Last week, students across the country discussed the effectiveness of longer prison sentences in our #DoNow3Strikes post. We asked students Do lengthy prison sentences help deter crime? Should voters or legislators be part of determining prison sentences?
Each year, tens of thousands of elephants are being slaughtered due to illegal poaching. Poachers kill elephants for their precious ivory tusks, which are now valued even higher than gold. This past March, over 60 scientists from around the world published a paper titled Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa, which portrays a bleak future for African elephants as a result of this poaching. According to the study, in just nine years the African elephant population has decreased by 62 percent, and African elephants have lost 30 percent of their geographical range. If the current rate of poaching continues, elephants could face extinction in as early as 10 years.
In recent years, scientists have discovered carcasses of frozen woolly mammoths with intact tissues and preserved DNA. With this DNA, and that from other extinct animals, researchers are trying to actually clone the extinct animals and bring them back to life. Current technologies are on the verge of making this possible. So far, the closest we’ve come is to de-extincting the passenger pigeon, thanks to frozen DNA samples and the DNA of its closest relative, the band tailed pigeon.
Wildfires play an important role in a healthy ecosystem. They maintain the ecological integrity by replenishing and rejuvenating the landscape while helping to return nutrients to the soil. At the same time, wildfires can become unwieldy and pose a severe threat to the stability of our communities. After the nation faced massive devastations from unwieldy fires such as the Peshtigo Fire and the Great Fire of 1910, the forest service began implementing strict policies stating that all wildfires were to be quickly suppressed.
Humans have been using artificial light since the invention of the light bulb in the late 1800s. Artificial illumination allows us to stay active after the sun goes down. It helps us drive more safely at night. And some argue that it keeps crime-ridden areas safer. But artificial light also causes its own kind of pollution.
Since 2006, honey bees have been dying at an alarming rate. The event, called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has killed about one third of all honey bees within the US. We depend on honey bees to pollinate crops that we eat every day—apples, cucumbers, blueberries, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots, avocados, almonds, strawberries, soybeans, watermelon, and more. The bees’ services are estimated to be worth $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually in the US alone.
Over the past hundred years or so, the ocean has absorbed the carbon dioxide (CO₂) released into the environment from burning fossil fuels. Absorbing these emissions makes our oceans more acidic. This change in the ocean’s pH level is called ocean acidification.