Richard Conniff, a 2012 Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellow, is a National Magazine Award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in Time
, The Atlantic
, The New York Times Magazine
, National Geographic
, and other publications. A frequent commentator on NPR's Marketplace
, Conniff is the author of several books, including The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth.
More from Richard Conniff
More than half a century after scientist Rachel Carson warned of the dangers of overusing the pesticide DDT, conservative groups continue to vilify her and blame her for a resurgence of malaria. But DDT is still used in many countries where malaria now rages.
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife.
A recent study shows that a surprisingly large amount of the seafood sold in U.S. markets is caught illegally. In a series of actions over the last few months, governments and international regulators have started taking aim at stopping this illicit trade in contraband fish.
From forests in Queens to wetlands in China, planners and scientists are promoting a new approach that incorporates experiments into landscape restoration projects to determine what works to the long-term benefit of nature and what does not.
With a sharp decline in pollinating insects, farmers are being encouraged to grow flowering plants that can support these important insects. It’s a fledgling movement that could help restore the pollinators that are essential for world food production.
As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity. It just may be the start of an urban wildlife movement.
Recent studies in Asia and Australia found that community-managed areas can sometimes do better than traditional parks at preserving habitat and biodiversity. When it comes to conservation, maybe local people are not the problem, but the solution.
With advances in genetic sequencing technology, scientists are now able to readily identify the microbes living in and around the roots of trees. This information is proving to have important implications for everything from tropical forest restoration to climate change planning.
The pangolin does not make headlines the way elephants or rhinos do. But the survival of this uncharismatic, armor-plated animal is being threatened by a gruesome trade in its meat and its scales.
From northern Europe to Florida, highway planners are rethinking roadsides as potential habitat for native plants and wildlife. Scientists say this new approach could provide a useful tool in fostering biodiversity.
Improvements in DNA technology now make it possible for biologists to identify every living organism in and around a species. Scientists say this could have profound implications for everything from protecting amphibians from a deadly fungus to reintroducing species into the wild.
A new census found this winter’s population of North American monarch butterflies in Mexico was at the lowest level ever measured. Insect ecologist Orley Taylor talks to Yale Environment 360 about how the planting of genetically modified crops and the resulting use of herbicides has contributed to the monarchs’ decline.
The concept of pricing ecosystem services and allowing them to be bought and sold has gained wide acceptance among conservationists in recent years. But does this approach merely obscure nature’s true value and put the natural world at even greater risk?
With advances in a technique known as fast-track breeding, researchers are developing crops that can produce more and healthier food and can adapt and thrive as the climate shifts.
Shortly after gaining independence in 1990, Namibia turned ownership of its wildlife back to the people. By using a system of community-based management, this southern African nation has avoided the fate of most others on the continent and registered a sharp increase in its key wildlife populations.
When officials gather for an international summit on biodiversity next month, they might look to remind the world why species matter to humans: for producing oxygen, finding new drugs, making agricultural crops more productive, and something far less tangible — a sense of wonder.
The practice of “commissioning,” in which an engineer monitors the efficiency of a building from its design through its initial operation, just may be the most effective strategy for reducing long-term energy usage, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. So why is it so seldom used?
Stephen Kellert, a social ecologist, is a passionate advocate for the need to incorporate aspects of the natural world into our built environment. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he explains what we can learn from cathedrals, why flowers in a hospital can heal, and how green design can boost a business’s bottom line.
Recent studies show that wildlife in some African nations is declining even in national parks, as poaching increases and human settlements hem in habitat. With the continent expected to add more than a billion people by 2050, do these trends portend an Africa devoid of wild animals?
Environmentalists, utilities, and green businesses are turning to behavioral economics to find innovative ways of influencing people to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. Is this approach really good for the planet or just a fad?
Yale University’s recently opened Kroon Hall is a state-of-the-art model of where the green building movement is headed. Yet even this showcase for renewable energy highlights the difficulties of creating a building that is 100 percent carbon neutral.
In evaluating an economic recovery package, the new U.S. administration and Congress must weigh any proposed spending – on highways or mass transit or wind-power transmission routes – on the basis of clear criteria that would assess just how green the projects will be.
When industry began using NF3 in high-tech manufacturing, it was hailed as a way to fight global warming. But new research shows that this gas has 17,000 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide and is rapidly increasing in the atmosphere – and that's turning an environmental success story into a public relations disaster.
Despite the potential for abuse, the concept of paying others to compensate for our environmental sins can be a valuable tool in helping reduce carbon emissions. But the world can’t simply buy its way out of global warming.
The coal industry and its allies are spending more than $60 million to promote the notion that coal is clean. But so far, “clean coal” is little more than an advertising slogan.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.