Our Planet

This year was marked by many broken records in the ocean.

The Top Ten Ocean Stories of 2023

Major discoveries, an undersea tragedy and international cooperation were some of the biggest saltwater moments of the year

Sultan al-Jaber, the president of COP28, and other participants at the conference applaud. The final document resulting from COP28 mentioned transitioning away from fossil fuels, rather than phasing them out over time.

The Six Biggest Takeaways From COP28

The United Nations climate change conference drew praise for new pledges and criticism for watered-down language

Covid-19 lockdowns had all kinds of effects on wild populations, helping some and hindering others. In one Mexican marine park, though, the sudden lack of tourists led to an increase in the density and diversity of marine species.

During Covid-19 Lockdowns, Fish Flourished in This Park

In the absence of tourists, the animals increased within Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo National Park

Our ten favorite science books of the year covered everything from astronomy to undersea exploration.

The Best Books of 2023

The Ten Best Science Books of 2023

From stories on the depths of the ocean to the stars in the sky, these are the works that moved us the most this year

In 2023, wildfires ravaged communities in Canada, Hawaii and elsewhere across the globe.

There's More to That

Why Wildfires Are Burning Hotter and Longer

As conflagrations become more difficult to contain, a citizen movement to try to manage them through “prescribed burns” is growing

Svalbard reindeer graze during an early snowfall. If temperatures rise again, food may be trapped under ice during a critical time for packing on winter pounds.

Northern Europe and the British Isles

The World’s Smallest Reindeer Get Their Day in the Sun

On Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a rare animal is thriving—for now

Why can't machines process CO2 the way trees do?

Why Can't Machines Process CO2 Like Trees? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

In the village of Tautira, Tahiti, the community came together to impose their own set of fishing restrictions to ensure the availability of fish into the future.

How an Ancient Practice Aids Marine Conservation

In French Polynesia, the art of rahui puts everyone in charge of protecting the sea

The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents has been drawing commercial perfumers with a nose for aromas, gardeners, cooks and others since 2017.

This California Museum Is Home to Hundreds of Nature's Scents

Perfumer Mandy Aftel's spellbinding collection of rare essences and artifacts is on display at the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents in Berkeley

A tornado churns up dust at dusk near Traer, Iowa.

How and Why Do Violent Tornadoes Form?

Scientists hope new technology and computing power will help them understand destructive twisters

Carved Cucurbita pepo traditionally grace stoops around Halloween.

Five Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Jack-O’-Lantern

A horticulturalist with the New York Botanical Garden provides advice for prolonging the life of your pumpkin

With a baby in tow, a gray-headed flying fox uses her large eyes to navigate, rather than relying on echolocation as other bat species do. 

Why Australians Are Growing to Appreciate These Giant, Threatened Bats

Once seen as a menace, the gray-headed flying fox brings new life after recent devastating wildfires

Could this innovation provide a solution to one of our era’s biggest scourges?

Scientists Have Created Synthetic Sponges That Soak Up Microplastics

Made from starch and gelatin, the biodegradable sponges remove as much as 90 percent of microplastics in tap water and seawater

Consumer products made from carbon capture can't undo the damage we’ve done to our planet—but each of them exists thanks to innovations that could. 

Little Luxuries Made With Captured Pollution Hint at Big Frontiers in Climate Science

Entrepreneurs are using jewelry, fragrances and clothing to demonstrate what’s possible with repurposed carbon—and environmentalists have questions

A pod of ancient Nacional cacao offers hope for reforesting Ecuador’s Pacific coast, which by some estimates has lost 98 percent of its original forest cover over the past century.

Planet Positive

The Quest to Save the World’s Most Coveted Chocolate

For these ambitious scientists in the rainforests of Ecuador, helping the environment has never tasted so sweet

Across the United States, around 70 percent of coal travels by rail.

Using A.I. to Track Air Pollution From Open-Top Coal Trains

Scientists in California are working with communities—and a suite of tools—to better monitor air quality

A mule deer crosses a road near Aspen, Colorado.

How Roads Have Transformed the Natural World

A brief history of road ecology, the scientific discipline that is helping us understand our impact on the environment and how to diminish it

The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are the world’s first attempt to model prehistoric animals at full scale.

Northern Europe and the British Isles

How a Victorian Dinosaur Park Became a Time Capsule of Early Paleontology

A new sculpture and an upcoming restoration are breathing life into the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, one of 19th-century Britain’s most curious creations

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There's More to That

Deep-Sea Tourism or Deep-Sea Science?

Two chroniclers of explorers, including one who profiled OceanGate’s Stockton Rush, reflect on what visiting the depths of the ocean can—and can’t—teach us

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There's More to That

Hear What’s Happening to the Colorado River From a Photojournalist Who Has Spent His Entire Life Alongside It

In the latest episode of “There’s More to That,” learn about the Western waterway that affects the lives of everyone in the United States

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