Goodbye, George, the Last of His Kind

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 62, Jan. 10, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

Some sad news this week: A snail named George has become the first extinction of the year. George was the last Achatinella apexfulva, a Hawaiian tree snail species that officially went extinct when he died on New Year's Day. Although he was the last of his kind, George's situation wasn't unique. Hundreds of other Hawaiian snail species have already gone extinct, and those that remain face a precarious future. Read what's being done to save them.

What else will 2019 hold? Over the past few days we've made our predictions for the year ahead. For water, the big issues will include new limits to the Clean Water Act, climate change and our aging infrastructure. For wildlife and endangered species, the major threats include roads and energy development, climate change and the Trump administration. We'll be following all of these issues — and more — throughout the year.

Finally this week, something fun and thought-provoking: We interviewed author Juli Berwald about her book Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Act of Growing a Backbone, which offers an in-depth portrait of the much-maligned but ecologically important jellyfish.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five additional stories we're watching this week.

1. After a U.S. Supreme Court decision, ExxonMobil will be forced to turn over its records on what it knew about the role of fossil fuels in climate change and show whether the company misled investors.

2. New research shows that the EPA's enforcement of environmental laws has fallen substantially across all regions of the United States.

3. Germany turned a big corner in 2018, with more electricity production coming from renewables than coal.

4. It's a different story in the United States where a new report revealed that carbon dioxide emissions spiked last year, reversing a three-year decline.

5. The impacts of the partial government shutdown are mounting: Joshua Tree National Park is temporarily shuttered, environmental cases aren't getting their day in court, climate research is hamstrung, and even weather forecasting has been impaired.

What should we cover next?

Drop us a line anytime. We welcome your ideas and inside scoops.

Coming up:

We have a ton of great stories and essays coming your way, including some important news about groundwater and a look at one of the world's most imperiled wetlands.

Look for links in next week's newsletter. If you don't want to wait that long, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest headlines as they go live. And while you're on social media, we hope you'll share our stories with your friends.

That's it for this week. As always, thank you for reading.

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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