Trading fossils for fossil fuels
It may not be as expansive or awe-inspiring as, say, an Alaskan refuge, but a 12-million-year-old snail-fossil bed in Thailand is at risk of being destroyed in the name of insatiable energy consumption. While a state-sponsored firm digs away for coal on 10 of the area’s 17 acres, snailhuggers protest that it’s a loss to science and history. “But if we conserve the entire site,” a representative from the power authority sputtered, “we would lose 265 million tons of coal worth 130 billion baht [about $3 billion].” Still, the company recently suspended operations for two weeks, giving geologists a chance to make their case. Go, rockhound gang.