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The winners of the Northern Lights photography competition capture the magic and mystery of the Aurora Borealis

All photos via Capture the Atlas

If If you happen to feel a great disturbance in the magnetosphere, it might be because some charged particles from the sun are bopping around in there. And as freaky as that sounds, it’s actually no cause for alarm (as far as I know?). What it is the cause of though, is an Aurora — glowing polar lights named after the Roman goddess of dawn that are just one more reason that our planet is a magical place.

These 25 gorgeous photos of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights (borealis is Late Latin for “North Wind”) were selected by the…


The winners of the most recent Ocean Photography Awards are utterly mesmerizing

A photograph of a shark with bared teeth swimming in clear, gradient blue ocean water, another shark appears in the background
A photograph of a shark with bared teeth swimming in clear, gradient blue ocean water, another shark appears in the background
Photo: Tanner Mansell. All photos courtesy of Ocean Photography Awards

Vast, inaccessible, and astonishingly beautiful, the ocean can often feel like an alien place, full of danger and enchantment in equal parts. This makes the achievements of photographers who are able to shine a light on this part of our world all the more impressive, as they draw attention to the threats that the ocean faces, reveal its hidden beauty, and bring us face to face with its fascinating inhabitants.

The recently announced winners of the Ocean Photography Awards, organized by Oceanographic Magazine, are truly incredible achievements in this field. Seven major awards were granted, in categories for Ocean Conservation…


From beloved pets to wild creatures, a series of stunning photos of the amazing animals we share our world with

Photo: JJNMatt; all photos via Agora

Earlier this year, the photography app Agora challenged photographers to submit photos of living creatures from around the world for a contest focused on celebrating the diverse and precious life on our planet. More than 13,000 photos were submitted to the contest before the winner — a dazzling photo of an iguana by Indonesian photographer JJN Matt—was crowned.

From an absolutely charming shot of an arctic fox cub trying (and adorably failing) to look tough to a magical image of a highland cow storming through a misty heather field in the Netherlands to a heartbreaking photo of a devoted dog…


A fine art photograph of bare tree branches framing a moon and lake setting with purple clouds and stars
A fine art photograph of bare tree branches framing a moon and lake setting with purple clouds and stars
All photos: International Landscape Photographer of the Year

The winners of the International Landscape Photographer of the Year competition will make you long to travel

Chosen from an impressive array of entrants, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year award winners will make you look with fresh eyes at the planet we live on and the myriad different ways it finds to be beautiful. The year’s overall winner was Hong Kong photographer Kelvin Yuen, whose gorgeous portfolio of landscapes from Norway to Italy to Utah showed a truly impressive depth and variety.

Out of the 3,800 submissions, 101 photos were singled out for special recognition, and this selection of images—which ranges from volcanoes in Indonesia to icebergs in Greenland to canyons in Utah—makes for an…


Two possums peek from under a metal roof with cute, almost-cartoon like expressions of curiosity on their faces
Two possums peek from under a metal roof with cute, almost-cartoon like expressions of curiosity on their faces
Photo: Gary Meredith. All photos via The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Powerful selections from The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

For 65 years, the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has been a home for some of the world’s most powerful nature photography. This year’s competition has received more than 49,000 entries from across 86 different countries, and the winners will be exhibited at London’s Natural History Museum in South Kensington. In the run-up to the final judging, the museum has released a selection of Highly Commended photos that provide a captivating glimpse of the diversity and strength of the competition.

From a 13-foot male gharial crocodile giving a lift to his dozens of offspring in India…


Photographer Thorben Danke hopes his intimate and artistic insect portraits can be a catalyst for caring

A close up photo of a beetle in rich, iridescent blue and green jewel tones, with small claws and segmented limbs
A close up photo of a beetle in rich, iridescent blue and green jewel tones, with small claws and segmented limbs
Oil beetle (Meloë violaceus). Photos courtesy of Thorben Danke

In 2018, I was an undergraduate researcher in an ecology lab when I found a paper detailing the 30 year decline of insects in a Puerto Rican forest. My attention was captured, and I wasn’t alone — over the next few months, academic papers consistently warned us that insects were disappearing. Popular headlines followed close behind.

The Financial Times said we were “sleepwalking towards the insectopocalypse,” National Geographic described insect populations “plummeting,” and writers for the United Nations environment program called the findings “a stark warning for humanity.”

All of these articles, and countless others, are referencing the same batch…


Shop less, make more — 5 satisfying ways to live more sustainably

A neon sign that reads “Make Salsa Not War” in red script on a dark background
A neon sign that reads “Make Salsa Not War” in red script on a dark background
Photo: Natalya via Unsplash

When I resolved to try to live more sustainably, I thought I would have to make extreme cuts to my way of living. It turns out that’s simply not the case; going zero-waste can be very easy and less time consuming, while also being far less expensive than I ever thought. I recently wrote about five low-waste recipes, and here are five more ways that you can reduce your negative impact on the planet while saving money.

Before I continue, however, I want to state that “zero-waste” is just a phrase — living a completely no-waste lifestyle is pretty damn…


Issues around ethical production and pollution can feel incredibly complicated — here are some simple ways to shop better

A person with long hair, wearing a mask and carrying one shopping bag, flips through clothes at a retail store.
A person with long hair, wearing a mask and carrying one shopping bag, flips through clothes at a retail store.
Photo: Arturo Rey via Unsplash

There’s a reason “voting with your dollar” is a popular expression. Companies pay attention to what customers do with their money, and they can change their practices quickly when they start losing money or see an opportunity to make more of it. Though your own individual buying choices aren’t likely to quickly change the fundamental exploitation and pollution that global corporations bring to the planet, thoughtlessly supporting the worst practices is a guarantee that things will never change.

But you are also a very busy person with a lot going on: work, life, a global pandemic, and an array of…


Stay safe in the sun without hurting any animals — or coral!

colorful photograph of a coral reef teeming with fish and multicolored aquatic plants and coral
colorful photograph of a coral reef teeming with fish and multicolored aquatic plants and coral
Photo: SGR via Unsplash

Every year it is estimated that somewhere between 6,000–14,000 tons of sunscreen washes off our skin when we are in the sea. Studies have shown that common chemicals that are found in many sunscreen lotions are highly toxic to marine life, especially coral. Sunscreen pollutants are reaching coastal environments through wastewater discharge, killing off entire marine ecosystems in the process.

These pollutants are toxic that the President of Palau, a Unesco World Heritage Site, signed a law that went into effect this year which prohibits the sale and use of sunscreens containing ten critical ingredients known to cause damage to…


It’s not as hard as you think, but there are 6 things I wish someone had told me first

Ice cream cone being held up against a blue sky with a fluffy white cloud placed so it resembles ice cream in the cone.
Ice cream cone being held up against a blue sky with a fluffy white cloud placed so it resembles ice cream in the cone.
Photo: Rakicevic Nenad via Pexels

Two years ago, I gave up animal products to try to help save the planet. Since, I’ve left home, started attending college, and I’ve eaten some delicious plant-based food. Going vegan is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my mind, my body, and for the planet. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. If you want to do your part to help and you’re transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, here’s my advice on making the transition and ensuring it sticks.

1. Understand why

I’m an engineering student, so perhaps I have a particular fondness for facts and figures. Nonetheless, this…

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