Nature

Insects: nature’s underrated pollinators

We often view insects as pests, invading our picnics or homes and sometimes even stinging us. But their ecological importance, although often overlooked, is vast.  Insects are the most common animal on the planet, with 1.5 million species identified. They are the reason that humanity is sustained as we know it – they pollinate many of the flowers, fruits and vegetables that…

Deforestation in Brazil wiping out ancient tree species

An araucaria forest in a conservation area in Brazil where it is safe from deforestation

What’s going on here?  Deforestation in Brazil could wipe out an ancient, Jurassic-era tree species in just 50 years. What does this mean? Brazil’s critically endangered araucaria tree could be gone by 2070 because of illegal logging and deforestation for public works, reports Mongabay. These distinctive, candelabra-like trees (Araucaria angustifolia) once covered an area about double the size of Portugal. Now logging…

Polar heatwaves causing alarm

What’s Going On Here? Last weekend saw heatwaves at both of the planet’s poles. Antarctic temperatures reached record levels, 40 degrees C above normal. During the same period, weather stations in the Arctic recorded temperatures 30 degrees C above normal for this time of year. What Does This Mean? It’s unprecedented for both poles to record such temperatures. The heatwaves have caused…

3 ways that fungi could help us combat our waste and climate crises

A group of small, light brown mushrooms growing up a mossy log in a woodland setting.

From plastic waste to intensive fossil-fuel practices polluting natural environments, we humans have created a lot of mess on our planet. Innovative scientific research has been experimenting with fungi as a potential method of cleaning up our waste. Specifically, mycelium has the potential to help us eat-away at some of the waste we’re leaving behind.   What is mycelium?  Mycelium is essentially the…

Otterly alarming: toxic chemicals found in Britain’s favourite top predator

River Otter sitting on a rock

What’s Going On Here? A recent study revealed high levels of PFASs (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in the livers of otters. PFASs are known as ‘forever chemicals’ as they don’t break down easily. Instead they accumulate in humans and animals and persist in ecosystems. PFASs are powerful chemicals responsible for the grease and water-resistant properties of a variety of products, from non-stick…