We could cut atmospheric carbon by 25% by planting a forest the size of the United States

A new study lays out a green (very green), data-driven plan to capture much of our atmosphere's carbon pool.

Image source: Avigator Fortuner/Shutterstock
  • The right trees planted in the right place could have a major impact on climate change.
  • The study identifies .09 billion hectares of available land for the necessary new forests.
  • The new forests would capture 205 gigatons of carbon dioxide.
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Surprising Science

Why failing to preserve biodiversity is a profound disrespect

Here are just two of the practical and philosophical crises surrounding biodiversity breakdown.

  • A loss of biodiversity limits the ways we can use biodiversity to make our world better. Hockfield reminds us that biodiversity is a "bank account" of natural assistance.
  • For example, it is key in producing better crops to feed growing populations. How will we double food productivity (which we must do to survive) when we lose the wild plants we crossbreed agricultural crops with?
  • There is much more to lose than this bank account, however. It is a deep philosophical dilemma that humans have and will continue to wipe out organisms that have struggled their way into existence over the course of 5 billion years.
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Honeybees just had a record winter die-off

2018's winter was particularly harsh on U.S. honeybees. What's causing bee populations to plummet, and what can we do about it?

Photo credit: Damien TUPINIER on Unsplash
  • Since 2006, the Bee Informed Partnership has conducted a survey on U.S. beekeepers. The most recent survey shows that the 2018 winter resulted in the biggest die-off since the survey began, with a loss of 37.7 percent.
  • This die-off is part of a larger trend. Bee populations have been falling for decades.
  • The reasons why are multifaceted and compound on one another.
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Surprising Science

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
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Surprising Science
Photo credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
  • A report from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, found that organic food production leads to higher carbon emissions.
  • This includes livestock as well as vegetables, as organic farming requires no fertilizer usage.
  • Certain types of organic foods are less impactful than others, the researchers note.
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Surprising Science