How to Become a Backyard Naturalist

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

No. 127, April 9, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

Maintaining our relationship with nature is vital during these times of self-isolation. Watching birds and other wildlife in our yards or neighborhoods can give us a much-needed boost — while also helping conservation efforts. Here are some great tips on how to become a backyard naturalist.

Want to know more about how we got to this pandemic and what we can do to protect both wildlife and human health in the future? Conservation icon Russell Mittermeier explores those questions in an essay about what he calls the "human meat market."

New research shows that climate change poses a threat to long-lived California newts — and it's not just about changes in precipitation. Scientists from UCLA fill us in on the danger, as well as what we need to do next.

Can a tree be an "umbrella species," the conservation of which would benefit a wide range of other plants and wildlife? Learn about the amazing dragon's blood tree.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Here are five more stories we're watching this week.  

1. New research finds that those sickened by the novel coronavirus are more likely to die if they live in areas with high levels of air pollution — and not surprisingly, residents of the notorious "Cancer Alley" have some of the highest death rates.

2. Economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis has meant job losses and project delays for wind and solar companies, but experts say the renewables industry is still poised to keep growing in 2020.

3. Four endangered fish species in Colorado's Yampa River could be the beneficiaries of increased water flows anticipated after the planned shutdown of several local coal-fired power plants.

4. With calls for another massive stimulus package, climate advocates make the case for why decarbonizing would be our best investment.

5. Conservation efforts to save endangered red siskins, a South American songbird imperiled by poaching for the pet trade, have been stymied by political collapse in Venezuela.

In case you missed it:

As we look to the future, here are 12 strategies to fight the oil industry and transform our energy system.

What should we cover next?

Tell us about how the novel coronavirus is affecting your community and what you're doing to stay connected while keeping your distance. We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We're digging into ways the pandemic has affected the conservation community and other environmental issues, while continuing to examine the extinction crisis, climate change and other critical topics. Coming soon: a surprising threat to elephants.

Look for our latest links in next Thursday's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live.

As always, thank you for reading — and stay safe.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of goldfinch by Beau Considine

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