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Vibrant Environment

What’s for Lunch on Doomsday?

Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Gesine Åström
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Have you ever heard about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault? It might look like something from the future, but this very important structure can be found today roughly 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, blasted 130 meters (roughly 430 feet) deep into a mountain. Designed to withstand doomsday scenarios, what valuable treasures might such a building hold? The answer is simple but may be surprising: seeds!

Environmental Public Interest Litigation Could Be Instrumental in Protecting China’s National Parks

Panda
Zhuoshi Liu
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

With its vast land and sea territory spanning 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million square miles), China is one of 17 mega-biodiversity countries in the world. It is home to nearly 10% of all plant species and 14% of all animals on earth. Protecting China’s uniquely rich biodiversity is therefore paramount to the country itself and to the entire world.

Unregulated Fishing: Impacts and Solutions

Piper Conway
Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How do you regulate something as extensive and vast as the ocean? Its deep blue waters expand around the globe and contribute significantly to our life on land. The ocean provides us with a source of food, oxygen, and climate regulation, all of which contribute importantly to the global economy.

The Story of the Relict Gulls and Thoughts on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Nametso Matomela
Alice C. Hughes
Tang Ling
Zhou Jinfeng
Niu Jingmei
Monday, November 25, 2019

In May 2019, Baguatan beach in the city of Tianjin, China, became a sudden and an unforeseen target of clam digging. Videos of people picking clams in Baguatan started trending on popular social media platforms, bringing further attention and more visitors to the beach. During the first half of the month, an average of 2,000 people visited the beach each day to dig for clams.

An Endangered Species Success

Michael J. Bean
Friday, October 25, 2019

Another member of the “Class of ‘67” has matriculated. On October 9, 2019, the Kirtland’s warbler, a colorful songbird, was declared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have recovered and was taken off the federal endangered species list. The warbler is a member of the “Class of ’67,” a reference to the very first official list of endangered species published on March 11, 1967. It joins such fellow classmates as the American alligator, bald eagle, Delmarva fox squirrel, Aleutian Canada goose, Columbian white-tail deer, and gray wolf in having achieved this milestone.

ESA Implementing Regulations Revised & Released

Barbara D. Craig
Cherise M. Gaffney
Monday, September 16, 2019

On August 12, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (together the “Services”) jointly announced final revisions to their regulations for listing and delisting species, making critical habitat designations, and undertaking consultations with federal agencies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final rules are here. These rules become effective 30 days from publication.

Trade, Tourism, and Trophies—The Elephant in the Room

John Cruden
Catherine Novelli
Dan Ashe
Friday, August 30, 2019

Elephants are amazing animals and perhaps our most enduring mental image of Africa—large, untamed, inexhaustible. That image can also distract us from the unpleasant historical and current realities of colonization and exploitation of Africa and Africans, including African elephants. Evidence of this is like air, it’s all around us. So, like air, it goes unseen, like the fresco above the south entrance to the Federal Trade Commission building, here in Washington, D.C., portraying an obviously western man, extending a money bag to an apparently African man, who is on bended knee and holding an ivory tusk.

Leadership of Women in the Environmental Movement

Helena Kilburn
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Women have been leaders in every major movement, though their contributions all too often go unrecognized. The environmental movement is no exception. Women striving toward the betterment of this field have faced many challenges, but through skill and determination, they persevered. The environmental movement is over two centuries long with generations of women shaping policies and laws within the field. This blog features just a handful of the numerous women who paved the way for future environmentally conscious generations.

Trips to the Biotech Frontier: Episode 3

Kashaf Momin
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

By now, you have seen how biotech is transforming the food industry. You have also seen how it can revolutionize the construction and textile industries. In this final episode, we will explore biotechnology products you may find in your home in the near future.

The same platform used to brew hoppy beer without the hops, discussed in our last episode, is also transforming the fragrance business. In partnership with a Swiss perfume company, the bioscience firm Amyris synthetically produced patchouli, one of the essential oils that constitutes traditional perfume. This product, called CLEARWOOD®, was created using engineered yeast as its microbial platform, a more sustainable alternative to the costly and lengthy cultivation and extraction process of the patchouli plant. Meanwhile, Ginkgo Bioworks has designed its own aromatic oil....

Harmful Algae Blooms in Coastal Waters: Removing Toxic Algae From Florida’s Waterways

Dan Levy
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Widespread harmful algae bloom (HAB) outbreaks have profound negative impacts: threats to human health and safety, stress on ecological systems, diminished quality of life, and significant economic loss to water-based recreational and commercial activities. They occur due to decades worth of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient runoff deposited into our freshwater lakes and water bodies. Now, excess nutrient runoff and human activity have contributed to an uncontrollable rise in HABs across the globe. This ongoing accumulation of nutrients into our shrinking freshwater supplies combined with warmer temperatures has turned these precious water bodies into petri dishes for harmful algae growth. Removing the overabundance of nutrients is essential to restoring these water bodies and preventing the growth of future HABs.