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Kristopher Radder / The Brattleboro Reformer via AP

A new study in the May 5 issue of Science Magazine shows that human noise pollution has doubled in 63 percent of U.S. protected areas.

Why it matters:

  1. Human disturbances are supposed to be reduced in these protected areas since they're specifically designed to be safe havens for biodiversity.
  2. Noise pollution reduces the ability of prey to hear predators approaching, can interfere with finding mates, and can also affect plants if herbivores change their locations due to excess noise.

The good news: Species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act seem to be experiencing about a 56 percent lower noise excess than unprotected areas.

Where to focus mitigation efforts: The authors found that human transportation networks, development, and extraction (think: timber, mining, oil, and gas) correlated with a proximity to cities led to a high noise pollution. Plus, lands managed by local governments had the highest noise levels.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.