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Currents

The good news: climate-change initiatives are working. The even better news? A 10-year-old program is about to crank things up a notch. When the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was announced in 2006 and implemented by 10 states in 2009, it became the first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States. Under the program, the…

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Outdoor enthusiasts with mobility impairments can now explore off-road, going where standard wheelchairs cannot. Developed by the Boston-based company GRIT, the Freedom Chair is propelled by a patented drive train of gears and levers. Unlike a push-rim wheelchair, which can waste up to 90 percent of a rider’s effort, the Freedom Chair operates more like a bicycle: The rider pumps the levers to go…

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UPDATE: On August 24, after this story went to press, President Barack Obama designated 87,500 acres as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., donated the land to the federal government along with a $20 million endowment to assist with operational needs and infrastructure development, and a commitment to raise an additional $20…

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The first thing a visitor to Boston’s Breed’s Hill notices is the iconic obelisk honoring the Revolutionary War battle fought here and at nearby Bunker Hill. But a closer look reveals sights that don’t befit such treasured grounds. North of the monument, metal barricades block access to stairs that have fallen into disrepair. On the…

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It’s a sunny October day, and AMC staff scientist Georgia Murray is on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, gathering data for an ambitious project that charts climate change on the Appalachian Trail (AT). As hikers set out, packs full and boots not yet muddy, Murray uses the Nature’s Notebook app on…

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Mayors spend a lot of time thinking about roads, bridges, mass transit, and other systems that make cities livable. But when Boston University researchers surveyed 89 mayors last year, nearly 40 percent said that if they received a modest grant for extra infrastructure projects, they would spend it on parks or bike and pedestrian improvements….

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EDITOR’S NOTE: On October 25, 2016, five months after the publication of this story, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the official creation of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. Even forests struggle in the search for eternal youth. In an effort to protect young forest and shrubland, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…

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Every spring, Doug Blodgett, a biologist for Vermont Fish and Wildlife, laces up his sturdy boots and goes out to count rattlesnakes. It’s hard work, as they’re masters of camouflage. “You don’t see them until, literally, you’re a foot or two away,” he says. “It’s never boring.” Blodgett’s yearly count is part of an effort…

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A row of trees fills the median bisecting Delancey Street, where the Williamsburg Bridge spills into Manhattan’s Lower East Side. For now, those trees are the only plant life in sight, but a local group has begun testing an idea that could put this intersection at the forefront of urban green space—as home to the…

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If Willy Wonka were a hiker, imagine what kind of backcountry food he might dream up. Self-contained meals in edible packages? Dissolvable, single-serve coffee balls? Those fantastical-sounding products soon could be a reality. Several companies are developing packaging that eliminates waste—a possible boon for backpackers seeking lightweight, eco-conscious products. “Sustainable design that is both smart…

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