Day 8: This week (1/08/17) in Earth news

The first week in 2017 has been quite an exciting one. Countries are announcing their New Year’s resolutions, NASA is announcing their goals for the years to come, and US journalists are increasingly expressing the urgency in combatting climate change due to the new politicians entering office. The selection of Earth news below is far from complete and is likely to gain additions in the following days.


Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2015. 

  • NASA announced that they will carry out two super cool missions in 2021 and 2023. Both of these will explore asteroids that might hold keys to the early formation of our solar system. The first one, Lucy, will explore the Trojans, which are asteroid-like objects around Jupiter, and the second, Psyche, will explore an asteroid made entirely of metal. Scientists think Psyche might be the exposed core of an old planet.
  • If you like animals like dolphins and spider monkeys, then you’ll be interested in knowing the burning news in the biodiversity world – a new biodiversity hotspot threat map has been created. This map links the consumerism of a particular country and the species which that country’s consumerism affects the most. For example, the consumerist map of the United States is shown below:

s41559-016-0023-f1Source: Moran, D. & Kanemoto, K. Identifying species threat hotspots from global supply chains. Nat. Ecol. Evol. 1, 0023 (2017)

Translating this image with examples: The United States’ coffee-drinking habits have a very damaging effect on the red-faced spider monkey, who lives in Central America. Since the threat is sever, the area where it lives is represented on the map as dark purple. The authors hope that this will illustrate better the fact that our consumer habits are linked to deforestation, habitat degradation and loss in animal life. This video explains the map and shows the links between consumers and endangered species more clearly.




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