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Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland.

The Arctic has long been a bellwether of the consequences of climate change, with melting sea-ice, eroding coastlines and species like polar bears and walruses in peril as their habitat melts and changes. It has also been home to a cynical irony—as climate change melted the ice, oil companies rushed into the newly accessible waters in search of oil that would only worsen climate change and continue to hasten the region’s decline. 

But remarkably, in the past six months, the tide appears to be turning:

A gray wolf in North America.

The current U.S. Congress is a minefield for all of our core environmental protection laws, including the Endangered Species Act. More than 80 bills and amendments have already been introduced this year in the U.S. House and Senate to weaken this vital law. And now some members of Congress and their corporate special interest backers are working to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for certain species through must-pass spending legislation.

Oil & gass

America's Natural Gas Alliance, which for years has been plugging its product as climate-friendly, finally got tired of greenwashing and jumped into bed with the notoriously filthy oil industry, which has never bothered to greenwash its product.

Bound together by their common love for fracking—and about a hundred other things—ANGA and the American Petroleum Institute, the respective lobbying groups for the gas and oil industry, will officially merge on January 1. 

Abbot Point, Queensland, Australia. Source:

In the Galilee Basin, a remote part of Queensland, Australia, the Adani Group—a corporate conglomerate headquartered in India—plans to build a coal mine that would be among the largest in the world, known as the Carmichael mine. But that’s not all. To facilitate exporting the coal from this and other proposed mines in the area, the Adani Group plans to expand a port on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.


It has been said that “budgets are moral documents,” and it’s true that you can learn a government’s priorities by studying its spending bills. That’s why it is so distressing to see government budgetary attacks on one of the country’s most widely supported environmental priorities—protecting clean water.

Damselfish swim in Palau's inner lagoon.

This is a guest blog by Megan McCrea, Assistant Travel Editor for Sunset magazine. She grew up in Colorado, graduated from Duke University and spent two years living and working on Kosrae and Palau as a Peace Corps volunteer. Her writing has appeared in print in Sunset, VIA and Diablo magazines and online on, Poetry Flash, VIA's Road Journals and Sunset's Westphoria.


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