Environment

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Postscript,
Carter Roberts

Earth Overshoot Day is the date on which humanity’s demand for natural resources exceeds the earth’s ability to renew them in a year. Last year, we hit that mark on August 20. This year, it comes one day earlier. For the remainder of 2014, in other words, we will be living beyond our planet’s means.

Snapshot,
Pete Ogden

Thanks to a newly proposed pollution rule, the United States is finally on its way toward meeting its Copenhagen emission reduction commitments. The move comes at the perfect time: At the end of next year, global leaders will convene in Paris to conclude the next major round of climate negotiations.

Snapshot,
Sulmaan Khan

On the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau, one sometimes hears a strange chattering -- an excited buzz that seems to emanate from the earth itself. Anyone who stops to look for the source will quickly realize that the ground is marked by a series of holes, from which small, shy creatures are likely to be watching. The labyrinthine burrows made by these mammals, called pikas, provide them security. But they also ensure China's water supply. Here's what their plight says about Chinese conservation efforts.

Snapshot,
John Sfakianakis

As it stands, the mess in Iraq won’t dramatically alter the oil market unless things get far worse inside the country. Iraq has been in trouble for quite some time -- but the world has only just started to pay attention.

Snapshot,
Scott M. Moore

China’s environmental crisis, severe as it is, won’t bring down the communist regime -- its leaders are too clever to let that happen. Instead, they have carefully co-opted China’s growing environmental movement as their own, expanding their own power in the process.

Snapshot,
Carter Roberts

On May 21, the Brazilian government and its partners secured financing for the Amazon Region Protected Areas, or ARPA. This project is the largest tropical forest conservation effort in history; at 150 million acres, it will preserve an area three times larger than all of the U.S. national parks combined.

Letter From,
Jérôme Tubiana

In April 2012, a small team of wandering miners discovered gold in the Jebel Amir hills of North Darfur, Sudan. One of the mines was so rich -- it reportedly brought millions of dollars to its owners -- that it was nicknamed “Switzerland.” Diggers rushed in from all over Sudan, bringing with them guns, gangs, and prostitutes.

Snapshot,
Ricardo Soares De Oliveira

The countries of East Africa are in the early throes of an oil boom, with an unprecedented opportunity for economic development. Unless they avoid the mistakes of those before them, though, the region's governments could easily squander it.

Snapshot,
Alan B. Sielen

There is no shortage of international recommendations, action plans, and other prescriptions for restoring the oceans’ health. The problem is not ignorance but political will. Yet the longer governments and societies delay action, the worse things will get. Here are some things they can start doing now.

Snapshot,
Brahma Chellaney

East Africa is one of the world’s most water-stressed regions. Overexploitation of water resources there has been compounded by declining snowpacks on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. In this light, the discovery of two significant aquifers in mostly arid Kenya has been hailed as a potential game changer.

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