Bees

Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world. But they've been linked to the decline of honeybees, which pollinate many food crops. And scientists now say neonicotinoids also harm many terrestrial, aquatic, and marine invertebrates. These pervasive insecticides damage sea urchin DNA, suppress the immune systems of crabs, and affect the tunneling and reproductive behavior of earthworms. They kill off insects that many birds, amphibians, and reptiles rely on for food. "We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT," says Dr. Jean Marc Bonmatin, the lead author of an October 2014 report by the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. DDT was banned in 1972 due to both environmental and human health concerns.

Read more on the Earth Focus blog: "Poison Is Big Business" by Miles Benson

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Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University.

America’s Dirty Secret: Coal Ash

In Juliette, Georgia radioactive water flows from the tap. In Pennsylvania, three adjoining counties battle a rare form of cancer. One thing these communities have in common is their exposure coal ash. Coal combustion powers 40 percent of America’s electricity but generates 130 million tons of coal ash each year. Though it is known to contain carcinogens, coal ash is often dumped in unlined ponds where it leaches into groundwater. There is no federal coal ash regulation on the books—only a patchwork of state level standards.

Toxic Futures: Untold Stories of Chemical Pollution

(Earth Focus: Episode 56) Exposure to toxic chemicals affects people in both the industrialized and developing world. Earth Focus looks at how Toms River, a New Jersey town, fought back to save its drinking water from toxic waste dumping by dye manufacturer Ciba Geigy and by Union Carbide. Then, a look at the new film Amazon Gold, which addresses illegal gold mining in Peru and its tragic impact on human health and the environment.

Arise: Women Protecting The Environment

(Earth Focus: Episode 42) A look at the award-winning film "Arise!" and its documentation of the intellectual and spiritual insights that women from around the world bring to solving today's environmental challenges. Mother/daughter filmmakers Lori Joyce, Candace Orlando, and executive producer Molly Ross reflect on the making of the film.

Vanishing Coral

This installment of the series explores our ocean's coral reefs and the imminent danger they face in the wake of climate change.

Tackling Ocean Challenges

(Earth Focus: Episode 66) Oceans support life, yet they are overfished, polluted, and, with global climate change, are becoming increasingly acidic.