Refugee camps can wreak enormous environmental damages – should source countries be liable for them?

While it may seem that much of the world has been locked down during the past pandemic year, more than 80 million people are currently on the move – unwillingly.

Facing conflict in Syria, human rights violations in Myanmar and violence in Eritrea, among other hot spots, refugees are trying to relocate to North America and Western Europe, or at least to neighboring countries.

Large camps of displaced persons can wreak major environmental damage. Refugees use and pollute water, deplete wood supplies for fuel, and poach animals for food, often harming parks, nature reserves and World Heritage Sites. These impacts make host countries less willing to receive more refugees.

Four reasons why migrant children arriving alone to the US create a ‘border crisis’

Children arriving at the southern border without their parents have presented a political and humanitarian challenge for the past three presidents.

Their numbers began rising considerably after 2009, when 19,418 children were taken into custody at the border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Unaccompanied minors peaked in 2014, with 68,000 apprehensions. Analysts say 2021 is on pace to break that record, with more than 600 children arriving daily to the U.S.-Mexico border. Most are teenagers seeking asylum.

Environmental DNA – how a tool used to detect endangered wildlife ended up helping fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Imagine discovering an animal species you thought had gone extinct was still living – without laying eyes on it. Such was the case with the Brazilian frog species Megaelosia bocainensis, whose complete disappearance in 1968 led scientists to believe it had become extinct. But through a novel genetic detection technique, it was rediscovered in 2020.

Such discoveries are now possible thanks to a new approach that recovers and reads the trace amounts of DNA released into the environment by animals. It’s called environmental DNA, or eDNA – and it takes advantage of the fact that every animal sheds DNA into its environment via skin, hair, scales, feces or bodily fluids as it moves through the world.