If you’ve ever wanted to see wild elephants up close, here's your chance (sort of). Google has partnered with the Save the Elephants research camp in Kenya to create new Street View areas at the Samburu National Reserve, showing where the elephants live. They also made a short film (the trailer is below) about the area, the elephants who call it home and the threats they face. According to google, in a recent two year period alone, more than 100,000 elephants in Africa were killed to obtain their ivory. They write, “Today, a visit to Samburu is a chance not only to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, but also discover a uniquely beautiful landscape where people’s live are interwoven with the landscape’s wildlife.”
You can go here to see the film and explore the park—while looking at images of the actual elephants—all through Google Street View. Discuss
In his 184-page papal encyclical released today, Pope Francis had harsh words for how humanity has treated the earth. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he wrote. "Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain." Encyclicals—papal letters that represent some of the Catholic church’s most important documents—are typically addressed directly to the Catholics around the globe. But this year, the pope had a larger audience in mind, saying the letter was addressed to “every person living on this planet.”
The pope took more than a year to write the encyclical, which was released in at least five languages and cites research from dozens of scientists and scholars. In it, he acknowledged that humans are primarily at fault for the large change in global temperatures. He argued that climate change is having serious consequences, including hurting the poor, and that developed countries have a responsibility to help less developed countries take steps to fight climate change. Slowing down the destruction of the earth will take a “bold cultural revolution,” he argued, which will require people in all areas of society to combat consumerism and structural injustices and practice responsible stewardship.
"We are not God," he wrote, "The Earth was here before us and has been given to us" ... Discuss
A new Living Planet Index report from the London Zoological Society and the World Wildlife Foundation says the world’s populations of wild animals are an average of half the size they were in 1970. The index tracked the populations of more than 10,000 representative populations of species from 1970 to 2010 and showed a bigger decline than previously thought (prior studies estimated that populations had declined by 30 percent). The report sites human consumption—and the resulting habitat loss—as the main reason for the decline. According to the report, there are only 3,000 tigers left in the wild today, as opposed to 100,000 a century ago. And Elephant populations in West Africa are living on about 7 percent of their historic land due to deforestation. You can check out the full report here for more information and ways to get involved to slow the decline ...