Half of life on Earth has vanished since we arrived on the scene

Half of life on Earth has vanished since we arrived on the scene

There’s a lot less life than there once wasCris Bouroncle / AFP / Getty Images The amount of living matter on Earth has fallen by half since the beginning of human civilisation. This is one of the staggering facts from the most comprehensive global census of the mass of living organisms yet done. “Many things […]

Salvaged plastics imitate bizarre and beautiful sea life

Salvaged plastics imitate bizarre and beautiful sea life

Mandy Barker By Richard Webb THE creatures of the deep take on bizarre and beautiful forms: the straggly jellyfish, the striated oyster in its shell, the gelatinous un-form of the blobfish. But give this image (also featured on our cover) more than a passing glance and you will see that these are not natural creations. […]

Why the UK’s plan to tackle air pollution is mostly hot air

Why the UK’s plan to tackle air pollution is mostly hot air

Air pollution is a growing issueAshley Cooper/Global Warming images/Alamy By Michael Le Page The UK government has today announced plans to tackle sources of air pollution, including trendy wood-burning stoves, but its Clean Air Strategy fails to address the real problem. While pollution from wood-burning stoves is a relatively new problem for the UK – they […]

Chinese giant salamanders may already be virtually extinct

Chinese giant salamanders may already be virtually extinct

Chinese giant salamanders dwarf all other amphibiansAlamy By Andy Coghlan The largest amphibians in the world are on the very brink of extinction. Not only have wild populations of Chinese giant salamanders been decimated, it turns out there are five species rather than one, each with a truly minuscule population. Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) […]

A third of ‘protected’ nature zones are quietly being ruined

A third of ‘protected’ nature zones are quietly being ruined

The Niassa Reserve in Mozambique is supposedly a protected areaJames Allan By Andy Coghlan Roads, farmers, loggers and house-builders are ruining at least one third of the world’s 200,000 protected areas, where nature is supposed to be flourishing. The largest survey to date of human incursion into protected areas found that 32.8 per cent of […]

Someone is wrecking the ozone layer again. They must be stopped

Someone is wrecking the ozone layer again. They must be stopped

Atmosphere sensors have detected a spike in emissions of banned CFCsEye Ubiquitous / Alamy By Lesley Evans Ogden Last year marked 30 years since the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement signed by 197 countries aimed at healing the ozone layer. Heralded as a landmark environmental treaty – the first in UN history to achieve universal […]

Harsh: Europe’s cannabis died just as the first farmers arrived

Harsh: Europe’s cannabis died just as the first farmers arrived

Europe had to do without marijuana for millenniaMatias Planas matiplanas / Alamy Stock Photo By Colin Barras Cannabis – the source of the drug marijuana – grew wild across Europe at the end of the Stone Age, but by the time early farmers reached the continent it was vanishing. It seems Europe’s first farmers just […]

Worst-case climate change scenario is even worse than we thought

Worst-case climate change scenario is even worse than we thought

These lignite-fired power plants are among the largest in EuropeThomas Corzelius / iStock / Getty Images Plus By Michael Le Page The phrase “worse than we thought” is a cliché when it comes to climate change. There are lots of studies suggesting we’re in for more warming and worse consequences than thought, and few saying […]

Fixing planet plastic: How we’ll really solve our waste problem

Fixing planet plastic: How we’ll really solve our waste problem

Stephen Wilkes/Gallery Stock By Aisling Irwin BY NOW, it is just a question of which heart-rending image you choose. There is the hawksbill turtle struggling to free itself from a plastic bag. The sea of polystyrene trash floating over a Caribbean nature reserve. Or the sperm whale washed ashore in Spain, its stomach filled with […]

Fertiliser feeds us but trashes the climate – now there’s a fix

Fertiliser feeds us but trashes the climate – now there’s a fix

Ammonia for fertilizer is usually produced at huge chemical plants like this oneVsevolod Chuvanov/Alamy By Andy Coghlan Feeding billions of people around the globe takes a lot of energy. Much of the carbon cost of this effort comes down to making ammonia, the key ingredient in many fertilisers. To do this, we rely on the […]

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