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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Asian Elephants In Peril

Asian elephants, already endangered in Indonesia and Thailand,are threatened further by human encroachment and illegal trade. In Indonesia, just 2,500 Sumatran elephants remain. As their last great forest habitat is being logged to make way for palm oil plantations, elephants are pushed into conflict with local people. In Thailand and Myanmar, an illegal and brutal trade in wild baby elephants is contributing to declining elephant populations.

Food Heroes

"Ground Operations," a new film by Dulanie Ellis and Raymond Singer, shows how farming provides both employment and therapeutic recovery for America's combat veterans. Then, meet organic pioneers from Minnesota and Maryland. Also in this episode, a segment showing how California's Pie Ranch develops an innovative way to bring healthy food to a high tech giant while saving a small family business in the process.

Fracking Goes Global

(Earth Focus: Episode 52) U.S. domestic gas production is on the rise because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Environmentalists say this gas boon threatens water supplies and pollutes air. Now, as fracking expands around the world, so does growing resistance. "Earth Focus" looks at three countries on the new fracking frontline: South Africa, Poland, and the UK.

Tackling Ocean Challenges

Oceans support life, yet they are overfished, polluted, and, with global climate change, are becoming increasingly acidic.

Climate Science In Action

Whether they are researching the pace of Alaskan glacier melt or measuring the impact of Arctic sea ice changes on our our weather, climate scientists go to some of the most remote areas on Earth to help us understand our environment. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) brings scientists and students together annually to study glaciers. Jeff Barbee reports on the 2013 JIRP expedition. Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center looks at the impact changes in Arctic sea ice may have on weather patterns.

Shrimp and Smart Phones: The Toxic Side of Profit

(Earth Focus: Episode 50) This episode of Earth Focus looks at the dark side of shrimp and smart phone industries. Reports from Thailand, Bangladesh, and Indonesia uncover the brutal exploitation of people and the environment for profit.

 

Photo:  M. Yousuf Tushar / Flickr / Creative Commons

  • 2018-01-15T08:30:00-08:00
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