Nature is for everyone

The outdoors has something for everyone, but is nature accessible to all? This panel explores the diverse value of nature, some of the barriers South Australians experience in accessing it, and showcases programs that are working to make it easier for everyone to connect to nature. Cosmos presents this recording from South Australia’s Nature Festival … Continue reading Nature is for everyone

The politics of nature

These days, everything feels like a partisan issue, be it immigration, national security, renewable energy or even lockdowns. More and more decision making seems to feel like a political football, even if it doesn’t make sense. Despite its history, a basic concern for the environment seems to have been caught in this trend and in … Continue reading The politics of nature

Does nature have rights?

This article was first published on 3 June, 2021. In April this year, the Blue Mountains City Council, west of Sydney, became the first council in Australia to enshrine “rights of nature” as a core principle. In practice, this means that all future planning in the region will have to consider the right to existence … Continue reading Does nature have rights?

Spotting cows from space

When looking down upon the Earth through the eyes of a satellite, what would you choose to look at? For students at the University of California Santa Barbara, they watched cows from space. In a recent paper published in Biological Conservation, a team of students, along with ecologist Doug McCauley, scrutinised satellite images of cattle herds around Point Reyes … Continue reading Spotting cows from space

Health benefits from natural sounds

Adding to the myriad benefits bestowed by nature, scientists report that natural sounds alone – such as waterfalls and birdsong – are good for our health. In a synthesis of studies, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they found that natural sounds can deliver health benefits such as reduced pain, … Continue reading Health benefits from natural sounds

Songbirds without a song

What’s a songbird without its song? Sadly, we are finding out. Australian regent honeyeaters are failing to learn their species’ tune due to dwindling populations, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and this is thwarting the male birds’ ability to attract females. Like humans and other species, … Continue reading Songbirds without a song

Focus on people to put a value on nature

Our reliance on nature’s dwindling resources has become ever more palpable as human activities cause ecosystems and biodiversity to crumble. Yet despite intensified efforts to quantify the value of our planet’s services, there is a yawning divide between calls for action and their translation into policy decisions by governments and corporations. Recognising a mounting urgency … Continue reading Focus on people to put a value on nature

NatureWatch: New ideas on strength, speed, size

Not all in nature is at it seems or, at least, as we might have thought. Four new studies have interesting findings on how things survive and evolve. A spider that’s clever and fast Peru’s slingshot spider (genus Theridiosomatid), like its cousins, has the rather intimidating habit of launching an entire web to catch prey. … Continue reading NatureWatch: New ideas on strength, speed, size

Nature on a screen can improve your mood

Are you feeling anxious or irritated during the coronavirus lockdown? Do you constantly want to get up and move? Maybe you need a moment to engage with nature. Getting into the great outdoors is difficult at right now. But our research soon to be published in Australian Forestry shows you can improve your mood by experiencing nature … Continue reading Nature on a screen can improve your mood

Life on Earth later than we thought

A large proportion of the elements essential to the formation of oceans and life – such as water, carbon and nitrogen – only came to Earth very late in its history, researchers have found. Many scientists previously believed that these elements had already been there at the beginning of our planet’s formation. However, the investigations … Continue reading Life on Earth later than we thought