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Category archives for Geography

Saying Yes, and…. Smart Siting of Wind and Solar is a Game Changer

By Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer, The Nature Conservancy At the end of the nineteenth century, great minds in America were in furious debate—should we power the future using direct current or alternating current? Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse favored AC current because it permitted the transmission of electricity over greater distances using thinner…

Thrills, Spills, and Seabirds in the Subantarctic

This is Part Three of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin.” See Part One and Part Two. Endangered (by) Sea Lions Alternate title: Mom, Don’t Read This One 11 November 2017 Chambres Inlet Imagine you’ve sailed 300 miles south of New Zealand to a subantarctic island. You’ve been dropped off by dinghy before sunrise in a secluded cove,…

Downwind: Living in the Shadows of Houston’s Refineries

When a balloon floats towards the sky, two-year old Rosalina Chronister tells her great grandmother, Esperanza, the balloon is visiting her sister, Ciera Rose, in heaven. Ciera Rose was only four when she died of cancer last fall. A few months ago, her family and their friends came together to remember this energetic child. They released balloons, marking her passing.

Are Africa’s Forgotten Lions Doomed to Slip Into Extinction, Unnoticed?

What is the glue that forever binds lions to East and Southern Africa? Was it the pioneering Serengeti research done by Bernhard Grzimek? The high volume of lion films, featuring terrestrial backdrops like the Okavango Delta? Or is it simply that iconic picture of panthera leo, resting on a granite kopje or under an umbrella tree,…

Understanding Identity and Kyrgyz Cultural Values Through Food

Food is not just something we eat to enjoy and to give us nourishment; it is also a powerful tool through which we can view and begin to understand other cultures. Every culture brings its own cuisine to the world’s culinary table and each of these dishes tell a story. From the ingredients, we can…

Penguins Wanted

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin, Part Two (See Part One) The Search 8 November 2017 Port Ross and Enderby Island It was cold and clear and very dark when six hardy souls climbed over the ship’s rail and down into the little dinghy, surging up and down against Evohe’s hull. Hamish the helmsman yanked the engine into…

Climate Resilience from Down Under: Scaling Australia’s Mines and Clean Energy

Guest article by Joseph Kirschke In January 2011, the irony facing Australia’s massive thermal coal exports was intense as the unseasonable monsoon rains that battered its shipping facilities to a standstill. This year brought more extreme storm-related power outages to the other side of the continent and, with them, Elon Musk’s Tesla to launch the…

Seeing the Forest for the Apes: An Unlikely Partnership for Conservation

Look around your home or your office and you’ll quickly realize the sheer quantity of items and materials that are derived from the global logging industry. From printer paper to furniture and building materials, there is an unbelievable demand for wood and wood products. It’s simultaneously obvious but also easy to forget that for every…

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin

The latest numbers say that yellow-eyed penguins are still heading toward extinction on mainland New Zealand. Their only other breeding habitat is a handful of islands hundreds of miles to the south. In this four-part story I join a surreal voyage to the all-but-inaccessible Auckland Islands, where we’re trying to find out how this gravely endangered penguin is faring in the…

Through the Mountain Pass

I’m sitting in a shared taxi en route to Talas, the region to the west of Bishkek. The sun is descending and night is falling. The inside of the taxi is dark – the only light coming from the small screen hanging from the roof playing Russian pop music videos. All I can see outside…

Residual Fragments of Past Lives

Residual Fragments of Past Lives (Patagonia’s Untold Stories) Decaying fragments hang from the cavity’s roof as streaks of viscous dark red liquid meander down its sides. The peculiar scent of extracellular digestion from fungal mycelia impregnates the stale air. I force myself into the cramped cavity to further investigate. With only half of my body…

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas (Historias no Contadas de la Patagonia)   Con solo la parte superior de mi cuerpo dentro de la estrecha cavidad, miro hacia arriba con asombro. El sonido del silencio es abrumador. Fragmentos en descomposición cuelgan del techo de la cavidad, mientras un viscoso líquido color magenta escurre por sus lados.…

How Nature Is Nurturing Cities

Harini Nagendra has spent more than a decade studying the growth and functioning of cities in South Asia, supported in part by grants from the National Geographic Society in 2006 and 2011. In her new book, Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future she focuses in on the booming modern city of…

The surprising diversity of Sunda clouded leopard communication behaviors

Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) are part of the Panthera lineage of felids that includes African lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), and jaguars (Panthera onca). These are among the most charismatic wildlife species, but Sunda clouded leopards are the least understood and studied of this group. Sunda clouded leopards are found in Borneo and…

What’s the cost of a surf-and-turf dinner? 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

What’s the cost of an average shrimp-and-steak dinner? If it comes from the loss of mangrove forests to aquaculture and agriculture, it’s 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about the same amount of greenhouse gases produced by driving a fuel-efficient car from Los Angeles to New York City. Clearcutting of tropical mangrove forests to…