In case you missed it: 3 big stories from our world

Tree frog in Peru.

A tree frog peers over a wood-rotting fungus in the Tambopata River region of Peru. (© Art Wolfe)

Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

  1. The unseen driver behind the migrant caravan: climate change

Thousands of people have joined a caravan fleeing Central America with hopes of entering the United States. The reason isn’t solely violence and poverty back home — it’s climate change.

The story: One of the biggest that reasons migrants joined the caravan is food insecurity related to climate change, as Oliver Milman, Emily Holden and David Agren reported for The Guardian last week. Hot, dry spells have destroyed crops and left farmers with no source of income, and as a result, food has become too expensive for many families.

The big picture: An estimated 3.9 million people will leave Central America in the next 30 years because of extreme weather and temperatures. Because greenhouse gas emissions are still contributing to climate change, extreme weather events will continue — meaning more migrant crises may be on the horizon.

Read the story here.

  1. This group is helping voters make sense of which candidates take climate change seriously

Before you head to the polls tomorrow, make sure to consult this guide on which candidates support responsible climate policies.

The story: Umair Irfan of Vox points voters toward a guide that rates candidates in each state on their “climate score.” Created by Vote Climate U.S. PAC, the guide rates candidates from 0 to 100, with 100 meaning they understand the importance of action against climate change, have voted pro-climate in the past, publicly advocate for policy against climate change and support a U.S. tax on carbon.

The big picture: Given the dire climate future depicted in a recent UN report, individual actions can only go so far to limit climate change. The systemic changes needed to protect the climate require governments to make responsible decisions — and that starts with your vote.

Read the story here.

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  1. Two generations of humans have killed off more than half the world’s wildlife populations, report finds

More than 60 percent of all mammal, bird, fish, reptile and amphibian populations have disappeared since 1970.

The story: A report released by the World Wildlife Fund found that human activity is enacting a heavy toll on wildlife, Alex Horton wrote in The Washington Post. The animals that have survived this “annihilation” are left to deal with a warming planet, rising oceans and extreme weather events.

The big picture: “Biodiversity is the foundation of all life on Earth, and without it we cannot survive,” Lina Barrera, senior director of international policy for Conservation International, told Human Nature in 2010. Humans depend on biodiversity for survival, whether that’s pollinators that help produce our food, natural medicines that heal our sick or ecosystems that supply us with fresh water.

Read the story here.

Olivia DeSmit is a staff writer for Conservation International.

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