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President Joe Biden signs his first executive order in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden is moving swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump’s legacy on his first day in office, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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In this Aug. 28, 2019 file photo, a Monarch butterfly flies to Joe Pye weed, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty)

The problem, sometimes called the insect apocalypse, is like a jigsaw puzzle. And scientists say they still don’t have all the pieces, so they have trouble grasping its enormity and complexity and getting the world to notice and do something. 

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(CDC / Pixabay / WTTW News illustration by Rebecca Palmore)

From the pandemic to protests to the power of nature, 2020 has been a year for the history books. We take a look back at the year that was — warts and all.

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Former farmland within the Grant Woods Forest Preserve will become a demonstration site for climate-adapted seeds. (Courtesy of Lake County Forest Preserves)

Lake County Forest Preserves is launching an ambitious conservation research project to determine whether it’s possible to preserve natural areas by proactively preparing for climate change. 

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Sandhill cranes. (ladymacbeth / Pixabay)

More than 25,000 migrating sandhill cranes are making a pit stop at Indiana’s Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. The bird’s numbers have rebounded thanks to wetland conservation efforts, but now climate change threatens to undo that progress. 

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The Cook County Forest Preserves have offered respite during the pandemic. (Forest Preserve District of Cook County / Facebook)

Throughout the pandemic, nature has proved its worth as an outlet and resource, benefiting people’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Now the question is, will people return the favor?

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President-elect Joe Biden (CNN via WTTW News)

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make combating climate change a central pillar of his administration. And he campaigned on rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

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In this Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020 file photo, people crowd the beach in Huntington Beach, Calif., as the state swelters under a heat wave. (AP Photo / Jae C. Hong)

Earth sweltered to a record hot September last month, with U.S. climate officials saying there’s nearly a two-to-one chance that 2020 will end up as the globe’s hottest year on record.

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Trees crashed onto cars and into streets during storms in Chicago on Aug. 10, 2020. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

As Chicago gets ready for cooler weather, many parts of the country are being hit by wildfires, hurricanes and the aftermath of last month’s destructive derecho. We learn more with atmospheric scientist Scott Collis.

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A scene from the documentary “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm.” (Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm / Facebook)

Ines Sommer’s documentary “Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm” shows that climate change is knocking on the door. But that’s not what the movie was supposed to be about. 

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Temperatures hit 94 degrees, a record for June 2. (Pixabay)

The mercury soared to 94 degrees on June 2, topping the previous record of 92 degrees set for the date back in 1944.

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A record breaking hole in the ozone above the Arctic has closed. (Anita Ritenour / Flickr)

No pandemic silver lining here, but the good news is that healthier ozone levels mean an uncommonly strong and stubborn polar vortex is finally loosening its grip.

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The University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (now UIC) was a hub for the first Earth Day. (Courtesy UIC archives)

Chicago was a hub for environmental activism on the first Earth Day, and it remains a pioneer today.

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(Daniel Dionne / Flickr)

We discuss the history of Earth Day and the environmental challenges the planet is facing today with Denis Hayes, the organizer of the very first event in 1970, and local environmental activist Kim Wasserman.

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April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. (qimono / Pixabay)

Environmental organizations have had to scale back plans for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Get ready for lots of livestreams and calls for digital action this week. Here’s a sampling of what’s on offer.

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Picking up litter while jogging or walking — also known as “plogging” — is a great solo Earth Day activity. (Visit Viljandi / Flickr)

In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re going to have to clean up the planet individually. Creative ideas from the Earth Day Network include “plogging” and #TrashTag.

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