Whale Migration Turns Deadly

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

No. 86, June 27, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

It's been a terrible year for gray whales. So far about 170 dead whales have been found along their West Coast migratory route. Many of them, it turns out, suffered from malnutrition. Is climate change the cause, or could it be something else? Alaskan writer Tim Lydon, who encountered one of the dead whales not far from his home, explores the deadly mystery.

Speaking of deadly, the new book Up in Arms takes a deep dive into the world of range wars and so-called "patriot" militia groups in the West, including the infamous Bundy clan. If you want to understand the threats to America's public lands, this book is essential reading. Check out our interview and review.

Did you know that cigarette butts are the world's most-littered items? Well, some people want to solve that problem and are working on a range of new solutions, including groundbreaking legislation that could hold tobacco companies accountable for their products' waste.

Finally this week, one more great reason to conserve elephants: Frogs love their footprints.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

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

1. President Trump has worked to grease the wheels for a copper mine that would threaten pristine Minnesota wilderness and enrich the owner of a Chilean conglomerate with personal ties to his family.

2. A 2004 hurricane damaged an oil platform owned by Taylor Energy, and it's been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since — 100 to 900 times more oil than the company has claimed, a new report finds.

3. Dozens of peer-reviewed studies by Department of Agriculture scientists uncovered far-reaching impacts from climate change — but they're being buried by the Trump administration.

4. A large number of loggerhead turtles are nesting on the Georgia coast this year, a sign that years of conservation work in the region is paying off.

5. There's still a lot we don't know about our oceans' depths, but a project launched two years ago has increased the mapped area of the ocean floor from 6 to 15 percent, with a goal of 100 percent by 2030.

In case you missed it:

Take a look inside Hawaii's snail extinction crisis.

What should we cover next?

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

Coming up:

Come back to the site tomorrow for a look at the awful government program that's responsible for millions of animal deaths.

After that, stay tuned for some great writing and important stories throughout the month of July. We'll continue our series on floods, keep talking about extinction rates, dive into some forgotten environmental history, look at July's best environmental books, reveal some secrets about koala conservation — and a whole lot more.

Look for our links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We share other interesting news there, too!

As always, thank you for reading.

John R. Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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