Microplastic pollution is everywhere, but scientists are still learning how it harms wildlife

Plastic
Plastic pollution is a growing global concern. Large pieces of plastic have been found almost everywhere on Earth, from the most visited beaches to remote, uninhabited islands. Because wildlife are regularly exposed to plastic pollution, we often ask what effects plastics have on the animals. Over time, macroplastics (plastic debris larger than five millimetres in size) break up into tiny particles called microplastics (smaller than five millimet...
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Despite defeats, the Islamic State remains unbroken and defiant around the world

Islamic State
In a series of bloody campaigns from 2014 to 2019, a multinational military coalition drove the Islamic State group, often known as ISIS, out of much of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that the strict militant theocracy had brutally governed. But the Pentagon and the United Nations both estimate that the group still has as many as 30,000 active insurgents in the region. Thousands more IS-aligned fighters are spread across Africa and Asia, from the...
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When will there be a coronavirus vaccine? 5 questions answered

Coronaviruses
Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 7,000 people and killed at least 170 in China as of Jan. 30, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease. Is there a vaccine under development for the coronavirus? Work has begun at multiple organizations, including...
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Atmospheric river storms can drive costly flooding – and climate change is making them stronger

Atmospheric River
Ask people to name the world's largest river, and most will probably guess that it's the Amazon, the Nile or the Mississippi. In fact, some of Earth's largest rivers are in the sky – and they can produce powerful storms, like those currently soaking the Pacific Northwest. Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture in the atmosphere that extend from the tropics to higher latitudes. These rivers in the sky can transport 15 times the volu...
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Nile Basin states must build a flexible treaty. Here’s how

Nile River
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are a step closer to resolving their disputes over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The dam – a huge project on one of the River Nile's main tributaries, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia – is designed to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Its reservoir can hold more than 70 billion cubic metres of water. That's nearly equal to half of the Nile's annual flow. Filling the immense reservoir w...
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Bushfires: can ecosystems recover from such dramatic losses of biodiversity?

© CSIRO
The sheer scale and intensity of the Australian bushfire crisis have led to apocalyptic scenes making the front pages of newspapers the world over. An estimated 10 million hectares (100,000 sq km) of land have burned since 1 July 2019. At least 28 people have died. And over a billion animals are estimated to have been killed to date. Of course, the actual toll will be much higher if major animal groups, such as insects, are included in these esti...
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China’s ‘sponge cities’ aim to re-use 70% of rainwater – here’s how

sponge-city
Asian cities are struggling to accommodate rapid urban migration, and development is encroaching on flood-prone areas. Recent flooding in Mumbai was blamed in part on unregulated developmentof wetlands, while hastily built urban areas are being affected by flooding across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. This is not a trend only in developing countries; floods in Houston, USA, highlighted the risks of development in environmentally sensitive and low...
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Screen time: Conclusions about the effects of digital media are often incomplete, irrelevant or wrong

Screen Time
There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic. Scientific data, however, often fail to confirm what seems true based on everyday experiences. In study after study, screen time is often not correlated with important effects at a mag...
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Why we’re involved in a project in Africa to promote edible insects

Edible Insects
There is a wealth of indigenous knowledge about capturing and eating insects in sub-Saharan Africa. But the development of edible insects as a food industry has been very slow, despite its many potential benefits. Sustainability is one. Insects have a small carbon and water footprint. Studies show that insect farming emits less carbon and methane gas than large livestock like cattle and pigs. Much less water is needed to produce the same amount o...
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Wildlife are exposed to more pollution than previously thought

Wilderness
Sometimes, pollution is blatantly obvious: the iridescent slick of an oil spill, goopy algae washing up on a beach or black smoke belching from a smokestack. But, more often than not, pollution is more inconspicuous. Our air, water, land and wildlife are tainted with thousands of chemicals that we cannot see, smell or touch. It may not come as a surprise then, that this unnoticed pollution isn't considered the important threat to wildlife that it...
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