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Sustainability

A salamander’s dangerous liaisons

The giant genomes of these struggling amphibians tell a story of outsider invasions, assault by disease and cross-species sex. A geneticist explains.

Betting on bats for genetic treasures

Bat genomes are full of clever tricks that are treats for biology and medical science — it’s why scientists want to sequence them all

The dating game: When food goes bad

New technologies to predict spoilage time could slash the massive waste between farm and fork

As the Arctic warms, it’s losing more than just ice

SLIDESHOW: Also at risk are the many hidden habitats built into the sea’s frozen wilds.

Finding the fat: The US Farm Bill and health

America has grown obese on processed, sugary and deceptively cheap foods. Some blame policies enshrined in an unwieldy, bloated beast of legislation.

The quickening pace of global metabolism

The use of raw materials and production of waste rise with development around the world

The marks of extinction

The mass die-offs of Earth’s past may hold clues to our future

Centuries of pondering — and squabbling about — trees

COMIC: Do forests warm or cool the Earth? What’s their effect on global climate change? A comic narrated by polymath Benjamin Franklin describes the evolution of thought on this issue and what we still don’t know.

Unpersuasive: Why arguing about climate change often doesn't work

COMIC: In the US, where political parties have increasingly staked claims on one side of the issue or the other, beliefs may be more about belonging than facts

Has humankind driven Earth into a new epoch?

Our mark on Earth is so profound that some argue it’s time to bid goodbye to the current geological time period — the Holocene — in favor of a new one: the Anthropocene.

The photosynthesis fix

As world food needs rise, so does the need for faster, more efficient plant growth. Bypassing an error-prone enzyme is one way to do it.

The whole food diet for bees

A balanced menu makes for healthy, productive bees — but the loss of wildflowers means that many fail to find the kind of nutrition they need

Climate change can set the stage for violence

Worsened by global warming, drought and other environmental stressors play a role in fanning the flames of civil conflicts

Bumpy air boosts wind power

Turbulence regenerates gust strength between turbines, influencing design of arrays that can pull energy from the sky

Plant, reap, repeat — and now rethink

Replacing the annual farming cycle with perennial crops could be better for soil, water and wildlife