Environmental news roundup

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A blueberry barren in Maine, after harvest. Blueberry farmers maintain barrens by regular burning, just as the Native Americans did.

Most of the food we eat comes to us through the efforts of bees, wasps, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators, which are under stress around the world. Today’s Science Times has a fascinating article about a trek undertaken by a group of young scientists to find Bombus polaris, the Arctic bumblebee. Their goal is to determine how climate change is affecting the range of this species, which lives farther north than any other bee and has evolved an unusual life cycle to enable it to survive Arctic winters.

Climate scientists and evangelical Christian Dr. Katherine Hayhoe has launched the YouTube channel Global Weirding (her name for global warming) to explain the effects of climate change. Check out the first episode and subscribe to received biweekly updates.

And while you’re considering the effects of climate change, check out a story about the importance of the boreal forest (the forest that circle the glove just south of the Arctic circle) for combating climate change. This forest holds vast amounts of carbon, both in the trees themselves and, surprisingly, in the healthy soil beneath them. Other key stories on the NRDC website give tips for composting and for conserving water. Be inspired to save your leaves this year to use for compost.

To see specific effects of global warming that are happening near you, consult the Union of Concerned Scientists’ HotMap, which pinpoints things like decreased milk production in Lancaster County, PA, beach erosion in Virginia, or rising seas levels that threaten New York City.

This is all very depressing. Let’s end on a positive note. The Mother Nature Network lists 15 positive environmental directives, from protecting fragile ecosystems to raising fuel efficiency standards, that have gone into effect under President Obama’s watch.

And why haven’t the presidential candidates focused on environmental issues in this campaign? Be sure to registrar and vote in November.

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