Tag Archives: conservation

8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

Superfoods?are gaining popularity?and for good reason. They directly?support the immune system, reduce?inflammation, support mental health,?pack a nutritional punch,?and boost energy, stamina and longevity.

Here are eight?superfoods that are not only good for you, but also good for the planet:

1. Crickets

Crickets are loaded with protein. They also ?thrive in hotter climates and survive off decaying waste and very little water and space,??Mother Jones?reported.?For this reason, crickets and other insects have?been?hailed?as the ?next climate-friendly superfood.? They can be ground into baking flour or protein powder, and added?to cookies, brownies or?milkshakes.

While eating crickets?or any type of insect for that matter?hasn?t completely caught on in the U.S., it?s making progress. Last year, fast food chain?Wayback Burgers?put out?a fake press release as an?April Fool?s joke?about insect-filled milkshakes, but the idea was so popular that they?rolled out their?Oreo Mud Pie Cricket Protein Milkshake.

Related: Are Your Ready for Cricket Flour Cookies?

2. Pulses

They?re the dried seeds of lentils, beans and chickpeas?and they’re super healthy. They already make up 75 percent of the average diet in developing countries, but only 25 percent in developed ones, according to the UN.

That could all change, though. Pulses contain 20 to 25 percent protein by weight, approaching the protein levels of meat, which average?30 to 40 percent. They also require far less water than meat to produce.

3. Amaranth

?Amaranth is the new quinoa,? trend expert Daniel Levine told?The Huffington Post. It?s a grain-like seed that cooks quickly and can be added to salads, soups and stews. It?s a complete source of protein just like quinoa, and it is loaded with?fiber,?B vitamins and?several important minerals. Additionally, it?s been?shown?to reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

4. Kefir

Kefir?is the trendiest?fermented?food right now (sorry, kombucha and kimchi).?It?s high in nutrients and?probiotics, and is incredibly beneficial for digestion and?gut health.?Many people consider it to be a healthier and more powerful version of?yogurt.

To make it,??grains? (yeast and lactic acid bacteria cultures) are added to cow or goat milk. The concoction ferments over a 24-hour period and then the grains are removed from the liquid.

Related: 10 Vegan Sources of Probiotics

5.?Teff

Sometimes written as tef or t?ef, this pseudo-grain (it?s technically a seed)?has a high nutritional profile and a taste similar?to that of amaranth or quinoa. This?ancient grain?has survived for centuries without much?hybridization or processing.?Like most other ancient grains, it?s high in fiber, calcium and iron.

Traditionally cultivated in?Ethiopia and Eritrea, teff can be grown in a variety of conditions.?Teff ?thrives in both waterlogged soils and during?droughts, making it a dependable staple wherever it?s grown. No matter what the weather, teff crops will likely survive, as they are also relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops,??Whole Grains Council?said.

?Teff can grow where many other crops won?t thrive, and in fact can be produced from sea level to as high as 3,000 meters of altitude, with maximum yield at about 1,800-2,100 meters high,? the council said. ?This versatility could explain why teff is now being cultivated in areas as diverse as dry and mountainous Idaho and the low and wet Netherlands.?

6. Moringa

It?s often called the ?the miracle tree? or the ?tree of life,? according to?TIME. It?s commonly found in?Asian and African countries, and almost every part of it?pods, leaves, seeds and roots?is edible. It?s a?good source?of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and iron. Not only does it pack a nutritional punch, it?s also a?fast-growing, drought-tolerant plant?that is a promising biofuel and medicinal source.

Related: Why Moringa is Known as ‘The Miracle Tree’

7. Kelp

Kelp grows super fast (up to two feet per day), and requires neither freshwater nor fertilizer. ?And rather than contributing to our carbon footprint, as many fertilizers and food sources do, seaweed cleanses the ocean of excess nitrogen and carbon dioxide,??Mother Jones?reported. One kelp?farmer on the Long Island Sound even?claims?he?s?restoring?the ocean while producing a sustainable food and fuel source.

8. Waste-Based Food

This isn?t as weird as it sounds. In order to reduce?food waste, restaurants are finding?creative ways?to use the edible?parts of plants and animals that are often thrown out. Last year, award-winning chef Dan Barber held a?two-week pop-up?at Blue Hill, his restaurant in New York City, where he cooked with spent grain, cocoa beans, pasta scraps and?vegetable?pulp.

Written by Cole Mellino. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.?

Related Stories:

Is Climate Change Making Chocolate Taste Better?
Climate Change is Putting Your Favorite Foods at Risk
How Climate Change is Bad For Our Pets

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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8 Climate-Friendly Superfoods

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The Secret World of Red Wolves – T. DeLene Beeland

READ GREEN WITH E-BOOKS

The Secret World of Red Wolves
The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf
T. DeLene Beeland

Genre: Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: June 10, 2013

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

Seller: Ingram DV LLC


Red wolves are shy, elusive, and misunderstood predators. Until the 1800s, they were common in the longleaf pine savannas and deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. However, habitat degradation, persecution, and interbreeding with the coyote nearly annihilated them. Today, reintroduced red wolves are found only in peninsular northeastern North Carolina within less than 1 percent of their former range. In The Secret World of Red Wolves , nature writer T. DeLene Beeland shadows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pioneering recovery program over the course of a year to craft an intimate portrait of the red wolf, its history, and its restoration. Her engaging exploration of this top-level predator traces the intense effort of conservation personnel to save a species that has slipped to the verge of extinction. Beeland weaves together the voices of scientists, conservationists, and local landowners while posing larger questions about human coexistence with red wolves, our understanding of what defines this animal as a distinct species, and how climate change may swamp its current habitat.

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Trump’s latest executive order will review Bears Ears and other national monuments.

The order, which Trump signed Wednesday, directs the Interior Department to review all national monument designations over 100,000 acres made from 1996 onwards.

That includes between 24 and 40 monuments — notably, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and Mojave Trails in California.

During the review, the Interior Department can suggest that monuments be resized, revoked, or left alone, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said at a briefing on Tuesday. We can expect a final report this summer that will tell us which monument designations, if any, will be changed.

Environmental groups are already voicing opposition. If designations are removed, it could make it easier to eliminate protections and open land to special interests like fossil fuels.

Zinke, a self-proclaimed conservationist, said, “We can protect areas of cultural and economic importance and even use federal lands for economic development when appropriate — just as Teddy Roosevelt envisioned.”

In between further adulations of his hero, Zinke said that he would undertake the “enormous responsibility” with care. “No one loves our public lands more than I,” he said. “You can love them as much — but you can’t love them more than I do.”

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Trump’s latest executive order will review Bears Ears and other national monuments.

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5 Foods with Huge Carbon Footprints

When you bite into a hamburger or enjoy a pile of roast asparagus, do you think about the impact it has on the environment? Well, maybe you should.

See, the food that we eat has an incredible impact on climate change. In fact, agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. What foods we choose to buy, howwe choose to purchase them and how often we consume them matter to global warming.

And not all foods have an equal impact.

Livestock and their byproductsaccount forat least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or51percentof all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. And agriculture is responsible for80-90percentof all United States water consumption. That’s crazy!

Here are the top five offenders.

5 Foods with Huge Carbon Footprints

In 2011, CleanMetrics Corp., a Portland, Oregon-based environmental firm, published a report called “The Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Based on that report, these foods are the most ‘environmentally impactful’ based on their greenhouse gas emissions. (Be sure to check out their methodology in the report itself.)

Each of these foods was studied from a variety of angles: emissions produced before a product leaves the farm (i.e. use of fertilizer and pesticides, irrigation, impact of animal feed) and emissions produced after the product leaves the farm (i.e. food processing, transport, retail, cooking and ultimately waste disposal).

Here are the results, in kilograms of CO2:

1. Lamb – Produces 39.2 kg CO2 during its lifetime.

2. Beef – Produces 27 kg CO2 during its lifetime.

3. Cheese – Produces 13.5 kg CO2 during its lifetime.

4. Pork – Produces 12.1 kg CO2 during its lifetime.

5. Farmed Salmon – Produces 11.9 kg CO2 during its lifetime.

And it’s not just animal products that are the problem.Potatoes produce the most emissions of all protein-rich plants,followed by asparagus, avocados, bananas and eggplant. Most of these require air freight to different parts of the world, because they only grow in warm climates.

What can you do about it?

Every single day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent and one animals life. That’s seriously convincing!

Here’s what I want you to hear most:food is power.You have an incredible amount of influence in the palm of your hand. What will you do with it?

Reducing (or eliminating) your meat intake hasinnumerable benefits. Youll contribute significantly to the causes of conservation and lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and youll look and feel better in the process.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Learn about the impacts of the agriculture industry. Get to know the facts and equip yourself with knowledge.
  2. Don’t feel pressure to change your entire diet in one day. Take it bit by bit. Start by eliminating red meat, then chicken.
  3. Slowly integrate plant-based meals into your weekly routine. Once you have some recipes you know you can count on, phase out the rest.

Alreadyeating a plant-based diet? Make it a point to shop in season and shop local whenever possible, if not always!

Think you can do it? I know you can!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Foods with Huge Carbon Footprints

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Green Travel or ‘Greenwashing’?

Everyone is trying to cash in on the eco-tourism boom. Here are six tips to help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler.

As ecotourism has grown in popularity, many travel providers and hotels have jumped onto the green travel bandwagon while doing little to actually support its sustainable practices and conservation efforts.

Greenwashing claiming to be eco-friendly without making a significant effort to minimize environmental impact occurs in all industries, andtravelis no exception. A hotel chain, for example, might promote itself as green because it allows guests the option of reusing towels or sleeping on the same set of sheets for more than one night. But, according to the University of Oregons Greenwashing Index (GWI), this policy actually does very little to save water and energy where it counts on its grounds, with its appliances and lighting, in its kitchens, and with its vehicle fleet.

There is no internationally recognized group that certifies the environmental practices of the travel industry, so its mostly up to individual vacationers to make their getaways as green as possible. These suggestions can help you be a savvy eco-minded traveler:

  1. Research companiesthat market themselves as being green, advises the GWI. Can you easily find more information about the companys sustainable business practices on its website? Does it have a comprehensive environmental story? Is there credible information to substantiate its green claims? If not, let the buyer beware.
  2. Look for a seal or certification markfrom a recognized, independent third-party organization that specializes in verifying green advertising such as the U.S. Green Building Council or Rainforest Alliance and check with the certifier to verify the companys marketing claims.
  3. Ask tour operators and hotels directlyabout their waste-management operations and conservation policies, as well as the percentage of employees who are local residents and whether they support any projects that benefit the localcommunityor environment.
  4. Avoid tripsthat involve interacting with wild or captive animals, such as riding an elephant or petting a lion cub.
  5. Support local tradespeople and artisans,but dont buy products made from endangered plant or animal species or remove natural features, such as wildflowers, rocks, or shells, from the landscape.
  6. Consider purchasing carbon offsetsto minimize the environmental impact of vacation flights.

Find more tips atwww.responsiblevacation.com.

Written by Maggie Fazeli Fard. This post originally appeared onExperience Life.

Photo Credit: Trekking Rinjani/Flickr

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Here’s What a Zinke-Led Interior Department Will Look Like

Mother Jones

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This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Amid the flurry of Trump administration appointments in recent months, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was one of the less controversial. The former Montana congressman says climate change is not a “hoax” and federal lands should not be transferred to states en masse. His January Senate confirmation hearing went fairly smoothly, with none of the major gaffes or arguments that have plagued other appointees’ hearings. So far, his stated priorities for Interior have been vague but unsurprising: rebuilding trust between the public and the department, increasing public lands access for sportsmen, and improving outdated infrastructure at national parks. But considering the controversial issues embedded in those priorities he’ll soon have to wrangle, the ride won’t stay smooth for long.

Perhaps the biggest questions around Zinke’s Interior are how he will balance a mining and drilling-friendly agenda with habitat conservation and access to public lands, as well as how he will achieve his priorities if President Donald Trump follows through with major budget cuts.

On March 2, his first day in office, Zinke signed two secretarial orders that swiftly reaffirmed his allegiance to the sportsmen community. One order aims to create more access to public lands for hunters and anglers. Sportsmen’s groups like the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have lauded the gesture at a time when an increasing amount of public land blocked off by private landowners who control access points. “Sportsmen access is a huge issue,” says TRCP President Whit Fosburgh, who adds that one of the biggest reasons hunters quit the activity is loss of access.

One way Zinke could increase public land access is to push for more money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund — a repository created by Congress in 1964 to use royalties from offshore oil and gas to protect land and water. “It’s the number one access tool we have in this country,” says Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Director Land Tawney. “Ninety percent of its funds are used on access.” Though Zinke supported permanently reauthorizing the LWCF as a congressman, Congress has kept it chronically underfunded for years.

Zinke’s secretarial order also calls for more emphasis on wildlife conservation, though details were slim. While the hook-and-bullet crowd is pleased with the attention to preserving habitat, another one of Zinke’s priorities may counteract it: energy development. Zinke has supported oil and gas drilling and mineral extraction on public lands. In his confirmation hearing, he said, “President-elect Trump has declared energy dominance to be a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States and that he intends to unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.” Zinke has already opened 73 million offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico for leasing. In the rural West, accelerated energy development could do irreparable harm to wildlife migration corridors and habitat. “That’s what makes us nervous,” Tawney says.

Whether Zinke is able to encourage wildlife conservation will also depend on Interior’s new budget. The Trump administration reportedly wants to cut 10 percent of Interior’s budget for fiscal year 2018. That would mean potentially fewer funds for habitat projects such as restoring streams or clearing invasive species. And at a time when an enormous amount of resources must be dedicated to fighting wildfires, such a budget cut would be devastating. “It’s crazy to think you can keep cutting budgets and be good stewards of the land and be the next Theodore Roosevelt,” Fosburgh says.

Another priority in Zinke’s Interior will be to address the $12.5 billion backlog of needed infrastructure repairs at national parks. The secretary has said he hopes to seek funding through Trump’s anticipated federal jobs and infrastructure bill.

One of Zinke’s top priorities may be one of the most slippery: restoring trust in the Department of Interior among an angry set of Westerners who have deep-seated distrust in federal government. To a large crowd of Interior staffers in DC earlier this month, Zinke portrayed the distrust of his department as a result of managers and rangers lacking the proper tools or authority to make decisions in the field — a problem he vowed to help fix. During his confirmation hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, asked Zinke how he will protect agency employees “in an era where hostility toward federal lands and federal officials is rampant, particularly in rural areas.” Zinke responded: “As someone who has led soldiers in combat, I am committed to the safety of the Department’s employees. I am also committed to restoring trust by freeing up our employees to make decisions and to collaborate with local law enforcement if things get difficult.”

Other issues the new Interior secretary has commented on in recent weeks include Native American rights. Zinke told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs last week that “one thing is very clear: sovereignty should mean something.” The National Congress of American Indians has commended his attention to Native American issues thus far. The secretary also signed an order reversing an Obama administration ban on lead bullets meant to protect California condors, eagles and other scavengers that can be poisoned by such ammunition.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about what a Zinke-led Interior will look like. He has been quiet on how he will combat climate change as the head manager of a fifth of the nation’s landmass, in contrast to his two predecessors, who created climate research centers and pushed renewable energy. Zinke has also said he will conduct a “bold” restructuring of the Interior Department, though details on that are so far nil.

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5 Reasons Why People Don’t Recycle and 5 Reasons They Should

My last post, I Dont Recycle seems to have struck a chord with many. Leave it to the Care2 community to enlighten, elevate and express their opinions on why people do and do not recycle.

Most of us believe that recycling is ethically the right thing to do. From the comments on the post, it was evident that sadly, we all seem to have friends, family and acquaintances that do not recycle. Below are some of the reasons why people do not recycle and why they should:

5 Reasons Why People Do Not Recycle

1. Recycling is inconvenient.
This seems to be the number one reason why people dont recyclethey dont want to put in the extra effort. Some places have no pick-up. Some people say that they just cant be bothered. Is that a good enough reason?

2. I do not have enough space in my home to recycle.
The lack of space is an issue for many. People dont want to see garbage cans with a little storage space for recycling bins on the side; the extra trash is an eyesore. Is that a good enough reason?

3. If they paid me, Id recycle.
Some countries fine people for not recycling. Some regions pay for just bottle recycling (we know that works). Some areas have no penalties or incentives for recycling. Is that a good enough reason?

4. Recycling doesnt make a difference. So why do it?
Misinformation about overflowing landfills, depleted resources and climate change has convinced some people that recycling doesnt make a difference. They believe there is no problem. Is that a good enough reason?

5. It is just to hard to do.
Since there are so many facets to recycling bottle, plastic and paper, its hard to decipher which kinds go where. Is that a good enough reason?

Related: 5 Things You Should Never, Ever Put in Your Recycling Bin


5 Reasons Why People Should Recycle

1. Recycling saves energy.
Recycling saves energy because the manufacturer doesn’t have to produce something new from raw natural resources. By using recycled materials we save on energy consumption, which keeps production costs down.

2. Recycling reduces landfills.
Recycling reduces the need for more landfills. No one wants to live next to a landfill.

3. Recycling preserves our resources and protects wildlife.
By recycling, we reduce the need to destroy habitats for animals. Paper recycling alone saves millions of trees.

4. Recycling is good for the economy.
Recycling and purchasing recycled products creates a greater demand for more recycled goods. Goods made from recycled materials use less water, creates less pollution and uses less energy.

5. Recycling helps our climate problems.
Recycling produces considerably less carbon, which reduces the amount of unhealthy greenhouse gas omissions.

Related: Top 10 Most Important Items to Recycle

Add some more reasons why you do or do not recycle.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Report: Trump Team Wants to Slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Everything Else Except Defense

Mother Jones

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Here’s the latest news on squeezing our bloated government down to size:

Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending. Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned….Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

This is terrifying, of course, but it’s also puzzling. $10.5 trillion over ten years? That’s a trillion dollars a year. If you eliminated the domestic discretionary budget entirely, you’d only save half a trillion bucks. So how do they do it?

Well, we’re told that the proposed budget cuts “hew closely” to a recent Heritage Foundation report, so I went and took a look. The answer, of course, is that the only way to cut that kind of money is to take a meat axe to everything, including Social Security and Medicare. Here’s a chart:

Let’s break this down. How does Heritage manage these whopping cuts? According to a modest little footnote in the appendix on page 165, here’s the answer:

Medicaid: No details. There will be a spending cap, and all mandatory spending will somehow be cut to fit.

Medicare: Increase eligibility age, add a “temporary” premium for Part A, increase premiums for Parts B and D, phase out subsidies for seniors with “significant” income, “reform” cost-sharing arrangements, transition to vouchers premium support starting in 2021.

Domestic Discretionary: Magic spending cap.

Social Security: Increase retirement age, index retirement age so it keeps going up, reduce benefits by adopting chained CPI for inflation adjustments, and “transition the payment to a flat, anti-poverty benefit focused on individuals who need it most,” whatever that means.

In fairness, there’s a bit more detail on the domestic discretionary side. Actually, a mountain of detail: over the course of 140 pages, Heritage recommends cuts to over a hundred programs. These include catfish programs, the Ex-Im bank, climate programs, Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc. etc. Cutting all this stuff might be harder than they expect, since some senator somewhere probably thinks very highly of the USDA Catfish Inspection Program, but I guess they can try. In any case, about 80 percent of the savings come from a small number of programs:

Energy subsidies: $28 billion
Land and Water Conservation Fund: $20 billion
Various HHS/HUD jobs program: $10 billion
Davis-Bacon: $9 billion
Federal Transit Administration: $4 billion
Nine climate programs: $4 billion
Military health care: $4 billion

So there you have it. Slash a bunch of hippy-dippy stuff (clean energy, water conservation, transit, climate); some employment stuff (jobs programs, Davis-Bacon); and military health care spending. Then take a meat axe to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and everything else, and you’re done! Piece of cake.

Perhaps someone should start asking our president-elect if he’s on board with this stuff.

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Report: Trump Team Wants to Slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Everything Else Except Defense

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We’ll Never See These Animals Again

Mother Jones

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If 2016 was a rough year for the animal kingdom, 2017 could be worse. Most scientists agree that we are experiencing a sixth mass extinction, but unlike the previous five that extended over hundreds of millions of years and occurred because of cataclysmic natural disasters, humans are responsible for this one.

Climate change, agricultural expansion, wildlife crime, pollution, and disease have created a shocking acceleration in the disappearance of species. The World Wildlife Fund recently predicted that more than two-thirds of the vertebrate population—mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles—would be lost over the next three years if extinctions continue at the current rate. A 2015 study that appeared in the journal Science Advances suggests that the rate of vertebrate extinction has increased nearly 100 times. Paul Ehrlich, a professor of population studies at Stanford University and a co-author of the study, notes half the life forms that people know about are already extinct. Another study, published in the journal Current Biology, observes that some species are likely becoming extinct before scientists have a chance to discover and classify them. Researchers looking at Brazil’s bird populations found some already so threatened when they were discovered, they went extinct almost immediately. “That we have these examples,” the authors write, “may be by good luck: we will surely have missed many others.”

Scientists have cautioned against making sweeping overall estimates, rather than talking about risks for specific populations. As Duke University professor of Conservation Ecology, Stuart Pimm, observed, even though animal populations are “declining precipitously,” pinpointing exactly how many animals will be gone and the timeframe for their extinction doesn’t capture the complexity of the problem. “It’s bird populations in Europe, it’s fish in the Pacific,Pimm says. “You can’t add those together and come up with a number that makes any sense.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has tried to show the scope of the problem in its Red List, a comprehensive roster of threatened species. Here are some of the highlights, including three species that went extinct last year and others to watch out for in 2017:

The Bramble Car melomys: This small Australian rodent that resembled an ordinary mouse was confirmed as extinct in 2016. It is the first known mammal to go extinct as a result of human-caused climate change. Its habitat on an island in the Great Barrier reef was assaulted by the rise of sea levels, coastal erosion, and flooding—all driven by climate change.

Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog: In 2016, the appropriately named Toughie died in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. He was at least twelve years old, though his exact age is unknown. Toughie and another Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog were collected from Panama in 2005 for research on chytrid fungus, a deadly fungus that has been ravaging amphibian populations in the region. Amphibians, like Toughie, have the highest rate of endangerment, with a third of known species being at risk of extinction. Toughie became the face of the amphibian extinction crisis as visitors to his enclosure knew they were looking at the last of his kind.

Dolphins and porpoises: There has been a lot of alarming news about the ocean recently: A UN report found that ocean acidification is up around 26 percent, and more than half of the sharks and rays in the Mediterranean are at risk of extinction. But, in 2016, with a population of only three, the Irrawaddy dolphin in Laos was declared “functionally extinct.” The announcement came after a World Wildlife Fund survey of Cambodia and Laos determined there were not enough mating pairs for the species to survive. Resembling Flipper—except with a bulbous face instead of a bottle nose—this sea faring mammal’s extinction is blamed on gill nets, a type of netting used by commercial fishermen that trap fish by their gills. Dolphins are caught in the nets and drown.

Vaquita, or “Little cow” in Spanish, is the smallest species of porpoise, and the remaining few live in the Gulf of California. Vaquita are so rare that some people who live on the Gulf don’t believe they exist, according to a recent Vaquita documentary. In May, a Conservation Biology acoustics survey found that there are only 60 left. Now, some have dropped the estimate to fewer than 50. Like the Irrawaddy dolphin, they are victims of gill net fishing.

African Grey Parrot: In December 2016, the International Union of Concerned Naturalists revealed that 11 percent of newly discovered bird species were already threatened and changed the status of others, such as the African Grey Parrot, from “vulnerable” to “endangered.” Highly intelligent and capable of mimicking human speech, the African Grey Parrot’s population has shrunk by as much as 99 percent in some places because of habitat loss and trapping. Perhaps the most famous member of this species was Alex, the subject of intelligence studies at Harvard and Brandeis universities who, when he died in 2007, knew more than 100 English words.

Giraffes: Bad news for the planet’s tallest land creature was announced before the end of 2016: Giraffe populations are plunging in what scientists call a “silent extinction” due to poaching and habitat loss. (The extinction is “silent” because we had largely failed to notice their plummeting population.) Previously, the IUCN’s Red List had given them a “least concern” rating. News that their populations have dropped by as much as 40 percent since 1985 has caused their status to be changed to vulnerable.

Jaguars and most large cats: The protection of all big cats will be important in the coming years, as populations continue to plummet. The African lion population, for example, has dropped 90 percent. At the end of December, a study from the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that the fastest land animal on earth, the cheetah, now only has a worldwide population of about 7,000. That’s down from its population of about 100,000 a century ago. The study attributed the drop to habitat loss: Cheetahs have lost 91 percent of their range.

Large cats are also endangered in our own backyard. El Jefe,” who was named by Arizona school children, is the only known wild jaguar in the United States, but it is an elusive animal whose exact whereabouts are often unknown. In February, the Center for Biological Diversity released a video of the enormous cat slinking through the mountainside in the Santa Rita mountains outside of Tuscon. Randy Serraglio, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity who tracks El Jefe, suggests the animal has likely migrated to Mexico in search of mates. Once there, it faces other dangers from ranchers, who kill jaguars for sport or out of concern for their livestock, Mexican newspapers reported. Back in the US, a Canadian mining company might threaten El Jefe’s habitat by developing a massive open pit copper mine through its territory in Arizona. On top of all that, should Donald Trump actually make good on his proposed border wall, jaguar migratory patterns would be disrupted.

Rhinos: These massive mammals have long been hunted for their horns, which are erroneously believed to have healing properties. The western black rhino is already extinct and there are only three northern white rhino left. There is still a small population of Javan Rhinos in Indonesia, but two other subspecies, one in Vietnam, have also gone extinct. In 2016, numbers showed that the previous year was the worst year ever for rhino poaching. Given the trends, scientists predict that the entire wild rhino population will go extinct between 2021 and 2031. Many of the horns already on the market are fake, and some companies are trying to deal with the crisis by flooding the rhino horn market with 3-D prints of rhino horns, under the dubious assumption that this will make poaching less lucrative. However, some conservationists argue that it could actually make things worse by removing the stigma about using the horn and making it harder for law enforcement officers to track poachers.

Yellow-faced honeybee: Seven species of Hawaii’s yellow-faced bees made it onto the endangered species list last year, but more than a quarter of the bee population in the US is also in trouble. This has potentially devastating consequences for the planet’s food supply: Bees are responsible for pollinating more than a third of the world’s food.

The African elephant: The Endangered Species Coalition reports that the population of the largest land animal in the world—once 10 million strong—has fallen to about 400,000. The Great Elephant Census, a pan-African census that collects data using small planes, reports that the Savannah elephants have lost nearly a third of their population in the last seven years. The population drop is attributed to ivory poaching and loss of habitat. If poaching continues at its current rate, there will be no African elephants in 20 years.

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We’ll Never See These Animals Again

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$1 million will buy you a hunting trip with the Trumps.

That’s according to a Reuters investigation that analyzed blood tests from state health departments and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 1,100 of those communities have lead levels four times as high as those observed in Flint.

Nationwide, the exposure could be much higher: Data was only available for 21 states, accounting for 61 percent of the U.S. population.

The CDC estimates that 2.5 percent of children across in the United States have at least slightly elevated levels of lead, which can lead to lowered IQs, developmental delays, and learning difficulties, as well as miscarriage and premature birth. The local water supply is frequently the source of lead, but some communities are additionally plagued by industrial waste, lead paint, and lead pipes.

On the campaign trail, President-elect Trump vowed to address the nation’s crumbling infrastructure — including the lead crisis — but many of his cabinet picks have a history of combating legislation that protect public health.

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, sued that very agency for using the Clean Water Act to prosecute waterway polluters. According to Pruitt, the Act threatens the “property rights of the average American.” He didn’t mention their brains.

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$1 million will buy you a hunting trip with the Trumps.

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