People filling bottles and drinking at a public water fountain in Paris, France.

Life in Paris: Air and Water Quality

Parisians deal daily with high levels of air pollution thanks to a number of factors, a population favoring diesel cars included. In the spring of 2015, Paris briefly topped the world charts for air pollution, putting it above regular offenders such as Delhi and Peking. On the ground, a national pastime of cigarette smoking and lime buildup in water are two issues newcomers face.

Pathway through dense temperate rainforest tree ferns in New Zealand,

Unique Plants and Animals of New Zealand

Back before humans showed up in New Zealand, the islands were isolated from contact with any other landmass for millions of years. This gave the native wildlife time to develop in some unique ways. Learn about the unique New Zealand plants and animals that have managed to survive the arrival of humans and non-native species, and ongoing preservation efforts.

This tree's conical spikes store water. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Nicaragua’s Forest Ecosystems

Nicaragua’s varied topography and uneven rainfall distribution, not to mention the presence of tropical reefs, volcanoes, and volcanic crater lakes, result in a phenomenal diversity of terrain and ecosystems.

A small red eyed frog sits perched on a broad leaf.

Protecting Costa Rica’s Land

While much of Costa Rica has been stripped of its forests, the country has managed to protect a larger proportion of its land than any other country in the world. Today, one-third of land is legally set aside as national parks and forest reserves, “buffer zones,” wildlife refuges, and indigenous reserves. Throughout the country, representative sections of all the major habitats and ecosystems are protected.

A stork in Tram Chim National Park. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Plants and Animals of Vietnam

Vietnam is home to countless varieties of flora and fauna. From the peaks of Sapa all the way down to the watery Mekong Delta, the country’s range of climates and habitats lends itself to an equally diverse array of plant and wildlife. However, with an ever-growing population and a rapid pace of development, many of Vietnam’s plant and animal species are in danger.

Old, rusted car in junkyard on Maui, Hawaii.

Dealing with Waste on the Hawaiian Islands

It’s not so easy to move heavy or big items across the ocean. While this makes Hawaii a thrift-store and vintage paradise, dealing with waste on an island is a continuous challenge. Some locals tackle the problem creatively, such as reusing old or broken bicycles to build new custom models.

A green anole perches on a red Ti leaf.

The Effect of Introduced Species in Hawaii

Before settlement, Hawaii had no fruits, vegetables, coconut palms, edible land animals, conifers, mangroves, or banyans. Learn how introduced species have thrived, at times for better and other times for worse.

Amongst the ecologically fragile mangroves of La Tirana, Jiquilisco.

El Salvador’s Coastal Mangrove Forests

There are two major mangrove forests on El Salvador’s coast: Barra de Santiago in the west, and Bahía de Jiquilisco in the east. The mangroves are one of the most biologically complex ecosystems on earth, and, as highly effective carbon sinks, front-line defense against climate change.