On the pull: How the moon could help predict volcanic eruptions

On the pull: How the moon could help predict volcanic eruptions

Brett Ryder By John Pickrell THROUGHOUT history, people have suspected the moon of messing around with life on Earth’s surface. From inducing madness to affecting the growth of plants, most of these connections are as tenacious as they are ill-substantiated. But one area where the moon’s influence cannot be disputed is on the seashore. Long […]

The real palm oil problem: it’s not just in your food

The real palm oil problem: it’s not just in your food

Growing palm has a huge impact on the Indonesian landscapeBay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images PALM oil has become a byword for environmental destruction. Found in food and cosmetics, its growing use is destroying rainforests and endangering species like orangutans. In an effort to turn things around, UK supermarket Iceland pledged last month to halt the use of […]

Are we deluding ourselves when we shop for eco-friendly stuff?

Are we deluding ourselves when we shop for eco-friendly stuff?

Some labels should be taken with a pinch of saltHero Images Inc/Alamy Stock Photo By Fred Pearce When picking goods off supermarket shelves or rummaging the racks in clothing stores, do you check for a logo showing that the product was not made at the expense of the environment? And if so, do you believe […]

Magical regrowth: Kew Gardens opens revamped Temperate House

Magical regrowth: Kew Gardens opens revamped Temperate House

By Stephanie Pain In the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, a heavily laden trolley is heading my way, one man pulling from the front, three more steadying its load. On board is a tree I don’t recognise. It is horizontal, which doesn’t help, but to me it looks a bit like a palm with a Mohican, the stout trunk topped […]

Giant sea spiders sit and wait for prey to knock themselves out

Giant sea spiders sit and wait for prey to knock themselves out

Slow but deadlyTimothy R. Dwyer (PolarTREC 2016), Courtesy of ARCUS By Joshua Rapp Learn Giant sea spiders can only move at glacial speeds, but they are still deadly predators that can catch prey much faster than them. Sea spiders are found throughout the ocean. Despite their name, they are not true spiders but belong to […]

A mix-up means US air pollution is way worse than thought

A mix-up means US air pollution is way worse than thought

US air is getting cleaner, but not as fast as was thoughtGeorge Frey / Bloomberg via Getty By Colin Barras Air pollution levels are falling in the US – but not as rapidly as the US Environmental Protection Agency thinks they are. The US has been reducing its emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon […]

Join NASA’s Operation IceBridge on its icy polar mission

Join NASA’s Operation IceBridge on its icy polar mission

Baffin BayMario Tama/Getty Images Mario Tama/Getty Images By Jon White ONE day soon, much of the icy polar landscape could be water. Among the first people to know will be NASA researchers who monitor the melting ice sheets and frozen seas by flying long missions over them to check their thickness. These vital efforts are […]

Acid lakes may be a false alarm but we can’t afford complacency

Acid lakes may be a false alarm but we can’t afford complacency

Hans Blossey/Getty IN 2003, a scary phrase made its debut in the scientific literature. In a paper in Nature, a couple of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California cautioned that, over the coming centuries, carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels would dissolve in the ocean and make it significantly less alkaline. […]

How can India clean up when all of its waste has an afterlife?

How can India clean up when all of its waste has an afterlife?

Families defend their inherited rights to jobs picking over rubbishReuters/Ahmad Masood By Fred Pearce “WHY is India so filthy?” asks a new book called Waste of a Nation. It wasn’t always – in the old days of rural India, almost everything was biodegradable. Animals and the weather soon dealt with it. Now garbage is everywhere: […]

Cute but dim quolls have been taught to stop eating toxic toads

Cute but dim quolls have been taught to stop eating toxic toads

Quolls can learn new tricks, but seemingly only one at a timeJonathan Webb By Joshua Rapp Learn Conservationists have trained cute endangered quolls to avoid the toxic toads that kill them. Northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) are small marsupials that vaguely resemble ferrets. They live in small patches of northern Australia, and eat a mixed diet. […]