drinking water for at least one month each year. This also puts a strain on Earth’s fresh water systems which are already threatened by pollution and over consumption. With drought instances increasing across the world, it is expected that water scarcity will only increase. However, there is a group of scientists who released a study claiming that they have created a sieve that can filter salt from seawater. The sieve is created from a chemical derivative called graphene oxide. Continue reading
In early February a live stream began at Animal Adventure Park to follow a pregnant giraffe, April, and watch her give birth live. The stream went viral after it was periodically taken down from YouTube after complaints of nudity. The live stream was restarted and is now followed by millions of people around the world! It has become so popular that it is now sponsored by Toys R’ Us and has spawned numerous parody videos. Suspicions of a hoax began to brew after the zoo released a statement saying that there was a good chance April would give birth on April Fool’s Day. Continue reading
Elon Mush made news this week when he made plans to connect the human brain with artificial intelligence. While this has some people fearing we are slowly turning into real-life terminators, we shouldn’t write off robots all together. In a TED Talk, engineer Jonathan Rossiter, explains how future robots can help us in removing pollution and even diagnosing human diseases. Continue reading
Zoo keepers from the Knoxville zoo in Tennessee were reportedly devastated after discovering that 33 reptiles were dead in their enclosures Wednesday of last week. The zoo released a statement saying that once the animals were found to be unresponsive, the veterinary team was brought in to evacuate the animals, administer oxygen, and check for vitals. The 33 animals that died included 30 snakes, one lizard, and two other reptiles. An investigation is currently being conducted since the cause of the mass death is still unclear, but it was reported that all of the deceased came from the same building. Continue reading
Mercury pollution is a major problem in many aquatic systems, and is a real challenge to get rid of. It is extremely toxic and can cause long-term health issues for animals and humans. A team of scientists from the University of Minnesota have created a sponge that can remove mercury from water within seconds! Continue reading
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is a day where we celebrate the life of Ireland’s most influential saint and do so by propagating the Irish stereotype of getting black out drunk! Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all of the snakes from Ireland. As a conservationist, I do not condone mass culls of endemic species, but is this story even true? Continue reading