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National Geographic Explorer Topher White has created a clever way to listen for sounds of illegal logging.
Topher White set out to preserve Indonesian rainforest like that seen above by monitoring its sounds.  PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL NICHOLS, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Topher White spends a lot of time walking in—and thinking about—the forest, and how quickly we’re losing it. So much so that he’s gotten a black eye from being smacked by flying tree branches.

But that’s just a small example of what the engineer is willing to endure to stop global deforestation. Founder of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Rainforest Connection, White has developed a simple but ingenious strategy: using old cell phones to listen for the sound of destruction.

Forests are disappearing worldwide, and fast: Swaths half the size of England are lost each year. The Amazon has lost close to one-fifth of its rain forest cover in the last four decades.

Forest loss not only harms wildlife, including many species that live nowhere else, it’s a big contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that stoke climate changeaccounting for about 17 percent of the world’s annual total.

“I didn’t know any of this stuff when I started,” says White, who began his journey in 2011, when he traveled to Indonesian Borneo to help dwindling gibbons.

Read more: Your Old Cell Phone Can Help Save the Rain Forest

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Nasa has released a powerful animation mapping global warming trends between 1880 and 2015.

It shows the changing temparatures over the last 100 or so years using a rolling five-year average.

Read more: Animation: 100 years of global warming in less than a minute

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Thousands of people are expected to attend the People’s Climate Movement march in Washington, D.C. and sister cities around the world this coming weekend. They are marching because actions taken to date by governments and others are not commensurate with the scale of climate impacts – both those already borne and those projected in the years to come.

It’s a good moment to reflect on the facts. What do we know about global climate change, and what impacts can we expect in the future? The following graphics speak volumes.

What is climate change?
 
Climate change is a long-term change in Earth’s weather patterns or average climate, including temperature and precipitation. While the climate has changed in the past, we are now seeing it change at an unprecedented rate. As a result of the build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – due to our burning of fossil fuels, cutting down trees and other activities – global average temperature is now changing at a faster rate than at least over the past 1,000 years.
 

Read more: Climate Science, Explained in 10 Graphics

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