For millennia, during Finland’s blistering winters, wind drove snow into meters-high snowbanks along Lake Saimaa’s shoreline, offering prime real estate from which seals carved cave-like dens to shelter from the elements and raise newborns.

But in recent decades, these snowdrifts have failed to form in sufficient numbers, as climate change has brought warming temperatures and rain in place of snow, decimating the seal population.

For the last 11 years, humans have stepped in to construct what nature can no longer reliably provide. Human-made snowdrifts, built using handheld snowplows, now house 90% of seal pups. They are the latest in a raft of measures that have brought Saimaa’s seals back from the brink of extinction. Read the full story.

—Matthew Ponsford

Matthew’s story is from the next magazine issue of MIT Technology Review, set to go live this Wednesday April 24, on the theme of Build. If you don’t already, subscribe now to get a copy when it lands.

Politics in the AI era

2024 is a banner year for elections across the world, and it arrives just as AI advances come thick and fast. This collision of events raises a crucial question: how will the rise of AI change politics?

Join MIT Technology Review Editor in Chief Mat Honan and Executive Editor Amy Nordrum for a LinkedIn Live event where they’ll explore the impact of political influencers and deepfakes, and unpack industry insights and predictions. Register here to tune in at 1pm ET tomorrow.



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