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5 Species Most Likely to Survive a Climate Change Disaster

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 06:59:00 EST

Survival of the fittest. This basic tenet of evolution explains why the dodo bird no longer exists and why humans have opposable thumbs.Adaptation is key to survival, no matter how many fingers you’ve got. The ability to adjust to whatever conditions Mother Earth sends our way determines whether obstacles lead to extinction or to a new generation.Human-accelerated climate change is a disaster waiting to happen. We’ve already seen the superstorms and drought it can create. Although we can work to slow climate change, there’s no way to stop it completely. This reality means adaptation will once again become the most important strategy for survival.One thing’s for sure: the Earth will continue to exist as it has for eons. The question is, what will be left behind to inhabit it?Below are five species known for their resilience and ability to survive in adverse conditions. They are the most likely to survive a climate change disaster. Spoiler: humans don’t make the list.(image)



You Could Be Eating Endangered Fish Without Even Realizing It

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 07:19:00 EST

When you go out for sushi or visit a seafood restaurant, how sure can you be that you’re really getting what you’ve ordered? Last week, Oceana released some shocking findings: Around the world, an average of one in five samples of seafood is mislabeled.The report examined 25,000 samples worldwide and reviewed more than 200 published studies from 55 different countries. Every continent was represented apart from Antarctica. The mislabeling was present in every part of the seafood supply chain, including retail, wholesale, distribution, import/export, packaging, processing, and landing.That’s bad news for many reasons – mislabeling makes dining dangerous for consumers (not all of these species are considered suitable for human consumption), and difficult for people who are trying to avoid mercury exposure or who simply want to dine more sustainably. In most cases, cheap fish were being passed off as more expensive varieties.(image)



Thousands of Homes Keep Flooding, Yet They Keep Being Rebuilt Again

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 07:06:00 EST

The U.S. National Flood Insurance Program, which holds policies for more than 5 million homes, is $23 billion in debt after a string of natural disasters this century. As climate change further strains the program, analysts say it is time to shift its focus from rebuilding to mitigating risk.More than 2,100 properties across the U.S. enrolled in the National Flood Insurance Program have flooded and been rebuilt more than 10 times since 1978, according to a new analysis of insurance data by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One home in Batchelor, Louisiana has flooded 40 times over the past four decades, receiving $428,379 in insurance payments. More than 30,000 properties in the program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have flooded multiple times over the years. Those homes, known as “severe repetitive loss properties,” make up just 0.6 percent of federal flood insurance policies. But they account for 10.6 percent of the program’s claims — totaling $5.5 billion in payments.The new data illustrates the serious problems facing the nation’s flood insurance program. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which currently provides policies for more than 5 million American homes, is $23 billion in debt following a string of major natural disasters over the last decades, including as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.(image)



La espada de doble filo de los jardines amigables con la fauna silvestre

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 07:02:00 EST

Cientos de millones de aves mueren en colisiones con ventanas cada año sólo en los EE.UU., y aunque los edificios altos tienden a ser los mayores culpables individuales, la gran cantidad de viviendas suburbanas en todo el continente significan que, incluso pocas muertes por casa, dan una gran pérdida de aves. Un nuevo estudio publicado en The Condor: Aplicaciones Ornitológicas, examina los factores que afectan las tasas de colisión de las ventanas en las casas y muestra que los jardines que son más atractivos para las aves son también los sitios con más colisiones.Trabajando con los propietarios de casas de Alberta, quienes contribuyeron colectivamente con datos de colisión de más de 34.000 días, Justine Kummer de la Universidad de Alberta y sus colegas encontraron que la presencia de un alimentador de aves, ya sea una casa que estaba en una zona urbana o rural y la altura de la vegetación en el patio fueron los predictores más importantes de colisiones. De 421 especies de aves de Alberta, 53 estaban incluidas en los datos, la mayoría de especies urbanas comunes.(image)



The double-edged sword of wildlife-friendly yards

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 07:12:00 EST

Hundreds of millions of birds are killed in collisions with windows each year in the U.S. alone, and although high-rise buildings tend to be the biggest individual culprits, the vast number of suburban homes across the continent means that even a few deaths per house add up fast. A new study in The Condor: Ornithological Applications examines the factors that affect window collision rates at homes and shows that yards that are more attractive to birds are also the sites of more collisions.Working with Alberta homeowners who collectively contributed more than 34,000 days' worth of collision data, Justine Kummer of the University of Alberta and her colleagues found that the presence of a bird feeder, whether a house was in an urban or rural area, and the height of the vegetation in the yard were the most important predictors of collisions. Of Alberta's 421 bird species, 53 were represented in the data, mostly common urban species.(image)



Is your makeup killing sharks?

Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:50:00 EST

Most animal lovers wouldn’t dream of harming an animal for fashion. Fur? No, thank you. Leather? I don’t think so. Yet they might be unknowingly killing sharks — and highly endangered kinds on top of that — for their beauty routine.Unbeknownst to most, one little ingredient in products like sunscreens, moisturizing lotions, lip balms, lipsticks and face creams is responsible for the death of over three million sharks annually.Killer ingredient“Squalene is a naturally occurring compound found in large quantities in the liver of sharks,” explains the shark protection group Shark Trust. “A sharks’ large oily liver helps to control its position in the water column, however many cosmetics companies use the oil (and an associated compound called squalane) as a base for their moisturizing and skin care creams, lipstick and gloss, as it is non-greasy and softens skin.”(image)



California Condor Population Reaches New Heights

Tue, 14 Jun 2016 07:17:00 EST

After years of intense — and often controversial — restoration efforts, biologists are finally reporting some good news for the beleaguered California condor: More chicks are surviving in the wild, and the birds are becoming increasingly independent and expanding their range.Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced what it called a milestone for the California condor: More chicks had hatched and fledged in the wild during 2015 than the number of condors that had died. In late March, Steve Kirkland, the agency’s condor field coordinator, reported that two more chicks had fledged in 2015 in Baja California, but had only just been discovered, bringing the total in the wild to 270.It was perhaps the most promising news about the condor in decades.(image)