Environment

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Think you live in a clean country? Think again. Yale, in conjunction with Columbia, recently released their annual EPI (Environmental Performance Index). The U.S. dropped 22 spots in just one year (now ranked at 61, compared to…

On Saturday, a modern-day William Tell shot an arrow tipped with four razor blades in Cape Cod Bay. The target? A right whale with rope stuck around its jaw. But because this is 2010, not 1810, the goal was to sever the rope from the ensnared whale, who, according to…

Biologists recently discovered a beaver damin Alberta's remote Wood Buffalo National Park stretching for more than half amile and visible from space, according to backpacker.com. Scientists think the beaversspent over 20 years building their palatial digs from sticks, rocks,and…

Glacier National Park turns 100 tomorrow and is still looking good, states backpacker.com.Glacier was founded exactly 100 years ago on May 11, and to commemorate theevent, the park…

NASA satellite image acquired May 4, 2010. Two weeks after the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, an oil slick lingered not far from the Mississippi Delta. On May 4, 2010, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured…

Mount Margherita (right); photo by sylweczka The ice cap on Mount Margherita, Africa's second-highest mountain, has split. Wildlife authorities in Uganda say the 20-foot-wide crevasse was caused by global warming,…

Outside has a history of covering big environmental disasters. To understand the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it helps to have an understanding of where it stands in the history of oil spills. That's not to say…

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 has ballooned into an environmental and economic issue of extreme importance. What was at first reported as one of the worst oil drilling accidents of the last 50 years has evolved into an economic…

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has found higher numbers of mountain lions passing through urban areas, according to backcountry.com. Using city greenbelts, mountain lions mostly feed…

The conservationists fighting renewable-energy development need to wake up and smell the wind and solar power. Now.

Remember the climate bill? The one that the House passed last year, before all eyes in DC turned to health care reform? Well, it's inching back into the legislative spotlight. A new (and, based on the looks of things today, very weakened) version of the bill could be heard…

Our favorite New Mexico llama/wilderness guide is coming to L.A. Stuart Wilde will lead his team of llamas–of the animal variety–around the city to extol the virtues of walking, in honor of…

Coincidence or high-minded planning? Free National Park week now coincides with 4/20, the counterculture holiday devoted to all things cannabis, according to backcountry.com. So, if you're one to grab the…

An agricultural revolution is in the works in Cuba, aided in part by the scientist and biodiversity researcher Humberto Ríos Labrada. The standard sugarcane monoculture has proven unsustainable, and Labrada saw an alternative: local farms thriving via pre-industrial farming techniques, such as crop…

President Obama began a drive today to both conserve more of America's wild lands, and get Americans to get outside and enjoy it more. It's called the Great Outdoors Initiative. Here is a full transcript of the President's remarks from the conference where…

On Friday, President Obama will be speaking at a conference on the status of America's outdoors—addressing “the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans and American families to the outdoors.” You can watch live Friday morning at 9 am. Eastern time, on the…

Burlington, VT

In a startling discovery, scientists havestumbled upon the first animal that can survive without oxygen, a featthat until now was thought only possible in bacteria, according to treehugger.com. This has a number ofimplications: both regarding the possibility that life may yet adapt tomore severe conditions…

photo by hermanusbackpackers; used under CC license A great white shark near New Zealand has set the world record for deepest known dive for a shark, according to…

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano, dormant for 200 years, began erupting in Iceland last week. While those living nearby have been allowed back into their homes, there's still enough action to…

President Obama’s decision to open up the Southeast Atlantic coast to offshore oil drilling begs the question of how significantly, if at all, ocean tourism and activities like surfing and fishing will be affected. Not surprisingly, environmental groups such as Surfrider oppose the plans, citing the…

The US Mint recently announced the first five quarters in the “America the Beautiful Quarters Program”. The Mint will release five quarters each year until 56 National Parks are represented. This year's…

Park rangers are finding measurablespikes in groundwater bacteria as a result of human waste near popular hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, according to backcountry.com. Thesolution? Handing out free poop bags at the trailhead and asking people to pack it out. The good…

Photograph by Kyle Dickman Environmentalists, supported by the U.S., have won a key victory in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, a 175-nation affair held for two weeks in Doha, Qatar. The…

Last Thursday, I had an early morning flight to San Francisco. I left my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, without my morning coffee but remembered my reusable cup. (I’m patting my back right now, by the way.) The coffee shack at the airport told me if…

Over at The Cleanest Line, Patagonia's do-good blog, you can track the progress of team Rios Libres, a pack of writers (including Greg Childs), photographers, guides and general adventure types who are have traveled to South America in an effort…

I just returned from Thailand where I spent two weeks working with Trip Jennings, one of the athletes feature in this month’s Adventure Issue, on his Elephant Ivory Project. The 27-year-old filmmaker is…

by ltshears Afghanistan recently moved to protect a number of rare species that live within its borders. Among them, the large-billed reed warbler, the markhor, and the Snow Leopard. For those unfamiliar with the snow…

The ban on firearms in the national parks has been lifted as of yesterday. Visitors must still comply with all state laws regarding their firearms, but this is a big day for those who have advocated to carry weapons…

Otero Mesa Otero Mesa, in New Mexico. Photo by Paul Garland; used under CC license The Department of Interior is considering…

With all eyes on Vancouver and the Winter Olympics, the Sierra Club is taking an opportunity to call attention to the environmentally destructive practice of oil sands mining. It has launched a campaign called Love Winter, Hate Oil Sands and partnered with three winter athletes–skier (and…

Between now and the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, athletes will receive a total of 1014 medals. All that bling represents a goodly amount of the Earth's minerals. But this year, and for the first time, a percentage of the metals used to forge…

The Richmond Olympic Oval, the arena for speed-skating at the Vancouver Olympics, is getting a thumbs up from athletes for its environmentally conscious design and its beauty, Reuters reports. The roof was made from…

The Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms in all 50 states for Valentine's Day to underscore how unsustainable human population growth is driving species extinct at a cataclysmic rate,…

We don’t know where this video was taken or how Backpacker found it, but it’s pretty cool. The video features a three-legged black bear and her cub. All is normal until the bear stands up on two legs and walks…

Kick Kennedy The dynastic brothers are gone, but up comes the next generation. Kick, 21, a senior at Stanford, has quietly built a résumé fighting for water conservation. In 2006, she joined an Imax crew filming Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk and became…

Courtesy of Flickr Punxsutawney Phil, a.k.a. Mr. Groundhog of Groundhog Day, has seen his shadow this morning in Pennsylvania, the AP reports. That means six more weeks of winter, so you’ve…

Courtesy of Wikimedia The Kızılot municipality in Turkey's Manavgat district of Antalya has just banned fireworks during the summer to protect loggerhead sea turtles in the area, the Anatolia News…

Portraits from photographer Michael Lavine of the next generation water conservationist.

It seems everyone is a fan of Avatar. Officials in China renamed the Southern Sky Column to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain, according to The Goat. Hallelujah Mountain, of course, is the exact name of the mountain in the film Avatar. Chinese officials,…

Courtesy of Wikimedia E. coli's been the culprit for many a food poisoning, but it turns out the microbe's got some good uses, too. The company LS9, which bills itself as a “renewable petroleum company,” has just made a major breakthrough…

Courtesy of Flickr The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core drilling project, whose goal is to improve scientists understanding of climate change, has just finished pulling up about 75 percent…

As we mentioned in our November issue, Yosemite National Park is a great place to play in winter. But not this weekend: Thanks to El Nino's weeklong onslaught, all roads leading into the park are temporarily closed. Check the park's homepage…

Courtesy of Flickr The U.S. Energy Department has put out a report stating that 20 percent of the electricity demand in homes and businesses in the eastern half of the country could be met with wind…

Wanna stop shark finning? Yao Ming does, too. For a donation of just $100, the organization Stop Shark Finning will put up a billboard in a high-traffic area of China that features Ming and a plea to stop…

Mountaintop removal mining is bad, right? Stephen Colbert doesn't think so. Listen to him argue with Dr. Margaret Palmer, the leading author of an article on the harmful effects of mountaintop removal that appeared in the latest issue of Science.

Courtesy of Flickr Twenty years after the Exxon Valdez supertanker spilled oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound there is still oil around, Nature Geoscience reports. The massive cleanup effort that took place…

Courtesy of LucasTheExperience/Flickr The MGive Foundation has raised more than $4 million for Haiti via its wireless campaign, CNET reports. People have been donating in $10 increments by…

Following Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti, relief organizations are already beginning to raise funds. For those of you looking to donate easily and quickly, donations to the American Red Cross…

Here's an update on the collision between the protest ship Ady Gil and the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru off Antarctica: The crew of the Ady Gil was rescued and uninjured, thanks to the Bob Barker, a…

You can see Arches National Park from the comfort of your chair. Utah 3D has the image. It may take a while to load, but it's worth it. They also have 3D images…

Photograph by Ivan Mlinaric via Flickr The demand for soybeans has grown greatly worldwide–up 14-fold since 1950–which means more of the Amazon rainforest is being cleared to accommodate more crops, EurActiv.com reports. Soybeans are the biggest…

Four Greenpeace activists who crashed a gala dinner for heads of state at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen have been released by Danish police, Reuters…

The powerboat Ady Gil, run by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was cut in two when hit by the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru, which the Ady Gil was protesting. The incident happened at Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, and the six crew…

Photograph by Mike Bowler via Flickr If you happen to live in Bulgaria, you can do something useful with your old Christmas tree–if it came from a forest–instead of throwing it away. You can send it to zoos in the country, where it…

We found this breathtaking video of Crystal Gorge over at Kayak Session. Shot on RED and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the short film is the work of Forge Motion Pictures.

The 7-year-old grandson of Davy Crockett, famous hunter and frontiersman, killed his second bear this month, writes ESPN. Tre Merritt of Dewitt, Arkansas, first made headlines by bagging a black bear that weighed more than 400 pounds when…

Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister presiding over the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, says that the nations present are acting “just like schoolchildren…If they have a very long deadline to deliver an exercise, they will wait for…

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has called for a climate summit for cities and regions like the one in Copenhagen, AFP reports. He offered to host it in his state. “The world’s national governments cannot make…

Research presented at the latest American Geophysical Union meeting points to carbon emissions from Asian cities as partly responsible for the 20 percent decrease in the Himalayan glaciers since the 1960s, Wired.com reports. The video…

Al Gore addressed the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen today, saying that there's no time to waste in taking action, Grist.org reports. He calls for the U.S. Senate to…

African and other developing countries walked out of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, suspending talks on Monday, Reuters and ENN report. They refused to continue discussion without a guarantee that…

Three U.S. Senators have outlined a compromise climate bill in an attempt to win votes for legislation to be passed in 2010, Reuters reports. The House passed a climate bill in June. Other countries have accused the U.S. of being soft…

More than 300 Nepalis, including 100 climbers, protested in Copenhagen to bring international attention to the effects of climate change on the Himalayas, TakePart reports. “It didn’t snow at all during December, January,  and February, when itshould snow heavily, and it…

Danish police have arrested 68 activists who were protesting in street demonstrations in Copenhagen on Friday, Reuters reports. The goal of the protesters was to disrupt corporations and industry lobbyists that they see as “climate criminals” during the…

Last week, tens of thousands of fish were poisoned when officials poured more than 8,000 liters of fish poison into a stretch of water that connects the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan, reports NewScientist.com. The poison, rotenone, was used as…

The UN defends its stance on the role that humans play in climate change, in response to news of leaked emails that purportedly show scientists suppressing evidence to the contrary, Reuters reports. “Nothing that has come out in the public as…

People give when they know it will buy something tangible. We asked directors at five organizations to tell us what donations from $50 to $50K would accomplish.

The former VP talks about his new, solutions-based book.

Forest fires get a bad rap. Too often, with all the focus on the damage they could cause, we forget that they're actually necessary to keep the forest healthy and growing. BBC News explains how the build-up of vegetation can prevent seeds…

He's kinda fat and more than a little rude (and he drinks like a fish). But long-distance swimmer Martin Strel has become the world's most unlikely philanthropist—out to save the world's dirtiest rivers a million awkward strokes at a time.

Hundreds of people showed up at the extInked event in the UK for a chance to get a tattoo of an endangered species, New Scientist reports. Volunteers had to fill out a form explaining why they should be the one to…

The Endangered Species Coalition has just released America’s Hottest Species, a list of the ten animals and plants most susceptible to extinction from climate change. The list includes: Kaua’i/’Akikiki Creeper…

South Africa has to deal with a new type of criminal: baboons who have learned to open car doors and go through windows in search of food, the AP reports. A band of 29 baboons have gone after…

The Environmental Protection Agency did not approve an industry wide request to add more ethanol to the standard fuel mix, despite the fact that most cars are equipped to handle the new ethanol-to-fuel ratio.  The EPA was meant to decide by December 1…

The mercury stops here! (Sort of.)

 ©Daniel Beltrá, courtesy of The Prince’s Rainforests Project and Sony By Mary Catherine O'Connor Some of Daniel Beltrá's photographs are shockingly beautiful, but many are just plain shocking. And…

Yvo de Boer of the UN Climate Change Secretariat says that it will take an initial $10 billion a year from the most economically well-off countries for three years to help developing nations deal with the effects of climate change. “To my…

The Global Carbon Project, based out of the University of East Anglia, led by Corinne Le Quéré, predicts that the Earth's temperature will increase by 6 degreesCelsius by the end of this century.  Research published yesterdayshowed that the ability of natural carbon…

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell is suing the federal government to overturn the listing of polar bears and a threatened species, writes the Associated Press. The governor believes that the Endangered Species Act is being used improperly to shut down petroleum development in…