Plastic waste on a remote beach in Sri Lanka. Author provided The southern Indian Ocean receives more plastic waste than anywhere else in the world, but no one knows where it goes – until now. Mirjam van der Mheen and colleagues explain. Great areas of our rubbish are known to form in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. But no such “garbage patch” has been found in the Southern Indian Ocean. Our research – published recently in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans – looked at why that’s the case, and what happens to the rubbish that gets dumped in this particular area. … Continue reading Where does all the ocean garbage go?
image edited by F. Kaskais Philosopher Alan Watts thoughts on the the all-pervading presence of nature. by Mike Colagrossi Alan Watts explores the arbitrary distinction between artificiality and what is considered natural. He lays out three unique ways of viewing the world through different world philosophies and sciences. Humanity is not a separate entity from nature, but an intellectual disconnect makes us feel that we are. A lot of times people talk about getting back to nature and connecting with something more primal and real. Often this evokes images of verdant forests, landscapes of unbounded “natural” scenes cascading from all … Continue reading What nature is — according to philosopher Alan Watts
by Vicki Batts (Natural News) Is your favorite outdoor gear contaminating the environment and destroying your health? A shocking new report finds that an overwhelming majority of waterproof clothing manufacturers (and retailers) continue to rely on toxic fluorochemicals to achieve water resistance — even though eco-friendly alternatives are readily available. Researchers from the University of Leeds say that most waterproof products are “over-engineered” for the average consumer, and that fluorochemicals are not actually necessary for waterproofing. Highly fluorinated chemicals are extremely hazardous to the ecosystem and to human health. Research shows fluorochemicals can cause immune system and reproductive system abnormalities, as well as cancer … Continue reading Why do manufacturers and retailers of water-proof clothing keep using fluorochemicals even though they have access to eco-friendly solutions?
DAN KITWOOD / GETTY IMAGES Companies are racing to develop real chicken, fish, and beef that don’t require killing animals. Here’s what’s standing in their way. by OLGA KHAZAN SAN FRANCISCO—The thought I had when the $100 chicken nugget hit my expectant tongue was the one cartoon villains have when they entrap a foreign critter and roast him over a spit: It tastes like chicken.That’s because it was chicken—albeit chicken that had never laid an egg, sprouted a feather, or been swept through an electrified-water bath for slaughter. This chicken began life as a primordial mush in a bioreactor whose dimensions and brand I’m … Continue reading The Coming Obsolescence of Animal Meat
ESTHER AARTS Salmon on psychotropics, platypuses on prozac, and other strange tales from the wild by REBECCA GIGGS What impels small salmon, called smolts, out of their nursery brooks to the ocean? Across thousands of miles, the fish transmogrify from fingerlings into trollish adults—hook-jawed, toothy, and, in the case of many males, humpbacked. Though reversing the journey does not rescind their metamorphosis, the big fish famously return, waggling against currents, vaulting over dams, and pushing together, like a blade, toward the very gravel beds where, years earlier, they hatched. The salmon “pulse,” as some people describe this recurrent migration, is … Continue reading Human Drugs Are Polluting the Water—And Animals Are Swimming in It
Primatologist Frans de Waal takes exception with human exceptionalism. BY STEVE PAULSON ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN HENDRIXMARCH Frans de Waal calls his new book Mama’s Last Hug in reference to an emotional encounter between Mama, a 58-year-old chimpanzee, and Jan van Hooff, an 80-year-old biology professor. Mama is frail and near death when Van Hooff, who had overseen her care for decades, enters her cage at Burgers Zoo in the Netherlands. Mama smiles and Van Hooff bends toward her. She strokes his white hair and drapes one of her arms around his neck, patting the back of his head with her long fingers. … Continue reading Empathy, Morality, Community, Culture—Apes Have It All
Laura Gallant/BuzzFeed The broadcaster talks to BuzzFeed News about his new Netflix show Our Planet, why we need to get off our screens and how there are so many more species on our planet we’ve yet to discover. by Scott Bryan Sir David Attenborough is into the sixth decade of his career. In that time, he has appeared on black and white, colour, high definition, and even 3D television. And, over the decades, has been consistent in educating us about the natural world while also highlighting the grave threats it faces — such as Blue Planet exposing the damage posed by single-use plastics. … Continue reading Sir David Attenborough Urges Young People To Look Up From Their Screens At The “Great Treasure” Of The Natural World