Brad Plumer, for The New York Times:
Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.
We behave like a virus, destroying everything in our path. Just watch Our Planet on Netflix and see for yourself.
Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs, for The New York Times:
In late 2015, Dr. Johanna Rhodes, an infectious disease expert at Imperial College London, got a panicked call from the Royal Brompton Hospital, a British medical center outside London. C. auris had taken root there months earlier, and the hospital couldn’t clear it.
“‘We have no idea where it’s coming from. We’ve never heard of it. It’s just spread like wildfire,’” Dr. Rhodes said she was told. She agreed to help the hospital identify the fungus’s genetic profile and clean it from rooms.
Under her direction, hospital workers used a special device to spray aerosolized hydrogen peroxide around a room used for a patient with C. auris, the theory being that the vapor would scour each nook and cranny. They left the device going for a week. Then they put a “settle plate” in the middle of the room with a gel at the bottom that would serve as a place for any surviving microbes to grow, Dr. Rhodes said.
Only one organism grew back. C. auris.
Humans are like a virus that nature can’t seem to deal with. Perhaps it’s finally time for us to pay the ultimate price for the irreparable damage that we have caused to our planet.
See also: What You Need to Know About Candida Auris
Mary Halton, for the BBC:
Researchers have found evidence of an existing body of liquid water on Mars.
What they believe to be a lake sits under the planet’s south polar ice cap, and is about 20km (12 miles) across.
Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day.
While we’re looking for a new home, Earth is currently experiencing a “Shit! There goes the planet!” moment, as writes Jane Dalton:
Humans are using up the planet’s resources so quickly that people have used a year’s worth in just seven months, experts are warning.
And the rate at which we are consuming the Earth’s natural resources is still speeding up.
This year the annual date when people have caused a year’s worth of ecological damage – Earth Overshoot Day – comes two days earlier than last year.
It falls on August 1 as calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that observes humanity’s use of materials such as food, timber and fibres, as well as carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and the environmental damage caused by building infrastructure.