Ideas & Insight from Explorers

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“Catching air”: Measuring the amount of indoor air pollution we breathe and how it impacts our health

Household air pollution from inefficient cooking and heating with solid fuels (e.g., wood, coal) causes millions of deaths each year. Improving the stoves and fuels people use can potentially reduce exposures to pollution and improve health. This photo essay portrays household air pollution and its impacts on cardiovascular health in rural Chinese communities in the Tibetan Plateau mountains, and the field-work activities of an international team trying to study it….

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Meet the Man at the Nexus of Taipei City’s Environmental Movement

I met Martin at a taco shop in one of Taipei City’s downtown side alleys. My experience with Mexican food in Beijing didn’t bring back fond memories, but this place looked legit. The counter was filled with steel tins of freshly chopped meat and the guacamole looked green (in Beijing it was a strange murky…

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Community Water Systems on the Rise

Water providers, essential to quenching our daily thirst, usually aren’t household names, their logo swooshed across a baseball cap. If we think of them at all, it might be a big city utility. And yet, many urban neighborhoods, and vast stretches of rural areas, are served by tiny, often invisible community operators. In Latin America alone, over 145,000 small community operators serve 70,000,000 people. They are making good – or at least trying to – on the human right to water and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals….

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Days in the Bay of Bengal: Between Dreams and Reality

By Manzura Khan [Note: This is the fourth blog in a series about the WCS-led marine megafauna survey, which is gathering data on whales, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine species inhabiting the coastal waters of Bangladesh. Data from the effort will identify biologically important locations for future consideration as marine protected areas.] In 2011, I was…

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Archive Discoveries: NASA’s Distinguished Service Award for ‘Freedom 7’

During the early days of NASA and height of the space race in the 1960s, the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration loaned two of our staff photographers — Dean Conger and Luis Marden to NASA to document their efforts to send a man into space. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan B….

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Top 25 Backyard Birds

Wild Bird Trust presents the Top 25 Backyard Birds! This week, in honour of the Great Backyard Bird Count, all birds featured are backyard birds. Backyards, or as some say, gardens, are excellent refuges for a wide range of birdlife. In a rapidly urbanising world gardens will become more and more important to sustaining bird…

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Addressing Cumulative Impacts of Climate Change and Development on Freshwater Fish in Northern Ontario

By Cheryl Chetkiewicz Ontario is a Canadian province built on mining and mineral exploration. Over the past two decades, the provincial government has encouraged and facilitated new mines in Ontario’s Far North—a large, remote and largely roadless region that is the homeland for nearly 40,000 First Nations. The “Ring of Fire” mineral belt, located approximately…

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Fossils and Taboos: What to expect when doing paleontological fieldworks in Madagascar

By Tsiory Andrianavalona

Nosy Makamby is a gem for paleontologists working on Miocene sedimentary formations in Madagascar. This small island is geologically rich, its sedimentary layers are very fossiliferous, and our discoveries until now are very encouraging. The proximity of the sea also brings in fresh breezes which are very welcome under the hot sun of August. I do love my job–it allows me to work with amazing teammates and discover my country from North to South. As a scientist, I tend to be objective and rational, but through my paleontological field experiences, I was exposed more than once to unusual situations that are tightly tied to people’s beliefs….

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Cuts for EPA, DOE in Trump Budget Proposal, as Congressional Budget Passes

President Donald Trump’s $4.4 trillion 2019 budget proposal, released Monday, echoed themes from the previous year’s budget priorities: steep cuts to domestic programs with large increases for defense. It outlines leaner budgets across federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Trump’s proposed budget, which was assembled before the…

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What Migrating Songbirds Tell Us About Our Planet

As part of a year of activities to support birds and their habitats, National Geographic, BirdLife International, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the National Audubon Society are convening an event featuring two expert panels to explore how technology is expanding our understanding of migration and how creative new solutions are advancing conservation and policy. Watch a live stream of the discussions here:…

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It always starts with a question: Teaching science in Madagascar

I wrote to you last as a Princeton doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where I studied the transmission dynamics of potentially zoonotic–or human-infecting–viruses carried by Malagasy fruit bats. Disease ecologists like myself use mathematical modeling tools to understand how pathogens persist in finite host populations over time–and to predict when such pathogens are most likely to pass from one individual to another. I wrapped up that PhD a few months ago and started a postdoctoral fellowship with the Miller Institute at UC Berkeley, but I’m still chasing answers to many of the same questions as before….

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Conservation Accomplishment, Travel Adventure

Mexico’s Hidden Garden, the Sierra Gorda You can sum up the key to this Mexican conservation success in one word: “Inclusion.” So says the cofounder of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, the Sierra Gorda Ecological Group. That’s Pati, or more formally, Martha Ruiz Corzo, the charismatic changemaker who has spent much of her life working to…

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About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

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