At 582,578 square miles, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is not just the United States' largest marine protected area—it's currently the largest marine protected area in the world. The monument, a stepladder-shaped oceanic expanse dotted with atolls, shoals, and islands northeast of Hawaii's island of Kauai, was created by President Bush in 2006 and expanded by President Obama in 2016. The goal of Papahānaumokuākea, and of marine protected areas more broadly, is to spare it from the spoilage that frequently happens in unprotected areas: overfishing, pollution, and degradation.
When Leigh Orf, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, strives to unravel the mysteries of tornado formation, he needs something way bigger than a laptop. Phenomena like the huge, supercell thunderstorms he studies involve such vast amounts of data, only a supercomputer will do.
Everyone cares that pandas and polar bears are endangered because, let's face it, they're adorable. In enviro speak, they're known as “charismatic megafauna”—they're large animals with popular appeal. Also included on this list are elephants, lions, tigers, sharks, and whales. In short, looks matter.
Pandas are cute—there's no two ways about it. They have to eat 30 pounds of bamboo a day and then have to poop about 40 times a day, but look at those eye patches! And their fuzzy white butts! There are plenty of adorable bears, so what is it about the panda that's so distinctive?