Savegre Lodge, Costa Rica
Bird of the Day: Green Kingfisher
Ranchito Road Wetlands, Webb County, TX
‘We have money and power’: older Americans to blockade banks in climate protest
Demonstrations at 90 sites are billed as first major action by older activists: ‘It’s not fair to ask 18-year-olds to solve this’
Climate activists across the US will on Tuesday blockade branches of banks that finance fossil fuels, cutting up their credit cards in protest and holding rallies featuring everything from flash mobs to papier-mache orca whales. Unusually for such a spectacle, the protests won’t be led by young activists but those of a grayer hue. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Spotted Thick-knee
Leveraging Guarani Knowhow For Reforestation
Thanks to Jill Langlois and Yale e360:
How Indigenous People Are Restoring Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
The Guarani Mbya people are working to restore the once-vast Atlantic Forest, which has been largely lost to development. Gaining official tenure of their lands, they hope, will boost their efforts, which range from planting native trees to reintroducing pollinators.
It was 2016 when Jurandir Jekupe noticed the bees were gone.
Their nests were once common in Yvy Porã, the Guarani Mbya village where Jekupe grew up and still lives. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Plain-breasted Ground-Dove
The Nature Book, Reviewed
Neither the author of the book, nor Cara Blue Adams who reviews it in the essay below, is familiar in our pages. But it is an essay that evokes familiar themes, so here goes:
Searching for Unfamiliar Terrain in “The Nature Book”
We go to the wilderness to test ourselves against an environment indifferent to our presence. Can this experience be re-created in fiction?
The Wilderness Act, passed in 1964, established the National Wilderness Preservation System to safeguard federally owned land, beginning with 9.1 million acres, called “wilderness areas,” to be “designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition.” Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Yellow-eared Toucanet
Seaweed, Seafood, Plastics & Fodder
After news of the blob coming our way, here is another useful seaweed story in excellent interactive format:
Seaweed Is Having Its Moment in the Sun
It’s being reimagined as a plastic substitute, even as cattle feed. But can seaweed thrive in a warming world?
For centuries, it’s been treasured in kitchens in Asia and neglected almost everywhere else: Those glistening ribbons of seaweed that bend and bloom in cold ocean waves. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Willet
The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt
We have seen its beauty and otherwise tended to feature its positive uses, but not all seaweed is created equal; so, our thanks to Livia Albeck-Ripka and Emily Schmall for this news and analysis:
A Giant Blob of Seaweed is Heading to Florida
The mass, known as the great Atlantic Sargassum belt, is drifting toward the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists say seaweed is likely to come ashore by summer to create a rotting, stinking, scourge.
For much of the year, an enormous brown blob floats, relatively harmlessly, across the Atlantic Ocean. Its tendrils provide shelter and breeding grounds for fish, crabs and sea turtles. Spanning thousands of miles, it is so large that it can be seen from outer space. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Great Grey Shrike
Libraries Old & New
The name Michael Kimmelman is rare in these pages, but in covering one of our favorite topics he gets our full attention again today:
As New York Weighs Library Cuts, Three New Branches Show Their Value
Facing a giant budget deficit, Mayor Eric Adams proposed cuts to New York libraries. But they play an outsize role in the city, offering services and safety.
A city is only as good as its public spaces. The Covid-19 pandemic was another reminder: For quarantined New Yorkers, parks, outdoor dining sheds and reopened libraries became lifelines.
But now Mayor Eric Adams wants to slash funds for parks ($46 million) and for libraries ($13 million this fiscal year, more than $20 million next), and the City Council is debating the dining sheds. The sheds need regulation and the city budget needs to be cut by perhaps $3 billion. That said, if you don’t find the current political conversation shortsighted, you might want to do what I recently did and check out some of the library branches that have opened since the start of 2020. I visited three of them — each one a boon for its neighborhood, and money well-spent. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Golden-cheeked Warbler
Caterpillars, Among Other Insects, More Appreciated
Insects were among the first regular features in these pages, thanks to Milo’s camera and personal interest. There were more when Seth worked in Costa Rica, followed by plenty of articles and editorials of various types, as well as my own discoveries while working outside. Looking back over those, I notice that caterpillars were featured only once, in a post on integrated pest management. So the following is a welcome addition to the mix:
The Little-Known World of Caterpillars
An entomologist races to find them before they disappear.
The Devils River, in southwestern Texas, runs, mirage-like, along the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, through some of the most barren countryside in the United States. Access to the river is limited; unless you’re in a kayak, the only way to travel upstream is along a skein of rutted dirt roads. It was on one of these roads that, a few years ago, David Wagner noticed a shrub that seemed to him peculiarly filled with promise. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Red-capped Manakin
Tranquilo Bay, Panama
Realities Of Rewilding
Rewilding has been a favorite topic in our pages for most of the last decade. We appreciate the nuances, described by Ben Martynoga, in this particular community’s efforts and challenges related to rewilding:
‘The R-word can be alienating’: How Haweswater rewilding project aims to benefit all
On the Lake District’s north-eastern fringe, two farmsteads are restoring the landscape with a commitment to conservation and providing jobs
Until the last male golden eagle died in 2015, Haweswater, on the rugged north-eastern fringe of the Lake District, was England’s final refuge for the bird of prey. “Even now, whenever I go up Riggindale, it feels like something is missing,” says Spike Webb, a long-serving RSPB warden at its Haweswater site. Continue reading
Bird of the Day: Eastern Kingbird
An Insider’s View On Ocean
We thank Jeffrey J. Marlow, Assistant Professor of Biology at Boston University, once again; this time for an essay he just posted on the New Yorker’s website. The news in it is not new, but his take on it is:
The Inside Story of the U.N. High Seas Treaty
A new global agreement protects marine life in parts of the ocean that laws have been unable to reach.
The open ocean, which is home to millions of species and generates much of the oxygen we breathe, is a mostly lawless place. Nations have jurisdiction over waters near their coasts, but the high seas, which begin two hundred and thirty miles from shore, are a first-come, first-served domain: there’s little to stop someone from exploiting marine resources, whether plants and animals in the water or fossil fuels beneath the seafloor. Forty-three per cent of the planet’s surface is vulnerable to unregulated deep-sea drilling, overfishing, and bioprospecting. Continue reading