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Is resurrecting extinct animals conservation?

Species are dropping like flies - so much so that the World Wildlife Fund estimates that anything between 200 - 100,000 animals go extinct every year.

Many of these extinctions are triggered by human activity, from the iconic passenger pigeon to black rhinos to Tasmanian tigers. We now have the technology to breed extinct species, but what role should we be playing in bringing animals back from the dead? Do we have a moral responsibility to fix the damage we caused? And what about animals that went extinct hundreds or millions of years ago?

These were the questions raised at a recent discussion session at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Speakers Harry W. Greene, from Cornell University and Ben Minteer, chair of the Arizona Zoological Society presented arguments for and against de-extinction. They demonstrated that the de-extinction debate is much more complex than building a real-life version of Jurassic Park. Not only are the causes of extinction different, the time frame and the role that extinct creatures played in their ecosystem varies greatly. How do we decide what makes one animal more important than another?

"De-extinction is driven by the same...

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Oven-baked rutabaga fries [vegan]

Colder weather brings an abundance of root vegetables. If you have a CSA that runs into the winter in the Northeast, it’s likely to be filled with these hearty staples: potatoes, turnips, carrots and yams.

And rutabagas. This vegetable was baffling to me at first, but it turns out rutabagas can be used in most dishes that call for root vegetables. So, after a few attempts, here’s a yummy alternative to french fries. Rutabaga fries have a warm flavor that’s just a touch sweet, but not as starchy as potatoes and not as sweet as sweet potatoes.

This recipe makes about three servings.

Ingredients:

1 large rutabaga
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Olive oil (about 1 tablespoon)

Steps:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel the rutabaga. Some farmers or distributors dip rutabagas in wax to keep the moisture in. If this is the case, it may be easier to remove the skin with a small knife instead of a vegetable peeler.

3. Slice the rutabaga evenly into strips, about 1/2 inch thick.
© Margaret Badore
4. In a large mixing bowl, toss the rutabaga strips with enough olive oil to coat them. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and mix thoroughly.
© Margaret Badore
5....

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Drop a brick in your toilet to fight the drought

Dropping a brick isn't something you normally brag about, but in this instance, it could help you go from water hog to water hero at home.

In California, which is experiencing the very real effects of a record-breaking drought, it's still hard to get people to take responsibility for water conservation in their own homes and habits, where their actions can have a direct impact on not only the overall amount of residential water used every day, but can also result in a smaller water bill.

There are a number of ways to reduce water use in the home, such as taking shorter showers, installing low-flow faucets and showerheads, and cutting back on landscape and lawn watering, but there's another place where a small action can make a big difference, and that's in our toilets. According to the EPA, more water is used by Americans each day to flush toilets than any other activity (at home), so drastically reducing the amount of clean municipal water that gets flushed away each day can add up to a significant amount.

In California alone, an estimated 203 million gallons of treated municipal drinking water are wasted every day due to an average flush volume of about 2.7 gallons, when...

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