Sunday is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:
1. Undiscovered species are still out there: Countless discoveries over the past year reminded us that, despite centuries of research, the planet still has plenty of surprise species in store…..
2. Global warming is already driving up food prices: While many fear that climate change will someday reduce crop yields and cause food prices to rise, a study published last May in Science indicates that this troubling trend has already gotten started. The models used suggest that reduced global yields of wheat and corn are related to global warming…..3. Natural gas is not so great: Although advocates of natural gas argue that it contributes less to climate change than other fossil fuels such as coal, a study published last spring revealed that leakage of methane from newer types of shale gas wells and associated pipelines may be a bigger problem than first assumed….
4. Offshore wind farms are good for biodiversity: Last August, wind advocates welcomed the news that offshore turbines apparently have no negative effect on aquatic ecosystems, and might actually provide new habitats for creatures that live in shallow water…..
5. A fungus causes white-nose syndrome in bats: First discovered in a New York State cave in 2006, the disease has quickly spread to more than 115 bat colonies across North America and has caused mortality rates as high as 90 percent in affected populations…..
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