environment, nature, biodiversity, preservations, new years resolutions
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3 New Year’s Resolutions to Help Preserve Biodiversity (Maria)

The author writes, “On Dec. 19, the governments of 196 countries agreed to set aside 30 percent of the earth for wildlife, to slash subsidies to harmful industries, and to cut food waste in half, all in an effort to halt and reverse the collapse of the earth’s biodiversity. But science has shown that government efforts need individuals to help too. ‘Sometimes it can feel like there’s doom and gloom with loss of biodiversity and things like climate change,’ said Elise Zipkin, a Michigan State University ecologist who studies the decline in monarch butterflies, ‘but I actually think there’s a lot of amazing things that can be done.’”

State Officials Warned Buttigieg About Airline Mess (Russ)

From The Lever: “Southwest Airlines stranding thousands of Americans during the holiday season is not some unexpected crisis nor the normal consequence of inclement weather — and federal officials are not powerless bystanders. Before the debacle, attorneys general from both parties were sounding alarms about regulators’ lax oversight of the airline industry, imploring them and congressional lawmakers to crack down. The warnings came just before Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appeared on national television insisting travel would improve by the holidays, and before Southwest executives — flush with cash from a government bailout — announced new dividend payouts to shareholders, while paying themselves millions of dollars.”

Most Hopeful Climate Story of the Year: Cleaning Up the Airline Industry (Russ)

From The New Republic: “Aviation is a major polluter and has missed most targets for reducing emissions. But this year, thanks to years of pressure, companies and policymakers began to change that.”

Tension Soars as Kosovo Shuts Main Border Crossing With Serbia (Sean)

The author writes, “Kosovo closed its biggest border crossing with Serbia, police said Wednesday, after Serbs set up more barricades on their side in one of the region’s worst crises in years. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but Belgrade has refused to recognize it and encouraged Kosovo’s 120,000 ethnic Serbs to defy Pristina’s authority — especially in the north where ethnic Serbs make up the majority.”

It’s Been a Tough Year for Transgender Medicine (Mili)

From MedPage Today: “Last month, testimony wrapped up in a trial focused on Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care, and advocates are eagerly awaiting a verdict. The Arkansas ban was the first in the nation to prohibit physicians from administering hormone therapy or puberty blockers to transgender youths under age 18, and several other states have since enacted similar bans or have taken other measures to restrict access to care for transgender youths. The year also brought additional controversy for the field of transgender medicine — including threats against hospitals that provide such care, and even dissent within the community itself about the right path forward for treating kids with gender dysphoria.”

Staff Gives South Dakota Governor Flamethrower for Christmas (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem got a hot Christmas gift from her staff — literally. Noem’s staff gave her a Pulsefire LRT flamethrower with an engraved plate of the state motto ‘Under God, the people rule,’ the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported Tuesday. A video posted to Twitter on Sunday shows Noem, decked out in camouflage, using the flamethrower to torch a pile of cardboard boxes on a snowy farm. She shoots a final spray of flames into the boxes, raises her arm with a flourish and says ‘Boom, perfect.’”

Pickles, Potatoes and a Muskrat?! Top 10 Weirdest New Year’s Eve Celebrations in the US (Dana)

From Parade: “We are all familiar with the New Year’s Eve ball drop that happens in New York City’s Times Square — it’s the largest party in the U.S. and is seen by countless people either in person or on TV. Because it’s such a popular event, other cities around the country have been celebrating their own type of NYE celebrations that include some very unique or just plain weird object drops. Many must think a ball drop is boring because we have seen everything from muskrats to pickles and even a hot potato!”


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