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The River Runs Through Us

By Abbie Gascho Landis I stand, dripping, in Alabama’s Paint Rock River, and what looks like a rock in my hand is alive. She is a native freshwater mussel called a snuffbox. Her apricot-sized shell meets in a blunted edge, forming a curving triangle, which is mottled yellowish and dark brown. I have lifted her…

California Dairies Join Forces with Conservationists and an Irrigation Supplier to Save Water and Reduce Groundwater Pollution

For most of us, dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt are an integral part of our daily diets. In fact, US residents consume on average more than 600 pounds of dairy products (expressed on a milk-equivalent basis) per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Some 9 million dairy cows meet that…

Messages on a Rock: How Our National Monuments Help Define Us

In coming weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected to visit New Mexico to tour the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument as part of the administration’s hostile review of monuments in the West (the review ends Aug. 23). Despite overwhelming public support in New Mexico for the two monuments, not all of the state’s elected officials are on board. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez recently wrote to Zinke that she supports the review of the two monuments “to analyze whether the designations make the best sense for New Mexico.”

I hope Secretary Zinke gets a chance to hike into the canyon and float the river. I hope he speaks to the many New Mexicans—from tribal leaders and ranchers to local mayors and business owners—who strongly support this monument and see it as part of their cultural identity.

Sushi Roulette: Is the Fish You Ordered the One You Got?

Have plans this summer to visit your favorite sushi restaurant? You might order spicy tuna roll. Or maybe salmon or halibut. But is the fish you selected the one you got? If you’re in Los Angeles or many other cities around the globe, it’s a flip of the coin. Scientists at Loyola Marymount University, the…

How the National Geographic Society Has Rebooted to Help Restore Earth’s Natural Equilibrium

Six months into his new position as National Geographic chief scientist, Jonathan Baillie, the former conservation programmes director of the Zoological Society of London, outlined his “scientific vision” for how the National Geographic Society would work to help create a a planet that’s going to provide for 9 billion people — and all forms of other life. “How do we do this with 9 billion people on the planet? This is the great challenge we all face. National Geographic now needs to think about its unique role helping us face this challenge,” Baillie told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff gathered at the Society’s headquarters for this week’s Explorers Festival.

National Geographic Explorers a ‘Secret Weapon’ to Change the World, Says Society President Gary Knell

“This is truly National Geographic’s moment, because as Neil deGrasse Tyson says, the great thing about science is that it’s true, whether you believe it or not,” National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell said at the opening of the Explorers Festival (#NatGeoFest) at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. today.

Knell told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff that the Society had been through a major transition that transformed the organization, “a transformation that better positioned National Geographic to address the multiple challenges facings its future, but more importantly, facing our planet. We figured out a way to support your critical work in a more direct way and tackle those issues by connecting and integrating our multimedia platforms. And today the content that we are generating, the stories we’re telling, the grants we’re making, the actions we’re taking are more needed and important than ever before.”

Reporter’s Notebook: Voices from the Mekong and Tonlé Sap Lake

Voices and stories from around Tonle Sap Lake and communities affected by the Lower Sesan II dam.

Hundreds of mayors, governors, CEOs and others pledge U.S. commitment to Paris climate agreement

Mike Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, submitted yesterday an unprecedented statement of unity from hundreds of U.S. mayors, governors, state attorneys general, CEOs and others to achieve and eventually exceed America’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In a letter to addressed jointly to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Bloomberg presented this declaration, called “We Are Still In.”

National Geographic Photo Ark Spotlight: The Vulnerable Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle

Native to rivers and lakes in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems in South America, the yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, and is therefore assessed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the species as Endangered wherever found, in terms of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Port Launay: The Last Mangroves of the Seychelles

When French settlers first arrived in the remote islands of the Seychelles, thick mangrove forests fringed the western shore of Mahe, the largest of the islands in the archipelago. Inside the green coastal forests, giant crocodiles roamed through the tangled branches, as well as many species of fish, crab and birds. The woodlands were a…

Why Kill a Program that Saves Water, Energy, and Money – and that Business Likes?

This week the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), a non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, sent a letter to US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that makes an unassailable case for continuing a program called WaterSense. As most of us know, Mr. Pruitt is on a quest to reduce the regulation of air, land, and water,…

Hawiian Coastal Plastic Cleanup by Young People

Optimism versus pessimism, how do we find balance between the two when confronting the environmental challenges of today? The older generation has many opportunities to help young people to be optimistic about the future — by encouraging them to take action.  The sea offers us inspiration to act (it is la mere in French, our…

The Wild President: New Film Celebrates Jimmy Carter’s River Legacy

President Jimmy Carter’s connection to rivers and his leadership in river protection is celebrated in the new film “The Wild President.” The film tells the story of Carter’s first descent down the Chattooga River’s Bull Sluice Rapid. Carter was instrumental in protecting the Chattooga as a Wild and Scenic River, and helped conserve rivers across Georgia and…

The Value of Bhutan’s Rivers

For Bhutanese, the relationship we have with our rivers is complex. Generally, we are taught to both fear and respect the river. Superstition and parental wisdom guide us away from rivers. We appreciate and revere them from afar. We would not dare pollute or defile them. But now we are appreciating that rural livelihoods and sustainable tourism can be built on keeping Bhutan’s rivers wild and free.

Global Wetlands Youth Photo Contest 2017: Winner and Highly Commended Finalists

“Wetlands that help us cope with extreme weather events” was the theme of the Wetlands Youth Photo contest, organized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from 2 February to 2 March 2017. Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as storms, floods and droughts are on the increase. When well-managed, healthy wetlands absorb and…