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July 21, 2021

Dear Reader,

Just like last year, summer 2021 looks to be a broken record of repeated heat waves and wildfires out West. (And the impacts reach beyond that region, with smoke affecting air quality in the Midwest and Northeast this week.) Recent work, discussed in our lead story, shows that fire activity in the Rockies is outside the bounds of even anomalously warm periods in the past.

Andrea Thompson, Associate Editor, Sustainability

Natural Disasters

Today's Wildfires Are Taking Us into Uncharted Territory

Data on 2,000 years of Rocky Mountain forest fires shows skyrocketing damage

By Rebecca Dzombak


National Park Nature Walks, Episode 9: Inside a Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Here is our next installment of a new pop-up podcast miniseries that takes your ears into the deep sound of nature. Host Jacob Job, an ecologist and audiophile, brings you inches away from a multitude of creatures, great and small, amid the sonic grandeur of nature. You may not be easily able to access these places amid the pandemic, but after you take this acoustic journey, you will be longing to get back outside.

Strap on some headphones, find a quiet place and prepare to experience a humid, salty morning full of birdsong inside the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. 

Catch additional episodes in the series here

By Jacob Job | 27:35


To Save Bats and Their Habitats, We Must Protect the Land Rights of Indigenous People

In the Brazilian Amazon, as in many parts of the world, those who live on the land are best positioned to protect its biodiversity

By Natalia Mesa


Pacific Northwest Heat Wave Killed More Than One Billion Sea Creatures

The massive loss could destabilize local marine ecosystems

By Valerie Yurk,E&E News


Australia's Criticisms of Proposal to List Great Barrier Reef as 'in Danger' Don't Stack Up

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is under pressure from pollution and climate change

By Terry Hughes,Jon C. Day,Ove Hoegh-Guldberg


Thawing Permafrost Is Artificially Chilled to Stabilize Alaska Oil Pipeline

Damage to support structures raises the threat of an oil spill in a delicate ecosystem that would be difficult to clean up

By David Hasemyer,Inside Climate News


China Launches World's Largest Carbon Market: But Is It Ambitious Enough?

Experts welcome the trading scheme, but question whether it is up to the task of helping China achieve its climate goals

By Bianca Nogrady,Nature magazine


Cities Pledge More Green Space to Combat Urban Heat

Four U.S. municipalities—Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle—were among those that signed on

By Daniel Cusick,E&E News


Drought Threatens to Close California Hydropower Plant for First Time

Shutting down the plant, which has run continuously since 1967, would squeeze already tight electricity supplies

By Anne C. Mulkern,E&E News


Space Has Better Internet Than Antarctica, but That Might Change

A proposed fiber-optic cable could make it easier for scientists to transmit crucial climate data

By Chelsea Harvey,E&E News


"The fire is so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it's changing the weather."

Marcus Kauffman, Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson via The New York Times



California Looks to Battle Mega Wildfires with Fire

As flames once again rage across the state, officials embrace a counterintuitive firefighting approach


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