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The New York Times interactive published a look back at the 2020 fire season in California and its devastating impact on three iconic tree species — the coastal redwood, the giant sequoia, and the Joshua tree. Thousands of them — some of which were hundreds or even thousands of years old — burned in the space of weeks. The story, by John Branch with photos by Max Whittaker, and graphics by Veronica Penney, is visually stunning and poignantly written.
“The enchantment that California’s forests provoke can be scientific or spiritual. For the state’s three famous plant species, it is probably both. The allure stems from each one’s unique blend of size, shape and age. Their heft, their height, their persistence. Their sheer audacity.
They are never found together. Yet they share an uncommon ability to silently stand there and elicit a reaction — gasps, giggles, photographs, memories. How many other trees can attract a crowd?
Resiliency is key to their magnetism. They survive where others would not. They stand their ground, with panache.”
Why This Matters: Fires burned more than 4 million acres in California this year and because of climate change, many scientists believe these trees, which had survived for hundreds of years, will take hundreds of years to come back.
Humans need forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. These ecosystems also provide livelihoods for people, offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion, and mitigate climate change. Unfortunately, a new report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) titled “Deforestation Fronts: Drivers and Responses in a Changing World” reveals that more […]
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s most recent effort to reduce the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has failed, The Washington Post reports. Bolsonaro’s plan to deploy military troops and take illegal mining operations by surprise ultimately failed when miners got wind of it.
Why This Matters: The health of the Amazon rainforest is crucial in the fight against climate change.
This year will be remembered for literally turning the sky red — wildfires in California were so severe that they cast a red pall across large areas of the state — and the photos were the most vivid sign yet that climate change is not some future apocalypse, but is already upon us.
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