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Indonesia Is Burning, And The World Hasn’t Noticed

Indonesia Haze

School children in Indonesia walking through the haze caused by massive fires. Image Source: TODAYonline

The hypothetical “If a tree falls into the woods…” question explores how the experience of an event makes an event “real.” So what happens if an entire forested country burns and releases a toxic and deadly haze, and the media doesn’t cover it?

Indonesia is burning. More than 3,000 miles of burning forest and peat have already emitted more carbon dioxide in the past few months than the annual emissions of Germany. It’s the worst set of fires the country has seen since 1997, a year in which 15,000 children under the age of three died from air pollution. More than 500,000 respiratory tract infections have been reported since July 1, and Indonesia’s 43 million people have been inhaling toxic fumes for months. Some children have already died from complications, while others have been evacuated out of the country on emergency warships. Blame the Indonesia fire’s slow burn, or global short attention spans for a lack of coverage, but this story has been building for months without much of an audience — and it’s not just an Indonesian problem.

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Welcome To Kamchatka: Far Eastern Russia’s Wild, Volcanic Peninsula

Kamchatka Russia Koryaksky Volcano

The Koryaksky Volcano rises through the clouds above the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia. Source: Flickr.com

Unless you spent long nights in your college dorm room hovering over plastic armies in the board game Risk, you have probably never heard of Kamchatka. About the size of Italy in terms of land area, this peninsula in far eastern Russia has less people living in it than Florence — but it is attracting more and more tourists every year. They come to see the region’s 160 volcanoes and the populations of brown bears, eagles, foxes, and coastal birds that thrive in this immense wilderness.

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Looks Like A Desert, Isn’t A Desert: The Story Of Lençóis Maranhenses Park

At the northeastern tip of Brazil lies a sandy oasis that transforms with the seasons: Lençóis Maranhenses National Park.

In the winter, the stark white-sanded park — which when translated from Portuguese literally means “bedsheets of Maranhão,” the state where the park resides — resembles more of a harsh desert than a tropical wellspring. Once the rainy season takes over in the summer months, the 600-square-mile expanse becomes a seemingly endless range of sand punctuated by turquoise-blue pools. Like Canada’s Spotted Lake, it’s hard to believe that this isn’t the product of some Photoshop alchemy.

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