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.
Australia & Oceania
"The Great Barrier Reef has been hit by bleaching due to heat stress, the Australian agency that manages the reef said on Friday, ahead of a visit by United Nations officials reviewing whether the reef should be listed as being "in danger"."
"Recovery efforts are beginning in Australia following days of excessive rainfall across the states of Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia that left thousands of properties and entire neighborhoods underwater. More rain is on the way for some of the hardest-hit areas, AccuWeather forecasters warn."
A historical look at how profit and capitalism have ravaged the natural world is the subject of our new BookShelf review. Contributor Melody Kemp offers her take on award-winning Australian journalist Jeff Sparrow’s forthcoming volume, which explores the damage wrought by cars, roads and PR spin, as well as solutions suggested by models of Indigenous land management.
"The Australian government has officially listed the koala as endangered after a decline in its numbers due to land clearing and catastrophic bushfires shrinking its habitat."
"US coalmining giant Peabody Energy has repeatedly submitted incorrect greenhouse gas emissions reports to the Australian government, prompting questions about the reliability of national climate data based on company assessments."
"French researchers say they have discovered one of the world’s largest healthy coral reefs, possibly paving the way for similar discoveries in locations that have not yet been explored, Paris-based UNESCO announced Thursday."
"A thick layer of ash covering entire island communities can be seen in the first images of disaster-hit Tonga to emerge following what experts believe to be the world's biggest volcanic eruption in more than 30 years."
"Australia and New Zealand sent surveillance flights on Monday to assess damage in Tonga, isolated from the rest of the world after the eruption of a volcano that triggered a tsunami and blanketed the Pacific island with ash."
"On a dirt path, forked yellow tongue darting from its mouth, a member of the world’s largest lizard species lazes on an island in eastern Indonesia’s Komodo National Park as tourists snap photos. And about 18 miles (30 kilometers) away on another park island that harbors Komodo dragons, trees have been removed and concrete poured for new tourist facilities that have aroused the ire of residents and environmental activists."