Steph Lewis

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Driving a minibus

Working Towards Sustainable Coastal Tourism

Human Journey<p>Photo by Lee Coursey<p>It is a little hard to admit that I was sitting on a plane when I wrote this. I was flying home from a symposium in Grenada that was cosponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), the Grenada Hotel and Tourism …

Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe

Changing Planet<p>Lake Maggiore in Italy is an example of a lake already feeling the effects of climate change. In the 1990s, the population of coldwater fish species such as trout and whitefish declined dramatically. Photo Credit: mbdortmund, Wikimedia Commons.<p>For perspective on how climate change is …

Storms Get Headlines, but Drought Is a Sneaky, Devastating Game-Changer

As California and the American West dry up, a way of life is threatened.<p>If droughts were hurricanes, people might pay more attention to them. Droughts can creep up on us with their prolonged absence of rain, and their effects often are seen as not much more than cracked ground in dry lake bottoms. …

First of Its Kind Map Reveals Extent of Ocean Plastic

There's less than expected on the surface. Scientists are trying to find where in the ocean it's gone.<p>When marine ecologist Andres Cozar Cabañas and a team of researchers completed the first ever map of ocean trash, something didn't quite add up.<p>Their work, published this month in the <i>Proceedings of</i> …

Palau Plans to Ban Commercial Fishing, Create Enormous Marine Reserve

Changing Planet<p>By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown<p><b>The people of Palau, a small island nation in the northwestern Pacific, have long realized that the health and prosperity of their nation depends on the ocean. Because of this realization, Palauans have always worked to protect their ocean resources.</b> …

U.S. Invites Public to Submit Nominations for Marine Sanctuaries

Obama administration hopes to protect more pristine ocean habitat.<p>Ordinary Americans will be able to nominate areas of the ocean off of U.S. land and parts of the Great Lakes to be considered as new national marine sanctuaries, the White House announced Tuesday.<p>"We have the opportunity to galvanize …

Healthy Seas and Healthy Communities: The People of Honduras’ Mesoamerican Reef

Changing Planet<p><i>This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and features the work of our Fellows on iLCP projects and expeditions. Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow</i> …

Penguins That Weathered Past Climate Change Suffer This Time

Three penguin species tolerated a warming climate quite well about 15,000 years ago, but it's a very different story for two of them now.<p>Despite their pot-bellied profile and waddling gait, Antarctic penguins have weathered the challenges of one of the harshest climates on Earth for millennia. …

Efforts to Curb Ivory Trafficking Spreading, but Killing Continues

Stories that put a face on wildlife crime enable solutions, says National Geographic's crime investigator.<p>Ask anyone in America to name an organized crime figure, and chances are they can do it: Al Capone in the 1920s. "Bugsy" Siegel in the 1930s and '40s. John Gotti in the 1970s and '80s.<p>Ask …

Threatened Species 'Red List' Warns 90 Percent of Lemur Species Face Extinction

Slipper orchids are another group with many species in peril.<p>Entire branches of the tree of life are in danger of being wiped out: The majority of species in some groups of plants and animals are now on the "Red List" of the world's most threatened species.<p>The list, which is managed by the …

Ocean Conservation: Is the Tide Finally Turning?

Changing Planet<p>Photograph by Travis Dove/National Geographic Creative<p><b>Fish don’t vote; is that perhaps why the ocean and its problems are a low priority for governments and few politicians see a need to have a public opinion on ocean related issues? The ocean and its myriad of problems generally</b> …

Brazil Leads World in Reducing Carbon Emissions by Slashing Deforestation

Success comes as soy and beef production increased, though threats remain.<p>Brazil's success in slowing rain forest destruction has resulted in enormous reductions in carbon emissions and shows that it's possible to zealously promote sustainability while still growing the economy, suggests a new …

IUCN Red List Stops Wildlife Trafficking

Changing Planet<p>If you’re at all familiar, you know the world of wildlife trafficking is as serious as business gets. Although the case is strong against the morality of trade in threatened species, like trade in illegal drugs, it has a potent financial draw. All over the world people conceal …

World Oceans Day 2014: Together, We Have the Power to Protect the Ocean

Changing Planet<p>A dolphin gets up close and personal with the camera. (Photograph by Matt Weiss)<p>World Oceans Day providesa unique opportunity once a year to honor our world’s ocean that connects us all, and this weekend you can join with people in communities around the world to mark the day in a …

Sold Up The River? Hydro Power Threat Re-Opens Debate

Wildlife & Wild Places<p>Experts agree that the Popa Falls Hydro Power Project on the Okavango River in Namibia will a catastrophic impact on Africa’s soon-to-be newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the world’s largest, wildest inland delta. Namibia is signatory to the Ramsar …

Northern Hemisphere Cracks 400 ppm CO₂ for Whole Month for First Time

Carbon dioxide levels exceeded 400 ppm across the Northern Hemisphere for the entire month of April, a significant climate-change milestone.<p>Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere crossed a significant threshold in April, just weeks after the White House released a major report on the impacts of …

Kruger Elephant Poaching Incident is Not the First in More Than Ten Years

Wildlife & Wild Places<p><b>Researched by Julian Rademeyer</b><p><b>South Africa’s parks authority, SANParks, recently announced that the country’s Kruger National Park had suffered its “first confirmed elephant poaching incident…in well over ten years.”</b><p>News of the incident, which occurred in Pafuri in the …

California Cuts Water to Some Farms and Cities

Severe drought drives new restrictions on use of the Sacramento River.<p>Facing severe drought, California's state water board told hundreds of users of the Sacramento River, including farms and some small cities, that they must stop taking water from the river.<p>The notices are the first such mandatory …

Weird Winter: Is the Pacific to Blame?

Juiced by climate change, warm Pacific Ocean water may have messed up last winter in the Northern Hemisphere.<p>The weird winter from which the Northern Hemisphere has just emerged was caused by a curiously warm western Pacific, a climatologist suggests in today's issue of <i>Science</i>, and not by the …

Oil Drillers' Burning of Natural Gas Costs U.S. Millions in Revenue

New report highlights loss to taxpayers from gas wasted on public land.<p><b>In oil-rich North Dakota, gas flares dot the landscape like city lights, torching natural gas that the industry won't use. The burning flares are a hallmark of a booming U.S. oil industry in which natural gas, a valuable energy</b> …

Inside the Looming Food Crisis

Extreme weather, booming populations make building the food supply a challenge.<p>We don't worry much about food, especially when it is plentiful and cheap. Only when prices rise do we we pay much attention to any potential problems with the food supply. In the United States food has been relatively …

Adventure Science in Antarctica

Changing Planet<p><i>Lisa White started alpine climbing five years ago when a friend asked her to climb Mt. Rainier in her home state of Washington. The ability to experience part of the mountain where few people reach and the sense of accomplishment drew Lisa to mountaineering. Soon she and her husband</i> …

Coral Reefs: the Seawall That Nature Built

Wildlife & Wild Places<p>Wave breaking over a healthy coral reef in Tumon Bay Marine Preserve, Guam, Mariana Islands. Photo credit: Curt Storlazzi, U.S. Geological Survey<p>By Dr. Michael Beck, lead marine scientist, The Nature Conservancy<p>Here’s an optimistic idea for you to consider: We can save our …

Sustainably Delicious: Maine Lobster

Where I live on the coast of <b>Maine</b>, there are two rules: Never touch someone else’s lobster trap, and always support the neighborhood lobsterman.<p>In an overfished world—some 90 percent of bluefin tuna have been wiped out; ditto for many other seafood species—the Marine Stewardship Council has …

The Fate of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe—A Conversation With Sharon Pincott

Wildlife & Wild Places<p>Sharon with the ‘W’ elephant family. (Photograph courtesy NHU Africa)<p><b>Since 2001, Australian Sharon Pincott has been monitoring and protecting a unique population of elephants in western Zimbabwe known as the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe. The herd was given this name</b> …

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Global Winter 66 Million Years Ago

Explosion that killed dinosaurs blanketed skies with ash and unleashed a global "impact winter."<p>The massive asteroid impact that ended the age of dinosaurs some 66 million years ago triggered a decades-long, deadly, global "impact winter," an analysis of ancient sediment confirmed on Monday. …

Federal Climate Assessment Report Pegs Climate Change as Culprit for Rising Temperatures, Seas

Changing Planet<p>A new federal scientific report, out Tuesday, concluded that global warming is affecting the United States in profound ways and that human activity, namely the burning of fossil fuels, is the primary cause of warming over the past 50 years.<p>Mandated by Congress and written by a …

Pacific Northwest's Salish Sea Eyed as Fossil Fuel Gateway

Proposed projects would move oil, gas, and coal through the ecologically sensitive marine area.<p><b>Trains loaded with crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale formation rumble past the outfield bleachers of the Seattle Mariners' baseball stadium several times a week. From there, the trains head</b> …

President Obama Unveils New Climate Actions at Walmart Visit

President targets energy efficiency and green jobs, but not everyone is happy.<p>U.S. President Barack Obama announced a series of executive actions to promote energy efficiency and so-called green jobs on Friday, though some environmentalists said the changes were relatively minor, and took aim at …