A firefighting crew works to control a blaze in Sydney, Australia in November.

Australia has always been a dry continent where fire has played an important ecological role. But the latest massive conflagrations there are evidence that a hotter climate has thrust Australia into a new normal where fires will keep burning on an unprecedented scale.

By Fred Pearce

  • Biodiversity

    Native Species or Invasive? The Distinction Blurs as the World Warms

    With thousands of species on the move as the climate changes, a growing number of scientists say that the dichotomy between native and alien species has become an outdated concept and that efforts must be made to help migrating species adapt to their new habitats.

    By Sonia Shah

  • Solutions

    Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health

    A growing body of research points to the beneficial effects that exposure to the natural world has on health, reducing stress and promoting healing. Now, policymakers, employers, and healthcare providers are increasingly considering the human need for nature in how they plan and operate.

    By Jim Robbins

  • YOUNG WRITERS AWARD WINNER

    A River Worth Saving: Who Will Protect the Unheralded Llano?

    The Llano River is an ecological gem in Texas Hill Country, supporting dozens of native and rare plants and animals. But due to weak state environmental protections, the Llano — along with other waterways in Texas — is increasingly facing pressure from industry and development.

    By Austin Price

Energy

The Plastics Pipeline: A Surge of New Production Is on the Way

A world awash in plastic will soon see even more, as a host of new petrochemical plants — their ethane feedstock supplied by the fracking boom — come online. Major oil companies, facing the prospect of reduced demand for their fuels, are ramping up their plastics output.

By Beth Gardiner

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Policy

Why India Is Making Progress in Slowing Its Population Growth

India is soon projected to become the world’s most populous nation, with nearly 1.5 billion people. But behind that statistic lies a more complex reality: Population growth is leveling off in most areas due to rising affluence and advances in women’s education and family planning.

By Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar

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