A recent study of global cropland expansion highlights several trends that are ripe with environmental news stories. One finding: New farm fields have taken over an area the size of Texas and California combined since the start of the century, an expansion primarily affecting biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems, with Africa leading the cropland boom. Freelancer Gabriel Popkin explores the latest data and the reporting possibilities.
Environmental writer Allison Cobb, in “Plastic: An Autobiography,” tells the story of the ubiquitous material through a series of interwoven narratives that range from her own experiences with it (including a discarded plastic car bumper), to the corporate origins of its spread and the way it’s now dangerously carpeting nature and damaging human communities. Contributor Nano Riley has a review in our new BookShelf.
"It has not rained on Habiba Maow Iman's farm in southern Somalia for two years. Her animals are dead; her crops failed."
The climate-security nexus has drawn attention from the Biden administration, but less so elsewhere, even as security experts worry about climate change as a threat multiplier that can exacerbate other causes of conflict. Our new Backgrounder explores these concerns, with a look at how the issue has played out in recent U.S. politics. Plus, seven global regions where climate change may worsen ongoing conflict.
"The U.N. World Food Programme said on Tuesday that 13 million people across the Horn of Africa face severe hunger, calling for immediate assistance to avoid a repeat of a famine a decade ago that killed hundreds of thousands of people."
"Cyclone Batsirai rammed into Madagascar’s coast on Feb. 5, bringing further devastation to a country already reeling from the effects of another tropical storm, Ana, that struck on Jan. 22."
Environmental journalist Khalid Bencherif struggled to bring the emergent effects of climate change to the attention of local audiences facing many other pressing problems. So he told a powerful story grounded in personal experience, traveling to his childhood home in Morocco’s Tafilalet region, where deepening drought is hitting the oases hard and driving many villagers from their homes.
"Richard Leakey, the world-renowned paleoanthropologist-turned-conservationist, has died at 77."
"In one of the first comprehensive studies of images captured by the Envisat satellite, researchers with French consultancy firm VisioTerra found evidence of 18,063 oil slicks in the Gulf of Guinea between 2002 and 2012."
"Widespread poverty, lack of irrigation, deforestation and COVID-19 restrictions are having a bigger effect than global warming, scientists say".