With Christmas just around the corner, and Hanukah underway, many of us are scrambling to buy presents for our loved ones. If there’s someone in your life who is passionate about wildlife or conservation, consider a symbolic adoption. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a birder, ocean lover, or outdoors enthusiast, here are options for nearly every eco interest.!--/end tags-->
Photo: Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
If someone gave me Bird Bingo (Laurence King Publishing, $29.95) as a gift, I could simply stare at it for enjoyment; I wouldn’t even need to play the game. That’s because it’s the most beautiful bingo I’ve ever seen. And it’s a great gift for bird lovers.!--/end tags-->
Photograph courtesy of NASA
Now that the days are getting shorter, our lights burn brightly later into the morning and earlier in the evening. There may be no better visual reminder of where humans live on the planet than a photograph of the earth at night. Cities shine, suburbs twinkle, and the few remaining locales that don’t glow with electricity look both desolate and peaceful. Despite our love of light, so-called light pollution can have detrimental effects to wildlife and humans. That’s why the National Park Service and the International Dark-Sky Association, a nonprofit focused on preserving the night, protecting wildlife, and conserving electricity, have begun to identify dark sky reserves across the world.!--/end tags-->
Birds are singing a happy tune after a doleful disaster. Last Friday, Scotts Miracle-Gro, the company best known for greening lawns across America, was fined $12.5 million for violating the EPA’s pesticide laws: The company illegally applied insecticides to its wild bird food products—insecticides, it turns out, that are toxic to birds. It also falsified pesticide registration documents and distributed pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels.
Amid the barbeques, trips to the beach or lake, baseball games, and various other reasons to head outdoors as summer nears, thoughts of protecting your skin from the sun can easily fall to the wayside. Here are some tips to prevent getting fried, and your guide to safe sunscreens, and those to avoid.
The queen angelfish moves swiftly in an endless pool of pure, blue ocean. The creature’s magenta body passes gracefully over gardens of lush thong weed, bursts of yellow cluster anemone, and fierce spouts of pinkish-colored black coral in a vibrant Caribbean reef. Her caudal fin sways with the current as a colossal striped marlin rushes by. And, in the distance, a pair of black ocellaris clownfish dive past a monstrous barracuda. While witnessing these sights usually requires a plane ticket and scuba gear, with the new social media and graphic art app, theBlu, all you need is a computer.
Launched May 4, theBlu is a global art and entertainment social media application where users can explore miles of digitized ocean. Like the queen angelfish I’ve been following, every species in theBlu is an original work created by an international group of artists, animators, and developers—including Academy Award winners Andy Jones (Avatar) and Kevin Mack (What Dreams May Come). As if the breathtaking graphics weren’t enough, theBlu is also dedicated to saving the same environments it depicts, collaborating with Mission Blue, Ocean Elders, Oceanic Preservation Society, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and WildAid.!--/end tags-->
The name pretty much says it all: Personal energy generator. A new device takes the energy you create through biking, running, even walking and uses it to charge your portable electronics. It can’t do a laptop and only minimally charges an iPad, but it can get an iPhone back to full power. Not too shabby.!--/end tags-->
Electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf have lower greenhouse gas emissions than your typical gas-powered car, but how much lower depends on where you’re plugging in, a new report shows. It all comes down to how clean a region’s electricity grid is: The greener the source of the juice that fuels the EV, the lower the car’s carbon footprint.
Coal-fired power plants, for instance, produce nearly twice the emissions of natural gas-fired facilities, while renewable sources such as wind and solar produce scant emissions.