2016: Our Stories of the Year!

2014 Drávasztára to Szentborbás. Courtesy of EuroVelo

EuroVelo 13 Promotional cycling tour September 2014 Drávasztára to Szentborbás. Courtesy of EuroEuroVelo 13 Promotional cycling tour September 2014 Drávasztára to Szentborbás. Courtesy of EuroVelo

Green News Update took readers on a whirlwind tour in 2016 – Cuba, the Iron Curtain Trail, Chernobyl on its 30th anniversary, the oceans, environmental heroes on several continents, and innovative plans for Canadian and US waterfronts.

These top-notch places and people are among our favorite stories of 2016. Here’s your chance to go back and see what you may have missed:

The Iron Curtain Trail

Get ready for the cycling experience of a lifetime – hikers and walkers  welcome too – on the 10,400-kilometer-long Iron Curtain Trail (ICT) which stretches through 20 European countries from Norway and the Russian-Finnish border to Turkey. Plenty of tips and resources for you. Read our article.

Eurovelo Route 13, the Iron Curtain Trail . Map courtesy of Eurovelo.

Eurovelo Route 13, the Iron Curtain Trail . Map courtesy of Eurovelo.

Cuba Series: Bienvenidos

Basket weavers in Trinidad

Basket weavers in Trinidad (Cuba)

What is the essential Cuba ?  Authentic is the word used  by “people to people” visitors who see Cubans through the lens of local artistic, cultural, social, and everyday experiences. Five savvy travelers from recent tours to Cuba share what you should seek – and what you will love –if you’re interested in seeing the real Cuba. Here’s the lineup. You can access the portal to four stories and photo galleries

Schools of blue-striped grunts and Schoolmaster snappers at the Queen marine reserve. Copyright David Doubilet.

Schools of blue-striped grunts and Schoolmaster snappers at the Queen marine reserve. Copyright David Doubilet.

Then jog over to the underwater mangroves and coral reefs of Cuba, called Jardines de la Reina—an underwater time capsule –in a photo essay by renowned underwater photographer David Doubilet.

Environmental Heroes

Berta Caceres (Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize)

Berta Caceres (Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize)

Depending on where you live, being an advocate for the environment and just causes is a deadly occupation. In 2016 we reported on the death of Berta Caceres, a beloved Honduran activist gunned down in her own home.

Maxima Acuna

Maxima Acuna, one of six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2016

Just a year before,  Berta was named a 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner. We saluted in April 2016 the half-dozen  Goldman Prize winners from Cambodia, Slovakia, Peru, Tanzania, Puerto Rico and the United States. Read our story to learn more about them.

In 2016, we recognized NOVA, the 42- year- old PBS television series, as  citizen science’s best friend – thoughtful, balanced, free  of charge,  and available to millions of people via several media platforms.

Another of our heroes, Frans de Waal is a celebrated primatologist who lives in two worlds – as a serious researcher who has devoted nearly 40 years to the study of primate behavior and social intelligence, and as an author-communicator, with some dozen popular books.

Ray Dearlove Photo by Julia Salnicki

Ray Dearlove Photo by Julia Salnicki

Ray Dearlove is another uncommon hero. A South African native, he is translocating the highly endangered white rhinos to a safe haven and breeding sanctuary he is creating in western Australia, with the goal of eventually repatriating these magnificent animals back to their home continent.

Prof Vadim Siderovich finds fresh wolf litter in an uncontaminated control study area

Prof Vadim Siderovich finds fresh wolf litter in an uncontaminated control study area (Chernobyl)

Chernobyl at 30

Workers at Chernobyl pre-disaster

Workers at Chernobyl pre-disaster

The former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl (Ukraine, formerly part of the USSR)  is now covered with a gigantic structure. In 2016, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster (yes, they say, worse than Fukushima in 2011) and the effects still being felt in wildlife that remain in the “Exclusion Zone”  and humans who fled the contamination. Scientists continue to study how exposure to high levels of radiation are affecting everything from spiders and birds, to wild dogs and wolves. Read our story 

The Extreme Life of the Sea (cover)

The Extreme Life of the Sea (cover)

World Oceans Day

if you want to see a whale (cover)

if you want to see a whale (cover)

On World Oceans Day in 2016 we honored the oceans – and the life that resides in them—with a selection of 15 books. These writers explore species that have prevailed for millions of years –broadbill swordfish, sharks, eels, horseshoe crabs – with amazing adaptations and evolutionary advantages; and the human toll on our watery world.   It makes you think about what it means to conserve oceans and their living abundance for future generations. See the book reviews, videos, excerpts and interviews. 

Waterfront Revivals 

Our Cities column in January 2016 tracks a half-dozen cities where waterfront redevelopment and new public space amenities are underway to revitalize post-industrial areas, piers and abandoned sites. Come along with us to learn about what’s happening — New York’s Hudson River piers,  Berlin, Toronto, Rotterdam, Philadelphia and Camden NJ.

A small section of the 650 metre ribbon passing through the crowd gathered at the 650-meter Simcoe Wave Deck. Photo credit CNW

A small section of the 650 meter ribbon passing through the crowd gathered at the Simcoe Wave Deck in Toronto, Canada. Photo credit CNW

Artist rendering of Flussbad Canal in Berlin

Artist rendering of Flussbad Canal in Berlin — the goal is to make it swimmable for the public!

Green News Update has over 300 posts that share news and resources on sustainable development, green practices, safeguard wildlife, adventure travel and books. Come back to us often — and check out our story archives.