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Calen May-Tobin

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About the author: Calen May-Tobin is a lead analyst with the Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative and conducts research on palm-related deforestation and how to reduce the land-use carbon footprint of the palm oil industry. He holds a Master’s degree in ecology from the University of California, Irvine. See Calen's full bio.

The 78%: The Majority of Orangutan Habitat in Borneo is Under Threat

On a recent trip to Chicago, I took some time to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo. The highlight for me was the Great Apes Hall, and while I enjoyed seeing the chimps and the gorillas, they didn’t have the ape I was hoping most to see, an orangutan. It may not be too surprising that there are no orangutans in Chicago in winter, but even in their native habitat they are increasingly difficult to find, as their populations have declined by 50% on Borneo and 80% on Sumatra. A recent paper published in the online journal PLOS ONE helps shed some light on the current distribution of those few remaining wild orangutans. Read More

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Tropical Forests in 2012: A Year in Review

It’s that time of year. Holiday decorations line the streets, days are getting short, and temperatures are falling (well, theoretically at least, it’s still been in the 50’s and 60’s here in Washington). It’s also the time to step back and reflect on what’s happened since the last time the earth was on this side of the sun. Read More

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“Sustainable” Palm Oil Should Not Drive Deforestation

We all know that “sustainable” is a good thing but the word is only as strong as its definition. Right now, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has a huge opportunity to strengthen its definition by adding critical forest and climate protections to its standards. The world is watching and waiting to see if “sustainable” palm oil will be a truly sustainable solution for the future. Read More

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Hurricane Sandy: The Map Is Not the Terrain

Like most of you, I’ve spent the last few days staring at maps. And now that the issue of red and blue states is settled (mostly) for the next few years, I’m turning my attention back to the maps that will have ramifications well beyond the next election. These maps also contain red and blue, but here red indicates evacuation zones or destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and blue marks the extent of storm surge and the slow steady drumbeat of sea level rise. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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What Wood You Do: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Wood Products

I’m writing this post from the back porch of my parent’s house (even on vacation there is no rest for a Concerned Scientist). Away from the glass, steel, concrete, and brick of Washington, DC, here I realize I am immersed in a world of wood. Read More

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UCS Awards Young Scientists for Work Outside of the Lab

I recently returned from the Ecological Society of America in Portland, OR. While I got to attend lots of interesting talks and workshops, and grabbed many a microbrew with my grad school friends and fellow ecologists, the highlight for me, as always, was the work that I got to do with ESA Student Section.  For the last three years, UCS has teamed up with the ESA student section on a number of activities at ESA annual meeting, but our biggest collaboration is the annual UCS ESA-SS Ecoservice award. Read More

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Sally Ride: 1951-2012

Yesterday, the world suffered a great loss with the passing of Dr. Sally K. Ride. Dr. Ride was a brave explorer, passionate educator, brilliant scientist, and complex human being. Her impact and her absence will be long felt. Read More

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Congress: Bad on Lemurs, Bad on Jobs [UPDATED]

Have you heard the news about lemurs? No, I’m not referring to the commercial success of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. This is much, much worse. Read More

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Rio+20: Stopping Short of the Summit

Today is the final day of the Rio+20 summit. The conference officially opened Wednesday afternoon with an opening plenary featuring speeches from the more the 119 heads of state in attendance and major groups including an unequivocal speech by the director of the Climate Action Network International, Wael Hmaidan. Comments like Wael’s were later followed up on Thursday with protests within RioCentro and a massive march in central Rio. Read More

Categories: Energy, Global Warming  

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Rio+20: Where’s the Science?

Yesterday was the official opening of the Rio+20 summit, with heads of state and government ministers descending on RioCentro for the opening ceremony. For all intents and purposes though, the negotiations are over and all that is left is for the politicians to makes statements about the final text. Given that we now have what will presumably be the final text, I decided to take a look and figure out the state of science in the text. Read More

Categories: Energy, Food and Agriculture, Global Warming  

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