News

Trump Administration Repeals Obama Rule Designed to Make Fracking Safer

Posted by on Dec 31, 2017 @ 7:58 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump Administration Repeals Obama Rule Designed to Make Fracking Safer

The Trump administration is rescinding Obama-era rules designed to increase the safety of fracking. “We believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified,” the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wrote in a notice published in the Federal Register. The 2015 rule required companies drilling for natural gas and oil on public lands to comply with federal safety standards in the construction of fracking wells, to disclose the chemicals used during the fracking process, and required...

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Visiting Hanging Lake? You may need to plan ahead

Posted by on Dec 30, 2017 @ 12:03 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Visiting Hanging Lake? You may need to plan ahead

The U.S. Forest Service has released a draft of the environmental assessment of its proposed plan for visitor management of the popular Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. An iconic Colorado landmark, the lake in the White River National Forest is both a popular destination for hikers and photographers, along with being a spur-of-the-moment stop for people passing by on I-70 as it winds through Glenwood Canyon. The site has seen tremendous increases in visitors over the last several years — 2017 brought 184,000 visitors, a 23-percent increase...

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South Mountain Dobbins Lookout hike puts all of Phoenix at your feet

Posted by on Dec 30, 2017 @ 7:57 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

South Mountain Dobbins Lookout hike puts all of Phoenix at your feet

On clear evenings, the beacons on Mount Suppoa that bleep and flicker above an array of communication equipment are visible from many parts of the Phoenix valley. The spindly forest of red-lighted poles marks the highest point in South Mountain Park. The 2,690-foot summit is off limits to the public but equally swell sights can be had at nearby 2,330-foot Dobbins Lookout. You could drive up to this Depression-era observation deck, but for those who prefer to sweat for it, the Holbert Trail provides a moderately difficult slog and rewarding...

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Outdoor Chattanooga Offers Guided Hiking Series On The Cumberland Trail In 2018

Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 @ 6:56 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Outdoor Chattanooga Offers Guided Hiking Series On The Cumberland Trail In 2018

Outdoor Chattanooga’s experienced guides will lead participants on short, section hikes (four to seven miles each) along the Cumberland Trail to explore unique geological formations, discover seasonal flora and fauna, trek over creeks and across suspended bridges to the tops of ridges with waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Along the way, participants will get hands on experience and learn how to make hiking and backpacking more comfortable and enjoyable. The Cumberland Trail is a scenic footpath along the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau...

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Wire the wilderness? As cell service expands, national parks become the latest digital battlegrounds

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 @ 12:06 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wire the wilderness? As cell service expands, national parks become the latest digital battlegrounds

When John Muir helped establish the National Park Service, he argued that such parks were vital to help people unplug from the world. “Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods,” Muir was quoted as saying in 1915. But these days at Yosemite National Park, hikers to Half Dome are likely to encounter people talking on cell phones as they climb to the top. Similar scenes are playing out at other national parks as the call of the outdoors increasingly comes with crisp 4G service. Not everyone is wild...

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Rising CO2 levels are changing the food we eat for the worse

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Rising CO2 levels are changing the food we eat for the worse

Irakli Loladze was in a biology lab when he encountered the puzzle that would change his life. It was in 1998, and Loladze was studying for his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Against a backdrop of glass containers glowing with bright green algae, a biologist told Loladze and a half-dozen other graduate students that scientists had discovered something mysterious about zooplankton. Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists...

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First Day Hikes: Start the new year off healthy

Posted by on Dec 27, 2017 @ 12:37 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

First Day Hikes: Start the new year off healthy

With Arizona State Parks’ First Day Hikes on Monday, Jan. 1, you can enjoy a beautiful hike and start the new year feeling healthy. This year marks the sixth annual collaboration of all 50 state-park systems across the country to offer guided First Day Hikes and other activities on New Year’s Day, said Michelle Thompson, chief of communications for Arizona State Parks & Trails. “This event is specifically planned to kick-start resolutions for the new year and help people get started on a healthy note,” Thompson said. “First...

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Conserved land along Blue Ridge Parkway to protect water quality, hiking

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 @ 11:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Conserved land along Blue Ridge Parkway to protect water quality, hiking

The blue mountain views from Deer Lick Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway have never been sweeter. The scenic spot in northern McDowell County looking out over a sweeping mountain forest known as Wildacres will now look wild forever. On Dec. 20, 2017, in a years-long collaboration, the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, Conservation Trust for North Carolina and Wildacres Retreat completed conservation easements, or agreements, on 1,076 acres of the privately owned land adjoining the parkway and Pisgah National Forest. The $1 million...

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Unlucky lava? National parks still receive rock returns by mail

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 @ 6:59 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Unlucky lava? National parks still receive rock returns by mail

  If you’re from Hawaii, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t take lava rocks, you’ll get bad luck.” Even most visitors know not to take lava rocks as souvenirs thanks to a popular episode of “The Brady Bunch” back in the 1980s. But many people still take lava rocks home, and some are paying the price. Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said they still get rocks in the mail. “We still get some,” said IHVB executive director Ross Birch. “It’s pretty infrequent any more as I think the folklore...

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Jewels of Appalachia

Posted by on Dec 25, 2017 @ 11:44 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Jewels of Appalachia

The forests of western North Carolina have long been recognized for providing exceptional quality of life, offering world-class outdoor experiences and supporting vibrant local economies. They are even acknowledged as the birthplace of America’s forest management: When George Vanderbilt sought refuge from city life in the late 1800s, he chose a picturesque valley in western North Carolina for his mountain home, the Biltmore Estate, where he hired a young Gifford Pinchot to manage his vast property. But when the industrialist built the...

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A guide to hiking the Old Man of Storr in Scotland

Posted by on Dec 25, 2017 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

A guide to hiking the Old Man of Storr in Scotland

The Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, is known for its dramatic and breath-taking views. It seems that with every corner you drive on this magnificent little island, you’re surrounded by absolutely stunning views unlike any other. The landscapes of Skye are unique to say the least and that’s probably why it is used as the backdrop to many a high-budget movie or television commercial. One of the most iconic hikes on the Isle of Skye is the Old Man of Storr which somewhat resembles a CGI scene out of Game of Thrones or Lord of the...

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UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 @ 11:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

The world’s oceans are set for a long overdue boost in the coming days as the United Nations votes for the first time on a planned treaty to protect and regulate the high seas. The waters outside national maritime boundaries – which cover half of the planet’s surface – are currently a free-for-all that has led to devastating overfishing and pollution. But after more than five years of negotiations, UN members are poised to agree to draw up a new rulebook by 2020, which could establish conservation areas, catch quotas and scientific...

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100% Renewable Energy Worldwide Isn’t Just Possible—It’s Also More Cost-Effective

Posted by on Dec 24, 2017 @ 6:34 am in Conservation | 0 comments

100% Renewable Energy Worldwide Isn’t Just Possible—It’s Also More Cost-Effective

Transitioning the world to 100 percent renewable electricity isn’t just some environmentalist pipe dream—it’s “feasible at every hour throughout the year” and is more cost-effective than the current system, which largely relies on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, a new study claims. The research, compiled by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the Berlin-based nonprofit Energy Watch Group (EWG), was presented at the Global Renewable Energy Solutions Showcase, a stand-alone event coinciding...

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An Appalachian Trail pioneer: first Hongkonger to hike the full length

Posted by on Dec 23, 2017 @ 11:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An Appalachian Trail pioneer: first Hongkonger to hike the full length

The moment Tony Or Hang-tat stepped outside his tent, he absolutely understood why hikers hang food and rubbish in bags on high tree branches before retiring for the night. The big black bear looking his way must have weighed 300 pounds. This was in Pennsylvania, 13 weeks into an adventure of a lifetime: hiking the whole of the Appalachian Trail that stretches 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine with just a backpack, a tent and a smile. It was not the first bear he had seen, nor would it be the last. But it was the closest encounter. “I was...

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New place to hike and rock climb: Wildcat Rock Trail opens in Hickory Nut Gorge

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 @ 11:56 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

New place to hike and rock climb: Wildcat Rock Trail opens in Hickory Nut Gorge

Some might call him the mountain whisperer. John Myers is that special kind of person who can look up at a mountain, listen to a mountain and know instinctively what it needs – to remain protected, wild and free. Myers, a landowner, conservationist and rock climber, has lived in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge for nearly 20 years with his wife, Jane Lawson. He has had the steely focus, the patience and the friend-making capacity to take care of the mountains that are his home, and to make sure they are forever protected and available for the...

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Stargazers Rejoice: U.S. Gets Its First International Dark Sky Reserve

Posted by on Dec 22, 2017 @ 7:14 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Stargazers Rejoice: U.S. Gets Its First International Dark Sky Reserve

Pack your bags, astronomy lovers. Idaho is now home to the United States’ first International Dark Sky Reserve. The International Dark Sky Association, an Arizona-based nonprofit that advocates against light pollution, designated an area covering more than 1,400 square miles as the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. The reserve includes the Sawtooth Range and other wilderness areas that offer brilliant views of the night sky. An International Dark Sky Reserve is “a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of...

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Old Erie Canal Trail hosts seasonal fun

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 @ 12:48 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Old Erie Canal Trail hosts seasonal fun

The Erie Canal in New York State is a 363-mile man-made waterway started in 1817 and finished in 1825 and celebrated the commencement of its bicentennial in 2017. The canal was built to allow mule and horse-drawn packet boats to haul materials on the east-west travel route between Buffalo and Albany. The original canal was enlarged three times and eventually re-aligned in places to form the current NYS Canal System, managed by the NYS Canal Corporation and used by newer, larger shipping vessels. But part of the original canal east of Syracuse...

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The 26,000 tons of radioactive waste under Lake Powell

Posted by on Dec 21, 2017 @ 7:07 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The 26,000 tons of radioactive waste under Lake Powell

Beneath the murky green waters on the north end of Lake Powell, entombed within the tons of silt that have been carried down the Colorado River over the years, lies a 26,000-ton pile of un-remediated uranium mill tailings. It’s just one polonium-, bismuth-, thorium-, and radium-tainted reminder of the way the uranium industry, enabled by the federal government, ravaged the West and its people for decades. In 1949, the Vanadium Corporation of America built a small mill at the confluence of White Canyon and the Colorado River to process uranium...

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It’s not only trees — wildfires imperil water too

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 @ 11:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

It’s not only trees — wildfires imperil water too

The Fourmile Canyon Fire, sparked by a backyard burn west of Boulder, Colorado, in 2010, caused $220 million in damage and destroyed 168 homes. It also scorched nearly a quarter of a watershed that supplies water to the nearby community of Pine Brook Hills. The problems didn’t end there: Long after the blaze was put out, intense rainstorms periodically washed sediment and other particles downstream, disrupting water treatment and forcing the local water district to stop pulling water from Fourmile Creek, leaving it reliant upon water already...

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Mountains to Sea Trail News Briefs

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 @ 6:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Mountains to Sea Trail News Briefs

SIGNS Allen Poole, North Carolina’s Mountains to Sea Trail volunteer Task Force Leader on the Outer Banks, has been hard at work adding signs and blazes along the route there. On this stretch, it is challenging to know which beach access to use to come on and off the beach, so his work will be a big help to MST hikers. Meanwhile, the Trail Resource Manager Jim Grode, has just identified places for almost 400 signs that will mark the trail route where it follows roads through the Coastal Plain, and volunteers with the Elkin Valley Trails...

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7 Years Before Russia Hacked the Election, Someone Did the Same Thing to Climate Scientists

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 @ 12:14 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

7 Years Before Russia Hacked the Election, Someone Did the Same Thing to Climate Scientists

One Saturday morning in June, two days after the president had announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement, Michael Mann was tweeting about Donald Trump. Mann, a Penn State professor who is one of the world’s most prominent climate scientists, was thinking about the daily barrage of revelations surrounding Russia’s efforts to help Trump win the previous year’s election. The hacked Democratic documents posted on WikiLeaks. The media craze over private emails that had been ripped out of...

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Trump breaks with military leaders, removes climate change from list of national security threats

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump breaks with military leaders, removes climate change from list of national security threats

President Donald Trump’s new National Security Strategy removed all mentions of climate change as a national security threat, a decision in line with major steps taken by the administration over the past 11 months to downplay the perils of climate change. Two years ago, the Obama administration issued a strategy that identified climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.” Trump’s decision to exclude climate change from current national security threats comes only a month after government scientists released the...

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Peru’s colorful Rainbow Mountain is not for the faint-hearted

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 @ 12:31 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Peru’s colorful Rainbow Mountain is not for the faint-hearted

Some manage the ascent in three hours, others take longer. But once they are up, then they’re usually reluctant to come back down, thanks to the view of the surreal-looking mountain. Tourism at Mount Vinicunca has yet to take off. Travel agencies only discovered it around two years ago. The mountain isn’t even listed in the current “Lonely Planet” guidebook, although that seems likely to change. Mount Vinicunca near the mighty Ausangate is currently developing into a real tourist attraction, which could compete with Machu Picchu and other...

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North Cascades grizzly bear recovery work halted by Interior Department

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 @ 6:46 am in Conservation | 0 comments

North Cascades grizzly bear recovery work halted by Interior Department

Work on grizzly bear recovery in the North Cascades Ecosystem has been halted even as the continental United States’ two largest grizzly populations near removal from Endangered Species Act protection. North Cascades National Park Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich told the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee on Wednesday that her staff had been asked to stop work on its environmental impact statement by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office. The order also stalls discussions with Canadian wildlife managers who oversee a similar...

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Hiking Grand Tetons ‘a trip of a lifetime’

Posted by on Dec 17, 2017 @ 11:54 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking Grand Tetons ‘a trip of a lifetime’

Beyond the crystal clear lakes, past the pastel blooms, up the rock-strewn trails and over the snow-blanketed hillsides lie the canyons and campsites of the Grand Tetons National Park. With each step up the mountain while sporting a 40-pound backpack, a new vista of rushing waters and plunging waterfalls dashes into view. Run-ins with deer, elk, moose and marmots are not out of the question. After several miles hiking each day, the laborious trek yields its reward. Campsites look out onto snow-covered peaks, water spews down mountainsides...

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Creating new beaten paths

Posted by on Dec 17, 2017 @ 7:14 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Creating new beaten paths

The first time Jessica Johnson explored the Mushroom Caves in Solana Beach she was trespassing. It was 2013, a few years after the 35-year-old elementary school art teacher first started documenting her passion for adventurous, sometimes dangerous hikes on her increasingly popular website Hidden San Diego. Walking along the path recently, Johnson recalled that initial adventure into the network of narrow, water-carved canyons that rise above the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. “It was a crazy adventure, kind of scary,” she said, eyes...

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Arctic Temperatures Are Rising So Fast Computers Don’t Believe They’re Real

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 @ 11:57 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Arctic Temperatures Are Rising So Fast Computers Don’t Believe They’re Real

320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, a weather station in America’s northernmost city of Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, has been quietly collecting temperature data since the 1920s. Early this month, while preparing a report on U.S. climate, experts at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) noticed something odd: They were missing data from Utqiaġvik for all of 2017, and some of 2016. It turns out the temperatures recorded at Utqiaġvik over that time were warmer than had ever been seen before. So much so, in fact,...

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Here’s a $17 billion blueprint for how to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 @ 7:11 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Here’s a $17 billion blueprint for how to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid

Called “Build Back Better,” the plan focuses on providing immediate relief while also making the island’s energy infrastructure more resilient to future storms. That means fortifying the electric transmission system and bulking up defenses at power plants and substations. The plan also envisions a Puerto Rico dotted with solar farms and wind turbines, linked by more than 150 microgrids. Of the 470,000 homes destroyed in Maria’s high winds, the report points out many could be built back with rooftop solar. New battery storage systems would...

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The Thorny Economics of Preventing Exotic Species Introductions

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 @ 1:47 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

The Thorny Economics of Preventing Exotic Species Introductions

What if we lose tree species we know, love, and need? It has happened before. “Look at what happened to the American chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Thomas Holmes. “Look at what’s happening right now to hemlock, redbay, and ash trees.” All three species, as well as many more, are threatened by non-native insects or pathogens. Non-native insects, pathogens, plants, and animals have been arriving for hundreds of years. Most fail to become established, but some thrive and rampage through their new homes. These non-native...

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The Best Microadventure In Every State

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 @ 7:05 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

The Best Microadventure In Every State

“A microadventure,” says Alastair Humphreys, a former National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and founder of a global movement, “is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.” Sounds good, right? More importantly, it sounds do-able. Microadventures, Humphreys argues, should fit in the 5:00 pm to 9:00 am window after each workday. Should you have a weekend free, they can also take a few days. They may involve wandering into the woods and setting up a camp or even having...

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Everything You Know About Hiking in Colombia is Wrong

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 @ 12:08 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Everything You Know About Hiking in Colombia is Wrong

For decades, Colombia’s wild areas were a no-go zone because of guerilla fighters and narcos, who occupied and fortified rural areas across the country. To venture beyond the city limits was to risk being kidnapped and held for ransom, a lucrative scheme the outlaws called miracle fishing. Beginning around 2000, the government started negotiating peace deals with the armed rebels, all but putting an end to the practice. In 2016, Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, brokered a peace deal with FARC, the main guerilla group, and...

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Major financial institutions rebuke the Trump agenda, announce big steps away from fossil fuels

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 @ 7:09 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Major financial institutions rebuke the Trump agenda, announce big steps away from fossil fuels

Two major financial institutions — one public, one private — announced that they would be significantly paring down their investment in fossil fuel projects, signaling a shift in the way financial institutions assess the risks associated with fossil fuels and climate change. During the One Planet Summit taking place in Paris, France this week, the World Bank announced that it would no longer finance upstream oil and gas — meaning any projects that involve oil and gas exploration or production — after 2019, making exceptions only for extreme...

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U.S. national parks are drastically reducing free days in 2018

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 @ 12:02 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

U.S. national parks are drastically reducing free days in 2018

Visitors to the America’s national parks will have far fewer free admission days to choose from in 2018. National parks in the U.S. will sharply drop the number of days they allow visitors to get in for free, a move that was criticized by opponents of the parks’ plan to raise entrance costs at other times of the year. After waiving fees 16 days in 2016 and 10 days in 2017, the National Park Service announced that it will have four no-cost days next year. They will be Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15), the first day of National...

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8 things to know about the winter solstice

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 @ 6:48 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

8 things to know about the winter solstice

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night,” quipped Steve Martin — and indeed, even a day with less sunshine can feel a bit dark. Our world depends on the light radiating from that big star we traipse around, and when it’s in short supply, we feel it. But if you count yourself among those who don’t love waking up before the sun rises and getting off work after it has set, things are about to lighten up. Hello, winter solstice! Although winter is really just beginning, we can at least say goodbye to these short little days we’ve...

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