From tiger scat to DNA to — hopefully — survival

Researchers dig out the elusive cats’ genetic material where they can, to guide efforts at conservation and diversity

Amber Dance • knowable
Sept. 17, 2019 ~13 min

genetics living-world food-environment

On whose green Earth?

Are we supposed to take care of the planet or should it take care of us? Willis Jenkins explains how religion shapes the conflicting views over climate change and other environmental issues.

Stephanie Parker • knowable
Sept. 3, 2019 ~15 min

society qa food-environment

Predicting biological invaders

Complex mathematical tools are aiding the battle to identify invasive species before they get a foothold in the environment. But bureaucracy can blunt the techniques.

Leslie Nemo • knowable
Aug. 13, 2019 ~10 min

living-world food-environment

A world in a bottle of water

Revolutionary techniques using traces of environmental DNA are analyzing entire ecosystems “from microbes to whales”

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega • knowable
Aug. 2, 2019 ~14 min

genetics climate-change living-world food-environment

The hidden strengths of freshwater mussels

The humble bivalves can clean polluted water and bump up diversity — but in dammed rivers and fouled watersheds, many species face extinction. With help, maybe they can save themselves.

Sharon Levy • knowable
June 21, 2019 ~16 min

living-world food-environment

Toward greener plastics

Researchers and companies are working on new kinds of biodegradable packaging, bottles and other products that break down like compost.

Marcus Woo • knowable
May 24, 2019 ~9 min

climate-change food-environment

As climate changes, so does life in the planet’s soils

To understand what might be lost, ecologist Janet K. Jansson taps molecular methods to explore Earth’s underground microbes, from the permafrost to the grasslands

Rodrigo Pérez Ortega • knowable
May 17, 2019 ~13 min

climate-change qa living-world food-environment physical-world

A middle path to sustainable farming

Agricultural economists are homing in on hybrid, low-input methods that will both safeguard the environment and feed the future billions

Natasha Gilbert • knowable
May 10, 2019 ~21 min

living-world food-environment

Will the food of the future be genetically engineered or organic? How about both?

Feeding the planet — now and tomorrow — is no small task. Plant biologist Pamela Ronald says sustainability means using every tool in the toolbox.

Rachel Ehrenberg • knowable
May 9, 2019 ~15 min

climate-change qa living-world food-environment

A blizzard of “sustainability” labels

Earth-friendly certifications and standards abound for products like coffee, chocolate and palm oil. But do the programs work?

Jyoti Madhusoodanan • knowable
May 7, 2019 ~16 min

politics society qa food-environment