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Conservation

Honeybees are getting their first vaccine.

Without bees, the human race would be screwed. We rely on those little buggers to pollinate most of the crops that feed most of the world—they're a critical link in the food chain that sustains human existence.

But scientists have been worried about bee populations in recent years, as colony collapse disorder, habitat loss and various bee diseases have threatened the planet's primary pollinators. There's good news for our fuzzy, buzzy friends, however. The world's first honeybee vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help stave off American foulbrood, a deadly disease that's spread through bacterial spores and can take down entire colonies.

So how does a bee colony get vaccinated? Are we talking 50,000 teeny-tiny syringes or what?

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Science

Ethical, lab-grown diamonds are good for your wallet and even better for the planet

They’re identical to traditional diamonds but without the negative environmental and societal impacts of mining.

Image via Unsplash

When you think of diamonds, what comes to mind? For many, the jewels are a sign of opulence and wealth. For others, diamonds are a symbol of love and commitment. But for those who are worried about the planet, diamonds can represent something far more sinister: exploitation and environmental degradation.


Diamond mining, especially in Africa, causes soil erosion, deforestation, and overall ecosystem destruction. And that doesn’t even factor in the human toll. Although the industry has taken steps to improve the situation, African diamond mines are notorious for their low wages and poor working conditions. But despite the negative publicity, global diamond jewelry sales are now worth more than $72 billion annually.

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Photo by Harshil Gudka on Unsplash

Rescue of an elephant and her calf.

We're normally taught to leave nature alone, especially concerning animals big enough to maul or trample us or generally make surviving an encounter an odds game. But sometimes those wild animals need us, and this intense video of veterinarians in Thailand rescuing an elephant and her calf prove just that. On a rainy day in Thailand, a mama elephant and her baby got stuck in a drain before rescuers could get them out.

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Science

eXXpedition sailing crews set out to tackle ocean plastic. Here's how we can all get on board.

The all-women crews of eXXpedition strive to problem-solve the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. But because the problem starts on land, we all have an important role to play—and the tools to make an impact.

Photos courtesy of Sophie Dingwall and Emily Penn/eXXpedition

eXXpedition is on a mission to fight ocean plastic pollution.

What do sailing and STEM fields have in common? For one, both have traditionally been—and largely still are—the domain of men. Sailing is a male-dominated sport, with women making up 16% of all competitors and only 5% of professional competitors in regattas last year. And though women have made big strides in STEM, progress has been uneven and women are still underrepresented in certain fields, including environmental science.

Such underrepresentation is one reason the founders of eXXpedition gather all-female sailing crews with diverse areas of expertise to research ocean plastic pollution. Since 2014, the nonprofit organization has been on a mission to “make the unseen, seen”—the unseen being women in sailing and science, the plastics and toxins polluting our oceans, and the diverse solutions to the problem.

Emily Penn founded eXXpedition after seeing ocean plastic pollution up close while working on a biofuel boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Emily Penn founded eXXpedition to bring women in sailing and ocean plastic pollution into full view.Courtesty of Emily Penn/eXXpedition

“I’d jump into the water to wash and be surrounded by plastic, nearly 1,000 miles from the nearest land,” Penn told National Geographic. “We would then stop at these small islands, and see how they were struggling so much with waste management, especially plastic. And then we'd land on beaches of uninhabited islands that had more plastic on them. After those moments of seeing it first-hand, I just couldn’t really look back.”

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