Environment

Our cataclysmic planet

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The AtlanticIf you could have been there, somewhere in Siberia at the end of the Paleozoic Era nearly 252 million years ago, you would have witnessed an apocalyptic horror that rarely visits our planet.
 
Also, I mean, you would have been doomed. Almost certainly. It was a bad scene. Mass extinction is a real shitshow.
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Chile’s new ‘route of parks’ aims to save the wild beauty of Patagonia

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Guardian - The road to Parque Pumalín is festooned with dozens of whitewater waterfalls that slip down the steep cliffs into a thick forest overrun by ferns and plants with leaves as big as beach umbrellas. An active volcano threatens to wipe out the sparse human settlements that are scattered like frontier outposts, often holding populations of fewer than 100 residents. The scenery, however, suddenly changes at El Amarillo, a town of perfect picket fences, exquisitely designed bridges and hand-lettered wooden signs offering help on camping and trekking.
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Historic gift helps Chile protect Switzerland-size land area

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National Geographic News -In an historic ceremony on the edge of South America’s famed Pumalín Park, Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and the American philanthropist Kristine Tompkins today pledged to expand Chile’s national parkland by 10 million acres. In what has been billed as the world’s largest donation of privately held land, Tompkins—the founder, with her late husband, Doug Tompkins, of Tompkins Conservation—plans to hand over to the government slightly more than a million acres. The gift includes the Tompkins’ marquee properties, Pumalín and Patagonia Parks, plus land that will expand two existing national parks (Hornopirén and Corcovado) and one national reserve (Alacalufes), in addition to a collection of lodges, visitor centers, and campgrounds worth tens of millions of dollars. The Chilean government, for its part, will contribute nearly 9 million acres of federally-owned land that has yet to be designated national park.
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Scientists spot hundreds of humpback whales feeding in massive groups

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Smithsonian.com Humpback whales have long been thought of as solitary creatures—they spend most of their time solo, sometimes moving in pods of two or three. But on rare occasions, the creatures meet in the polar regions to feed in what is known as a "supergroup," containing 10 to 15 animals. But new research is challenging the notion of the solitary humpback, detailing several sightings of supergroups with up to 200 animals, reports Mallory Locklear at New Scientist.
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Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F

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Reuters An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday.
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Amazon deforestation, once
tamed, comes roaring back

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New York Times - A few months ago, a representative from Cargill traveled to this remote colony in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in the southernmost reaches of the vast Amazon River basin with an enticing offer.
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Greenpeace launches campaign targeting Chile’s salmon industry

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LAHT Greenpeace’s flagship vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, will travel along Chile’s coast over the next two weeks as part of a campaign targeting salmon farms in the Patagonia region.
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Chile battles devastating wildfires: 'We have never seen anything on this scale'

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GuardianThe world’s biggest aerial firefighting aircraft has joined beleaguered firefighters in Chile as they battle the worst wildfires in the country’s recent history.
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Trump’s presidency means the end of wolves in the American West

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Outside Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, along with the Republican Party’s reign in Congress, will be an unmitigated disaster for the environment. A witch hunt is already underway for federal employees who support the science of climate change. Protections for the 640 million acres of public land you and I own in this country are already being stripped away. Oil and gas extraction on public land is expected to be deregulated, and even coal—a heavily polluting, inefficient energy source the market has rendered obsolete—may see reinvestment. A victim of all of those programs, and even the target of specific GOP plans for eradication? The gray wolf, only recently reintroduced to western states to help check overpopulated elk and deer and restore balance to the natural food chain there.
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2016 was the year solar panels finally became cheaper than fossil fuels. Just wait for 2017

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QuartzThe renewable energy future will arrive when installing new solar panels is cheaper than a comparable investment in coal, natural gas or other options. If you ask the World Economic Forum (WEF), the day has arrived.
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