In Crisis, We Need to Keep Our Eyes Wide Open

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator
White House press briefing

No. 126, April 2, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

We hope you're all doing as well as possible in these alarming and unprecedented times.

The ongoing pandemic demands our constant attention — but there's a lot going on behind the scenes that will affect the planet for years to come. In recent days the Trump administration has quietly continued its attacks against environmental safeguards while public attention is elsewhere. Meanwhile disaster capitalists have lined up to profit off this crisis. That's why, even as we face one of our greatest challenges, we need to keep our eyes open for other threats.

We also need to stay focused on long-term environmental protection. A new book from veteran author Mark Kurlansky explains why helping to save salmon is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and the planet.

Here's an exercise for this time of self-isolation and home schooling: Draw an endangered species from memory, without reference photos. Twenty illustrators tried that — and the results show how quickly the species we've lost can fade from our consciousness. Check out their artistic attempts and then try your own hand at it. We've provided a list of 10 recently extinct species, and we invite you to share your drawings by email or on social media, using #DrawingExtinction.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

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

1. By gutting Obama's most important climate change policy, the Trump administration's new automobile fuel-efficiency rule will pump billions more tons of greenhouse gases into the air, while costing the auto industry 10,000 jobs a year.

2. Stay-at-home orders to fight the novel coronavirus have halted hundreds of field research projects for endangered, threatened and migrating species, including snowy plovers and gray whales.

3. The vast majority of products produced by the plastic industry can't be recycled — but that hasn't stopped the industry from spending millions of dollars telling the American public the opposite.

4. New York state no longer gets any of its power from coal, as the state's last coal-burning power plant shut down this week.

5. Ecuador is home to the world's first Wilderness Quiet Park — a refuge where visitors can be free from human noise.

In case you missed it:

We're getting into spring and people are spending more time by themselves outdoors — which could mean encounters with disease-carrying ticks. We mapped how quickly Lyme disease has spread due to climate change.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world. Tell us about how the 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:

Stuck at home? Nature may still be all around you. We'll offer some tips on how to make the most of it — and help conservation efforts in the process. Also coming soon: bad news for amphibians, a look at one of the world's most amazing tree species, and a whole lot more.

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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