When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.
But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there's also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.
Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.
Standing outside her sixth-floor apartment in the Bronx, Lissette Encarnacion says she sometimes forgets the place belongs to her.
"I'm thinking I'm at somebody else's [house]," she says. "I'm ringing my own doorbell."
Encarnacion used to have a career in banking, and lived in a real home with her son and husband. Then one night everything changed, she says, when her husband came home drunk and angry, and threw her off a balcony.
Outside the northern Guatemalan town of Olopa, near the Honduran border, farmer Edwin Fernando Diaz Viera stands in the middle of his tiny coffee field. He says it was his lifelong dream to own a farm here. The area is renowned for producing some of the world's richest arabica, the smooth-tasting beans beloved by specialty coffee brewers.
"My farm was beautiful; it was big," he says.
But then, a plant fungus called coffee rust, or roya in Spanish, hit his crop.
"Coffee rust appeared and wiped out everything," he says.
In late July and August, something remarkable happens in the air above Lake Murray in South Carolina. Around sunset, hundreds of thousands of purple martins come streaming toward the center of the lake from every direction, swirling together in a massive flock that darkens the sky. After an hour or so, they settle down on Bomb Island in the center of the lake.
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ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:
If you went to the movie theater this weekend, you might've caught the latest Scarlett Johansson action movie called "Lucy." It's about a woman who develops superpowers by harnessing the full potential of her brain.