Environment

Africa could lose rare glaciers like Mount Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field within 20 years.

Africa's Last Rare Glaciers May Soon Disappear

The continent is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, despite its population contributing little to the problem

Colombian wildlife officials hope to control a rather large invasive species—the hippo—with contraceptive drugs.

Officials Use Contraceptives to Control Pablo Escobar's 'Cocaine' Hippos

Smuggled into Colombia by the drug kingpin in the 1980s, the African mammal is now a growing environmental threat in the South American country

Smithsonian scientist Genevieve Noyce conducts a plant census in a wetland at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland.

 

How the Smithsonian Grapples With Climate Change

As a hub for research and education, the Institution is poised to help the world find solutions to the global challenge

American bumblebees are a vital pollinator for wildflowers and crops, and their decline could have severe consequences for the environment.
 

The American Bumblebee Has Nearly Vanished From Eight States

In two decades, the insect's population has declined by nearly 90 percent due to a combination of threats, including habitat loss, pesticides and diseases

Plastic debris covers much of the sand on Henderson Island.

Plastics Make Beaches Hotter During the Day and Colder at Night

A study of remote islands shows that debris alters sand temperatures

Fishers gather rope and nets on a fishing boat in Gaza in May 2021. 

New Research

With Ropes and Nets, Fishing Fleets Contribute Significantly to Microplastic Pollution

Synthetic ropes release 'substantial amount' of plastic particles into the sea during each use, according to new research

A cluster of western monarch butterflies clings to a branch as it overwinters in California.

The Best Place to Watch Monarch Butterflies Migrate Might Be This Little California Beach Town

Thousands of western monarchs migrate to Pismo Beach each fall to escape winter cold, but climate change threatens the species' survival

Enticed by a sweet treat, a cow learns to use the "MooLoo," a latrine for cattle, where excrement can be collected. The only question is: can this technique work on a larger scale?

Researchers Potty Trained Young Cows, a Promising Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

One cow pees up to eight gallons a day; training them is easy, and capturing and treating the waste could make a difference

Environmental scientist Alexandra Ordoñez Alvarez from the University of Queensland collects data in Far Northern Great Barrier Reef on Ashmore Bank.

Scientists Complete the First Map of the World's Coral Reefs

Nearly 100,000 square miles of the organism have been charted in high detail to create a tool for conservationists to help save them

Grizzly bears in coastal British Columbia are more closely linked to Indigenous groups than previously realized.

Grizzly Bear Territories in Canada Match Maps of Indigenous Language Families

DNA analysis shows a distinct relationship between three distinct groups of grizzlies and Indigenous populations with different languages

The creation of clouds over forested areas shows that reforestation would likely be more effective at cooling Earth’s atmosphere than previously thought, a Princeton study says.

Planet Positive

Planting Trees Encourages Cloud Formation—and Efficiently Cools the Planet

New study examines cooling effect of clouds produced by deciduous forests under pressures of climate change

Pictured: A hydrogen fuel station sign in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony in Germany.

New Research

'Blue' Hydrogen May Not Be a Very 'Green' Energy Source After All

Climate scientists conclude this so-called clean alternative has a 20 percent larger carbon footprint than natural gas and coal when used for heat

This map shows how land and ocean temperatures have changed from June 2021 relative to the 1951-1980 base period. High values (darker red colors) indicate temperatures that are higher than those in the base period. The number in the top right is an estimate of the global mean temperature increase. All temperatures are in Celsius.

New Research

Study Measuring Earth's Vital Signs Warns of Climate Tipping Points

The authors say tropical coral reefs, the Amazon rainforest, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets may have passed dangerous tipping points

Feral hogs wreak havoc on the ecosystems they invade, and new research suggests they're also contributing to climate change by releasing 1.1 million cars-worth of carbon dioxide every year.

New Research

Feral Pigs Release 1.1 Million Cars-Worth of Planet-Warming Carbon Dioxide Every Year

The study's results add exacerbating climate change to the list of environmental impacts ascribed to this invasive species

Members of the public take part in a blessing of the Lummi Nation totem pole in San Leandro, California, on June 3. The House of Tears Carvers toured the pole around the West Coast before embarking on a two-week journey to Washington, D.C.

Why Indigenous Activists Are Driving a 25-Foot Totem Pole Across the Country

Master carvers from the Lummi Nation, a Native tribe in Washington, crafted the 5,000-pound object from a single red cedar tree

Chris Meyer, a marine invertebrate zoologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, dives around French Polynesia with equipment used to track coral reef health.

Future of Conservation

Meet the Reef Expert Collecting Environmental Time Capsules

Collecting DNA in waters worldwide can help scientists figure out which places are the most important for conservation

Dune Lankard is embracing a method called regenerative ocean farming.

Facing Warming Waters, Fishermen Are Taking Up Ocean Farming

Called regenerative ocean farming, this model involves growing shellfish and kelp in underwater gardens

Genetic tests reveal that the Shark Bay mouse (pictured) from Shark Bay, Western Australia, is actually a living population of Gould's mouse, which had been thought to be extinct for more than a century.

New Research

Australian Mouse Presumed Extinct for More Than a Century Found Alive on Island

The living Shark Bay mouse turned out to be genetically identical to the formerly extinct Gould’s mouse

The new gray wolf pups in Colorado have yet to be photographed, so for now you'll have to make do with this bright-eyed pair.

Gray Wolf Pups Seen in Colorado for the First Time in 80 Years

Wildlife officials spotted at least three pups around a den site located near the Wyoming border

A blue jay photographed at a bird feeder. Fledgling blue jays and grackles in D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia have been dying of a mysterious ailment since late May.

Mysterious Ailment Blinding and Killing Birds in Washington, D.C. Area

Authorities are urging the public to take down bird feeders and baths in hopes of curbing the spread of what could be a wildlife disease

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