Mountain Gorillas, Wildfires and the Rights of Nature

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

No. 148, Sept. 3, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

There's a dark side to ecotourism. New research shows how watching YouTube videos of people getting too close to, and touching, mountain gorillas motivates other people to want to do the same — which could spread diseases like COVID-19 to this critically endangered species.

Does nature have rights? That question is being put to the test in Ecuador, where Los Cedros Reserve — one of the most biodiverse places on the planet — faces imminent threats from mining. A court case about the "rights of nature" could save it and set a precedent for the planet.

As frightening as wildfires are for people living near them, burned forests create some of the most biodiverse ecosystems. Learn how wildfires benefit many native species.

Why are marine heatwaves getting worse, and can we learn to better predict them? Here's what scientists have discovered.

The 2020 election is just around the corner — check out some of our key environmental coverage from the past four years.

Get ready to howl:

Wolves are in the crosshairs again. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it intends to remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves by the end of the year.

For more on how this developed, check out our 2019 article: "The Trump Administration Pushes to Delist Wolves — and History Repeats Itself."

You can find many more articles about wolves in our archives.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

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

1. "21 States Sue White House Over Rollback of Bedrock Environmental Law" (The Hill)

2. "EPA Relaxes Rules Limiting Toxic Waste From Coal Plants" (The New York Times)

3. "Pruitt's Phone Booth Revealed" (E&E News)

4. "Colorado Considers Oil Well Rules Guarding Against Environmental Racism" (Denver Business Journal)

5. "Back From the Brink, Baby Burmese Roofed Turtles Make Their Debut" (Mongabay)

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts, frontline activists and readers around the world — especially these days, when so much damage is being done behind the scenes, out of the public eye. We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We'll be back after the long weekend with new tales of ecological restoration, mountain lions and a whole lot more.

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

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

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of mountain gorillas by Jonathan Wisner

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