Category: green

Coral reefs have existed for over 400 million years!

Yemen has a famously isolated island, Socotra, whose separation from the mainland and varied climate features resulted in the development of many unique flora and fauna. A 1990 biodiversity study found that there are 700 species on Socotra that live nowhere else on earth. And an estimated one-third of its species are unique to the island.

But did you know that Socotra has been occupied by humans for the past 2,000 years? The result is the degradation of its famous biodiversity: the island once featured wetlands and pastures that were home to crocodiles, giant lizards, and water buffaloes. Their homelands have been replaced by sand gullies and the animals who once called the wetlands home have disappeared.

The remaining Socotra fauna are those which can survive in the drier climates. And they are greatly threatened by goats and other introduced species. Many native plants only survive where there is greater moisture or protection from livestock, meaning that continuous human effort is needed to preserve them.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Irish beauty Maureen O’Hara

Created in 1949, Plitvice Lakes Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. The park is centered around is a series of cascading lakes that descend over 1,500 feet before forming the Korana River.

The lakes are a wonderous natural phenomenon. Thanks to minerals and organisms in the water, and the changing angle of the sunlight, the lakes are constantly changing colors. Depending on when and where you are, they can be green, or grey, or a delicate azure. And potentially all three within a few hours.

It’s not just all about the lakes, though. Plitvice is a hotspot of biodiversity. Despite being very close to the Mediterranean, Plitvice is a moderate mountainous climate. Local flora and fauna can be very different in different parts of the park, depending on the altitude, the availability of water, and the local soil conditions.

And did I mention there are caves too? Yeah, Plitvice Lakes is definitely going on my bucket list.

Austria built a fully-functioning nuclear power plant for about 650 million euros, 1978. It was never turned on.

A public movement against the nuclear power plant started, culminating in a national referendum in which 50.47% of the country voted against keeping the plant. It was dismantled in 1985, and in the end, it cost Austrians about 1 billion euros for a power plant that never produced any power.

The City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana, is a massive church. It included a gymnasium for activities and a cafeteria. Built in 1926 in the Gothic Revival style, it was unfortunately closed due to high cost of maintenance and low numbers of visitors in 1975.

In 1997, a large fire that devastated most of downtown Gary destroyed the roof of the church, leaving it open to the elements. The result is what you see today: a beautiful facade being slowly consumed by plants. Although it is technically closed to the public, enthusiastic photographers have found their way in.

Did you know peanuts are a New World plant? They were first domesticated in northwestern Argentina or southeastern Bolivia; the oldest archaeological evidence for peanuts comes from about 7,600 years ago.

For the past 1,500 years, Limahuli Valley on Kauai has been a green haven, a wilderness preserved to exist just as the native Hawaiians experienced it. It is home to plant life unlike anything found in the rest of the world, with many endangered plants thriving in the valley.

Before the arrival of Europeans, “log jams” formed by the accumulation of fallen trees and driftwood on rivers and streams were a common phenomenon across North America.

The most famous, and largest, was the Red River. At its peak, this log jam — known as the Great Raft — extended between 130 and 160 miles, clogging the lower part of the river in what is now Northwest Louisiana and Northeast Texas. It formed sometime around 1000 CE. Its great size made it a natural dam,forcing water over the banks of the Red River and into the valley, creating numerous large and deep lakes. A few even remain today, two centuries after European steam boats removed the Great Raft to allow boats to navigate the river.

One of five species of rhinoceroses, the black rhino has recently been making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts. From a low of 2,500 black rhinos, due to over-hunting and horn poaching, their population has rebuilt to 5,000.

That sounds good until you realize that as recently as 1960, there were about 60,000 black rhinos. That’s a loss of 97.6% of the species since 1960.