Elizabeth writes in many different genres, including fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. However, she primarily works as an environmental and wildlife journalist. She is currently employed by Mongabay as a senior staff writer. You can read her Mongabay work by visiting her author page. See some samples of her work below.

Jamaica battles relentless plastic pollution in quest to restore mangroves

KINGSTON — “All of this was mangroves,” says marine scientist Mona Webber, pointing toward a line of ghostly gray boulders separating the road from the sea. We’re standing on the side of Norman Manley Highway, a raised road that squiggles along a spit of sand known as the Palisadoes and connects Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport with the capital of Kingston. Webber — tall, animated, and wearing a polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of her workplace, the University of [...]

Deep-sea mining rules delayed two more years; mining start remains unclear

KINGSTON, Jamaica — On July 21, nations reached an agreement that will make it more difficult for deep-sea mining to start immediately in international waters, while not fully halting the industry’s progress. For the past two weeks, council members of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the UN-affiliated deep-sea mining regulator, have been meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, to negotiate a set of rules that would govern seabed mining in international waters. This proposed activity would excavate the ocean floor for [...]

Study finds old pear trees make for surprisingly rich reef habitats

Riding his bike to work in the Netherlands’ Zeeland province, Tjeerd Bouma passed fields of pear and apple trees. His mind wandered. As a coastal ecologist at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Bouma had been searching for a material with which to create artificial reefs in the Wadden Sea, a system of intertidal sand and mud flats that’s been heavily modified by humans over thousands of years. He realized that pear trees could be used for [...]

The case of Marker Wadden: Can humans build islands that live up to the healing powers of nature?

I am meandering around curving wetlands sprawled across a septet of islands. The wind blows hard, but a babel of birds dominates the soundscape: Screaming gulls, whistling plovers and deep-bass-thumping bitterns. A tern hovers over the water like an arabesque dancer before diving to snap up a small fish. Reedlings—tiny, egg-shaped birds—cling to the stalks of swaying marsh reeds. Blue-gray water ripples with avocets, long-tailed ducks, and even a couple of flamingos. The islands thrum with life. It’s hard to [...]

Norway proposes opening Germany-sized area of its continental shelf to deep-sea mining

The nation’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has proposed opening up a 329,000-square-kilometer (127,000-square-mile) portion of the Norwegian Sea to deep-sea mining, an area nearly the size of Germany. The region overlaps with many marine areas previously flagged by Norwegian research institutes and government agencies as vulnerable or valuable. A study by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), a government agency responsible for regulating petroleum resources, found that this area holds significant quantities of minerals such as magnesium, cobalt, copper, nickel and rare-earth metals. [...]

‘Life is short. Steal a walrus’: why a trainer devoted his life to free Smooshi the walrus

  Phil Demers’ lawyer once gave him a stern warning: he should not use his bullhorn megaphone at a protest outside Marineland, the Canadian entertainment park near Niagara Falls. If he did, the park, which was already in the process of suing Demers, could take further legal action against him. Demers did not listen. On 18 May 2019, he took to the streets and climbed a ladder among a throng of protesters, bullhorn hot in his hands. BAAAAAR-BAAAAAR. He screamed [...]

Sea level rise looms, even for the best-prepared country on Earth

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A misty rain blows against my face as I follow Farah Obaidullah along Scheveningen Beach in the northwest part of The Hague. Despite the wind and drizzle, the shoreline feels calm. Gray waves roll into the sand like long, deep breaths. Machines have raked the beach into a well-manicured carpet of grains and shell fragments. But about a year ago, in February 2022, Scheveningen looked very different as Storm Eunice battered the coastline with high-speed winds and [...]

Did climate change really kill billions of snow crabs in Alaska?

The disappearance of billions snow crabs from the Bering Sea has captivated the world’s attention since Alaska shut down the fishery for the first time in October 2022. But where exactly did these snow crabs go? And what caused them to vanish so quickly? Scientists are still grappling with these questions, but climate change is the most cited hypothesis for the species’ retreat. Erin Fedewa, a research fisheries biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the decline of the [...]

Global biodiversity is in crisis, but how bad is it? It’s complicated

Biodiversity. When you hear this word, what do you picture? Iconic animals like African elephants, gray wolves and humpback whales? Or multicolored coral species that make up a reef system? Or bacteria and microbes that regulate nutrients in the soil, or oxygen-releasing phytoplankton that live in the ocean’s sunlit zones? While biodiversity does embrace all these living things, the concept extends beyond mere species diversity or abundance. It also encompasses the infinite variety of genes that allow animals and [...]

Regulator approves first deep-sea mining test, surprising observers

On Sept. 14, the Hidden Gem — an industrial drill ship operated by a subsidiary of The Metals Company (TMC), a Canadian deep-sea mining corporation — left its port in Manzanillo, Mexico. From there, it headed toward the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a vast abyssal plain in international waters of the Pacific Ocean that stretches over 4.5 million square kilometers (1.7 million square miles) across the deep sea, roughly equivalent in size to half of Canada. The goal of TMC’s [...]

An El Niño is forecast for 2023. How much coral will bleach this time?

Scientists remember the years between 2014 and 2017 as a particularly bad time for coral reefs. Elevated temperatures fueled by an El Niño climate pattern harmed about three-quarters of the world’s reefs in both hemispheres, forcing corals to release their life-sustaining zooxanthellae and turning them ghostly white in a process known as coral bleaching. About 30% of the world’s corals died as a result of this bleaching. Others have yet to fully recover. And now, at a time when global temperatures [...]

Climate change and overfishing threaten once ‘endless’ Antarctic krill

Antarctic krill — tiny, filter-feeding crustaceans that live in the Southern Ocean — have long existed in mind-boggling numbers. A 2009 study estimated that the species has a biomass of between 300 million and 500 million metric tons, which is more than any other multicellular wild animal in the world. Not only are these teensy animals great in number, but they’re known to lock away large quantities of carbon through their feeding and excrement cycles. One study estimates that krill remove 23 [...]

Concerns over transparency and access abound at deep-sea mining negotiations

Delegates of the International Seabed Authority are currently meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, to negotiate a set of rules that would pave the way for a controversial activity: mining the seabed for coveted minerals like manganese, nickel, copper, cobalt and zinc. But scientists and conservationists say there are considerable transparency issues at the meetings that are restricting access to key information and hampering interactions between member states and civil society. The ISA is the U.N.-mandated body responsible for overseeing the [...]

‘Everything is on fire’: Flames rip through Iberá National Park in Argentina

The fires were still several miles away, but Talía Zamboni and her colleagues wanted to work fast. Early in the morning on Feb. 23, they traveled to San Alonso Island in Argentina’s Iberá National Park, where several giant river otters were being housed in a large enclosure, awaiting their release into the wild. But today wasn’t the day they’d be let loose. When the otters turned up at their usual spot for food, Zamboni and her colleagues ushered them [...]

‘There’s not much hope’: Mediterranean corals collapse under relentless heat

For years, Joaquim Garrabou donned scuba gear and dove into the waters of the Scandola Marine Reserve in Corsica to find a paradise. Twenty meters (66 feet) beneath the surface, there were reef walls draped with soft red coral (Corallium rubrum) and red gorgonian sea-whips (Paramuricea clavata), all swarming with fish and other sea creatures. But in 2003, a marine heat wave hit Scandola, leading to the death of many coral reefs. More than 15 years later, the reefs have [...]

Deep-sea mining: An environmental solution or impending catastrophe?

In 2007, a submersible with a large drill descended 1,600 meters (5,250 feet) into the sea off the coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG), landing near a network of hydrothermal vents that host an array of rare and unique sea life. The machine operators, working for Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals, Inc., began drilling into the seabed, searching for copper, gold, zinc and silver. In the years that followed, the company drilled again and again. By 2019, Nautilus, the first [...]

Big cat comeback: Jaguars prowl Argentina’s Iberá Wetlands after 70 years

It’s been 70 years since jaguars left their round, four-toed footprints in the ground of the Iberá Wetlands, a 1.3-million-hectare (3.2-million-acre) tract of swamps, waterways and islands in northeastern Argentina’s Corrientes province. But things are changing now. Two weeks ago, conservationists opened up a pen that held two 4-month-old jaguar cubs, Karai and Porã, and their mother, Mariua, giving them free and open access to Gran Iberá Park, a 709,717-hectare (1.75-million-acre) park established in 2018 by the NGO Tompkins Conservation. This [...]

‘What’s your real footprint on the animal world?’: Q&A with author Henry Mance

Many of us love animals. At least, we think we do. We may serve our cats gourmet food and let them sleep in our beds. We may buy our dogs expensive squeaky toys and take them on vacations with us. But the love we have for our pets doesn’t always translate to the pigs, chickens and fish that end up on our plates, or the cows used to make our shoes or belts. Why is this? The book How to Love [...]

In ocean biodiversity hotspots, microplastics come with the currents

A microplastic is a tiny speck of a thing. At its largest, it’s about the size of a linseed, but smaller microplastics can’t be seen with the naked eye. Minuscule as they are, huge quantities of these particles are gushing into the ocean, and they’re almost certainly causing damage to delicate marine ecosystems, experts say. A new report published in Science reveals the roving trajectory of microplastics after they enter the ocean. While some microplastics, like flecks of polystyrene, may [...]

Bush beat: An unarmed anti-poaching unit is shaking up South Africa’s war on wildlife crime

See that? Over there?” Carol Khosa asks. The sun catches the glint of a plastic water bottle tucked beneath the dried bark of a leadwood tree. To an untrained eye, it’s easy to overlook – an irresponsible tourist might have tossed the bottle while riding through the reserve on a game drive in an open-topped Land Rover. Khosa, a member of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, steps forward in her army fatigue uniform and combat boots. She pushes aside a few [...]

Closed-Loop Cuisine

Danny Colls grabs a small compostable cup from the shelf behind the dining bar. Inside is a wad of cling wrap, a lollipop stick, a rubber band, a pen spring and a bottle cap. “You’d be surprised what people leave on tables,” says Colls, Silo’s co-owner. More surprising is that this is the only waste accumulated by the busy inner-city café in a week. There are no trashcans. No piles of plastic packaging or cardboard containers. No discarded food [...]

Rescue Goat With Anxiety Only Calms Down In Her Duck Costume

It all started when Leanne Lauricella went shopping at Marshalls before Halloween. She was browsing the aisles when something caught her eye — a child's duck costume, complete with a big orange bill and two webbed feet. Lauricella runs a goat rescue group called Goats of Anarchy in New Jersey. She thought the duck costume would look cute on her baby goats, especially the newest rescue goat named Polly. So she bought the costume and took it home, not thinking too [...]

Coyote Hound Hunts and Wolf Wars

Rod Coronado hit the brakes, bringing his Toyota pickup to a halt on the snow-covered road. He opened his door—ignition beeping—and crunched his boots onto the snow. His travel companion, a 37-year-old Wisconsin woman named Keri Lewis, jumped out the back of the dual cab to follow. Together they studied the snow for what they’d spotted from the truck: large, wide paw prints with distinct claw marks: large inner toes and splayed outer toes. “Wolf tracks,” Coronado said, placing [...]

Into the Green

After barreling over a gravel road for about an hour, we park up in the lee of some leatherwood trees. My pulse quickens as I leap out to gather my gear; we have officially entered the Tarkine. From here, we’ll walk 40 minutes to Tiger Ridge, the basecamp for Tasmania’s multi-day rainforest walk. At the time of writing there is one open- cut iron-ore mine and around 30 exploration licences active in this mineral-rich region, which is also the [...]

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