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
Sarah Gibbens, for National Geographic:
New Zealand’s newest sinkhole may be one of its largest. It extends down more than six stories. From end-to-end, it measures just about the length of two football fields. The sinkhole is so large it even exposed 60,000-year-old volcanic soil.
For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Fascinating nature. Intruiging headline.