Speak Up for Bats — Even in the Pandemic

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

No. 130, April 30, 2020

Hello Revelator readers,

Bats have been unfairly maligned in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as scientist Winifred Frick tells us this week there's really no reason to be afraid of them. In fact, this is an important time to stand up for bat conservation — something that would benefit humans, too.

That's a common theme in this scary new world. As we discuss in our latest video, activities like deforestation, wildlife trade and industrial farming have driven the rise of dangerous new diseases that threaten both animals and human health.

It's hard to think about much besides the pandemic, but there's still a lot of nefarious activity going on behind the scenes — like an attempt by the Trump administration to muzzle activist investors, who have tried for years to push companies like ExxonMobil in more sustainable directions. Will the corporations get their way and silence dissent?

And of course, President Trump continues work on his beloved border wall. But the lands where the United States and Mexico meet aren't the only transnational border under threat. A team of scientists have just issued a call to protect all of the world's borderlands — the final frontiers for many threatened species.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

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

1. Developers have pumped the brakes on plans for a $5.7 billion plant to produce plastic feedstocks in Ohio, the latest crack in the Trump administration's plan to build a petrochemical hub in the region.

2. Climate change is increasing erosion of the Great Lakes shoreline — endangering homes, businesses, the recreation economy and a rare plant named Pitcher's thistle.

3. Scientists and environmental activists are calling a new Michael Moore-produced documentary about the environment "misleading."

4. China faces increasing international pressure to close "wet" markets and permanently ban wildlife consumption, but that only scratches the surface of China's complex wildlife trade.

5. A comprehensive new study provides a more nuanced look at the "insect apocalypse," finding big losses for terrestrial insects overall but some gains for freshwater species.

In case you missed it:

Here are 10 species that climate change could push toward extinction.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world — especially in these uncertain times. We want to hear from you, so please drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

Visit The Revelator tomorrow for a look at five diseases currently threatening the world's wildlife — and find out how humans are often to blame. And stay tuned for an in-depth report on emerging threats in the Southern Hemisphere that will affect the entire planet.

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 lesser horseshoe bats by orientalizing

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