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conservation

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.

This article originally appeared on 08.23.17


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.

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Science

David Attenborough's remarks after receiving lifetime Champion of the Earth award are a must-watch

Sir David Attenborough says we must see ourselves as citizens of one planet in order to solve our problems.

David Attenborough is an international treasure.

There are few absolutes in this world, but here's one of them: Sir David Attenborough is a priceless human treasure and anyone who disagrees is tragically wrong.

The 95-year-old broadcaster, writer and environmentalist has been educating and entertaining us by producing and narrating documentaries for decades, his soothing voice and gentlemanly British accent creating conservation champions the world over. David Attenborough loves the natural world and he makes others love it too by sharing its wonders and its beauty, in addition to its vulnerabilities due to human activity. His passion makes it nearly impossible to walk away from an Attenborough documentary without a deep desire to do something to protect our planet.

His long life of passionate dedication to conservation is why the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has honored Attenborough with the prestigious Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement award. Having co-created well over 100 documentaries in his life, including recent groundbreaking series such as "Planet Earth," Attenborough has continued his illustrious career well into his 90s. And as the world has careened toward the damaging impacts of climate change, he hasn't let up in his push for humanity to alter our path before too much of that damage becomes irreversible.

“Sir David Attenborough has devoted his life to documenting the love story between humans and nature, and broadcasting it to the world,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“If we stand a chance of averting climate and biodiversity breakdowns and cleaning up polluted ecosystems, it’s because millions of us fell in love with the planet that he showed us on television.”

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Photo by geoff trodd on Unsplash

Manatees, aka "sea cows," are starving to death in Florida so officials are staging an intervention.

Manatees are one of Earth's more oddly beloved creatures. They're cute in a "so ugly they're cute" kind of way, and their bulbous, slowly meandering bodies have earned them the nickname "sea cows." They are a migratory species, and in the U.S. they congregate mainly in the waters of Florida.

Sadly, manatees are also dying at an alarming rate after only being taken off the endangered species list in 2017. During the first nine months of 2021, nearly 10% of Florida's manatee population died—more than double the five-year average. Many of those deaths were due to water quality issues impacting the growth of seagrass, one of the manatee's primary food sources.

Boat strikes, habitat loss and toxic algae blooms also threaten the species, but far too many are dying of simple starvation. According to WUSF, at least 58% of the seagrass in the northern Indian River Lagoon has been lost since 2009, and at least 96% of the Banana River's seagrass is gone. Both river habitats have long served as winter homes for manatees.

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Images from the Australia Zoo and Robert Irwin.

Steve Irwin was just one of those too-good-for-this-world celebrities. For me, he’s right up there with David Bowie, Dolly Parton and Betty White. Though his methods were unconventional, Irwin found his own wild way of bringing the natural world to the masses, with unbridled passion and enthusiasm.

As he wrestled with dangerous beasts, we got up close and personal with some of Mother Earth’s most misunderstood, learning that there’s so much more to love than fear. His moniker might have been The Crocodile Hunter, but he was definitely more of a wildlife warrior.

Steve’s son Robert Irwin recently posted a video to his Instagram, and man, is this kid not only the spitting image of his father, he also honors Steve’s legacy of providing wildlife education and promoting conservation … all while nearly being eaten by a giant reptile. Proving that boldness never really goes out of style.

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