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Sustainability

A big boost to Europe’s climate change goals

The bloc aims to become the first carbon-neutral continent. A new policy called CBAM will assist its ambitions — and may persuade other countries to follow in its footsteps.

Toward truly compostable plastic

Materials scientists are cooking up environmentally friendly polymers from natural sources like silk, plant fibers and whole algae. Economics and acceptance remain hurdles.

Losing the connection between the Andes and the Amazon: A price of peace in Colombia

The South American country, where the biodiversity of the Andes meets that of the Amazon, is losing the great natural wealth of some 1,500 square kilometers of forest each year, mainly in areas formerly under guerrilla control

The hidden threat from rising coastal groundwater

OPINION: Sea level rise won’t hit just homes on shorefronts, but also the infrastructure beneath our feet

Indigenous languages are founts of environmental knowledge

Peoples who live close to nature have a rich lore of plants, animals and landscapes embedded in their mother tongues — which may hold vital clues to protecting biodiversity

Forests are under attack from invasive species

OPINION: International commerce and travel bring ecological destruction to the world’s most cherished natural places. We need to do more to stop the assault.

How shade coffee lends conservation a hand

When managed in the right way, the farms that provide our morning brew can be a refuge for plant and animal biodiversity

Why scientists are making transparent wood

Stronger than plastic and tougher than glass, the resin-filled material is being exploited for smartphone screens, insulated windows and more

Green shipping picks up speed

An international treaty aims to bring the shipping industry to net-zero emissions by around 2050. Can novel fuels, wind power and coordination on a global scale get it there?

How wind turbines could coexist peacefully with bats and birds

As wind power grows around the world, so does the threat the turbines pose to wildlife. From simple fixes to high-tech solutions, new approaches can help.

As the climate changes, plants must shift their ranges. But can they?

Lots of them depend on fruit-eating birds and mammals to spread their seeds. But it’s debatable whether the animals — many in trouble themselves — can disperse seeds far and fast enough to keep pace with a warming world.

Leaning into Indigenous knowledge on climate change

Native peoples attuned to the natural world have long collected detailed environmental information. Now scientists are cataloging these observations and learning how they’re affecting Indigenous communities globally.

Does it work to pay people not to cut the forest?

Evidence that the approach helps to save trees, preserve ecosystems and reduce carbon emissions is often hard to come by. But it can succeed if it’s done right, says an economist.

To help birds and insects, cultivate native gardens

Entomologist Doug Tallamy explains how filling our yards with local plants can provide our feathered friends with a caterpillar buffet

The living things that feast on plastic

Scientists are scouring garbage sites around the world for bacteria, fungi and even insects that harbor enzymes that could be harnessed for breaking down various polymers. It’s early days, but if the efforts can be efficiently scaled-up, such biological recycling could put a dent in the plastic waste problem.

The underappreciated benefits of wild bees

Native pollinators are key to both ecology and agriculture, but have yet to get their due

The fight against an invasive fish in California’s Clear Lake

VIDEO: Can removing carp help the lake’s native fish and keep toxic algal blooms in check?  

Reviving a famously polluted California lake

Clear Lake, the state’s largest freshwater body of water, is fouled each year by algal blooms, one of many assaults endured by the battered ecosystem. Can a multipronged plan help it recover?

Abandon the idea of ‘great green walls’

OPINION: The notion of planting miles of trees to hold back encroaching deserts is misguided and damaging; we should promote programs that secure livelihoods and respect dryland ecologies instead

Conservation paleobiology: Eyeing the past to restore today’s ecosystems

Researchers use historic remnants like antlers, shells, teeth and pollen to learn how natural communities once worked. The clues serve as guides for restoration.

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