Farmers in Northern Plains Brace For Drought

Farmers in Northern Plains Brace For Drought

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As summer approaches, the Northern Plains of the United States and the Canadian Prairies, which are the world’s key growing regions for canola and spring wheat, are experiencing a record-breaking drought.  Now, farmers fear that these parched fields won’t yield enough crop to satisfy unusually high demand. This fear […]

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Sea Cucumber is The Latest Victim of Endangered Animal Trade

Sea Cucumber is The Latest Victim of Endangered Animal Trade

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The latest victim of the endangered animal trade is the sea cucumber. These creatures, often the butt of jokes due to their suggestive shape and silly name, have been growing in value for over a decade, and have now been aggressively overfished. Sea cucumbers play a crucial role in their ecosystems and the overall health of […]

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Can An App Predict The Next Pandemic?

Can An App Predict The Next Pandemic?

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

There are about 1.7 million viruses that afflict mammals and birds, and about half of them could potentially infect humans, just like COVID-19, SARS, HIV, and Ebola. But a team of researchers at UC Davis are attempting to help prevent another pandemic from disrupting the world, by creating an app called SpillOver.

Why this Matters:  The scientists creating the app believe that by creating a prioritized watchlist of viruses, we can better have improved detection and thus reduce the risk of disease transmission and maybe even preemptively develop vaccines, therapeutics, and public education campaigns for the viruses that pose the greatest risk.

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Fighting Climate Change and Environmental Justice Score Big Increases in Biden Budget Proposal

Fighting Climate Change and Environmental Justice Score Big Increases in Biden Budget Proposal

The Biden administration released its “skinny” post-election year budget plan for government spending next year and it included large increases for battling climate change and reversing environmental injustice, particularly as compared to the Trump administration’s drastic proposed cuts in these areas. 

Why This Matters: These are big increases over the Trump administration’s proposals — for NOAA it would mean 50% more.  But Congress never enacted those truly skinny budgets — they actually modestly increased or held most environmental spending steady.

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Haaland Met with State and Tribal Leaders to Talk Future of Bears Ears National Monument

Haaland Met with State and Tribal Leaders to Talk Future of Bears Ears National Monument

Days after announcing a $1.6 billion investment into national parks, reserves, and Indigenous schools, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Bears Ears National Monument to speak to Utah state and Tribal leaders about the future of the monument.

Why This Matters: In 2017, the Trump administration reduced the Monument by nearly one million acres and opened the land up to cattle grazing and off-road vehicles.

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Relief Efforts on St. Vincent Undermined By Ongoing Volcanic Activity

Relief Efforts on St. Vincent Undermined By Ongoing Volcanic Activity

The Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent has been experiencing a massive power outage after its largest volcano erupted last Friday, forcing widespread evacuations for the island’s 100,000 citizens. As NBC News reported, La Soufriere’s eruption — its first large one since 1979 — transformed the island’s lush towns and villages into gloomy, gray versions […]

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