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The Earth Is Greener Than It Was 20 Years Ago

According to a study released by NASA, the earth is actually a greener place than it was two decades ago, by an area equal to all of the Amazon rainforest.



Earth Greener
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(TMU) – While common horse-sense in the west may suggest that the fast-industrializing Global South would be responsible for making the earth a greyer, more polluted and desertified place, NASA satellites have discovered that the world’s two most populous countries – China and India – are, in fact, making the earth a greener place than it was two decades ago.

Greener Earth

According to the new study released by NASA researchers in the journal Nature Sustainability, global green leaf areas in the world have increased by five percent since the beginning of the new millennium, an area equal to all of the Amazon rainforest.

The researchers relied on a study of maps that revealed the increase or decrease of green vegetation between the years 2000 and 2017. Using two satellites, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, provided high-resolution data and detailed imagery allowing researchers to view the details of the Earth’s vegetation on the level of about 1,600 feet on the ground.

Lead author Chi Chen of Boston University explained:

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9 percent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation … That is a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation.”

A quarter of the new growth occurred in China. Since the mid-1990s, the People’s Republic of China launched an ambitious new project to turn back or ameliorate the effects of rampant pollution, erosion, smog, climate change and deforestation that were unleashed by a mixture of poor regulations and free-market reforms which saw the country become the de-facto “world’s workshop.”

Aiming to conserve and expand its forests, Beijing launched massive tree-planting mobilizations that called on all citizens and soldiers to plant trees as a matter of civic duty, leading to over 40 percent of the country’s greening. Formerly barren land was turned into dense forests, a measure meant to control floods that also soaked up massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

In India, which remains a largely agrarian society, much of the greening was the result of the intensive cultivation of crops. Such agricultural activity accounts for 82 percent of greening in India, versus 23 percent in China. Both countries have boosted their food production efforts to feed their large, urbanizing populations.

While China has been a green leader in the emerging east, India broke records in 2017 when volunteers planted 66 million saplings in about 12 hours.

Reforestation efforts will be crucial in regulating Earth’s carbon cycle and absorbing the fast-increasing carbon emissions resulting from human activities, which are largely driven by the global market’s unchecked and profit-driven pursuit of short-term economic growth, often with no regard for long-term environmental and ecological costs.

And while China’s reforestation efforts and moves to transition toward renewable energy sources have been admirable, the country is still largely reliant on fossil fuels that make the country the biggest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.

Scientists warn that the greening trend could change, or be reversed, due to multiple factors. For example, increased food production in India could grind to a halt if groundwater is depleted or polluted.

In the meantime, the loss of natural vegetation has proceeded apace in tropical regions such as Brazil, the South American Amazon, and Indonesia, impacting the biodiversity and long-term health that make green landscapes sustainable on a long-term basis.

However, the new report does offer a cause for hope to the researchers. Rama Nemani, a co-author of the study and research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said:

“Once people realize there is a problem, they tend to fix it … In the 1970s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss was not good. In the 1990s, people realized it, and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. Thats what we see in the satellite data.”

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Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida



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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son



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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter



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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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