For the first time, the USDA approves unrestricted use of a genetically modified perennial crop: alfalfa.
Britain's Conservative Party leaders abandon plans to sell off nearly all of the country's public woods, including Sherwood Forest.
Global fish consumption is at an all-time high. Two-thirds of the world's large predatory fish, like tuna and swordfish, have been eaten in the last century. They are expected to be all but gone by 2050.
Half of Africa's lions have been killed in the past 20 years, leaving only 40,000. Since 1998, U.S. sport hunters have imported 4,000 lions for stuffing. Conservationists are petitioning to end trophy hunting.
Rangers in South Africa shoot and kill nine suspected rhino poachers.
At least 36 baby dolphins wash up dead on the Gulf Coast, 10 times more than usual.
Since 1980, says the New York Times, the number of American workers who commute via carpool has fallen by almost half.
A study in the journal Nature suggests that global warming could tip the U.S. Southwest into a "mega-drought," lasting as long as 1,000 years.
After floods in Queensland submerge an area the size of France and Germany combined, Australia is hit by Category 5 Cyclone Yasi. Mudslides and floods in Brazil kill more than 700.
Two papers in Nature link heavy rainfall to fossil-fuel burning ("Human Contribution to More-Intense Precipitation Extremes" and "Increased Flood Risk Linked to Global Warming").
Each of the 268 pregnant women in a University of California at San Francisco study had 43 chemicals—including PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, flame retardants, and phthalates—in her bloodstream._
After a 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, cooling systems fail at all six reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. —Paul Rauber
First column, from top: iStockphoto/JohnPitcher, iStockphoto/3alexd; second column, from top: iStockphoto/floop, iStockphoto/aldomurillo