environment

What History Can Teach Us About the Conservation of Endangered Species

One of the most fascinating challenges of endangered species management is the concept of shifting baselines — the idea that how much worse a problem has gotten, and what your recovery goal should be, depends on when you start measuring the problem. In many cases we need scientific data on the population and distribution of endangered species from before anyone started collecting scientific data.   So what do we do?  

Millions of Factory Farm Animals Are Living in Drought

The first half of 2022 ranked sixth warmest on record, according to the . The high temperatures and lack of water can cause serious health problems for people, even death, but heat and drought are also devastating for billions of farmed animals, especially those raised in concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs.

Collision Course: Will the Plastics Treaty Slow the Plastics Rush?

The interlacing pipelines of a massive new plastics facility gleam in the sunshine beside the rolling waters of the Ohio River. I’m sitting on a hilltop above it, among poplars and birdsongs in rural Beaver County, PA, 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. The area has experienced tremendous change over the past few years — with more soon to come.  

Wildfire Smoke Is Choking Indigenous Communities

  This story by originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.   

Advocacy Groups Urge SEC to Prevent Greenwashing of Investment Funds

As the Biden administration is working on rules to increase the transparency of environmentally sustainable investment funds, advocacy groups are urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure that financial institutions are not simply paying lip service to “green” investments.    The groups argue that some institutions engage in so-called greenwashing, i.e., the marketing of a product or service as environmentally friendly when in reality it is not.   

Can Sculptures Help Coral Reefs Bounce Back?

In March 2017, Tropical Cyclone Debbie whipped through the Whitsundays region of Queensland, Australia. The sheer force of the storm ripped out large swaths of corals from the Great Barrier Reef, leaving thick blankets of sediment in their place. The natural disaster cost the Whitsundays tourism industry $83$125 million. 

How Outdoor Enthusiasts Can Help Research About Climate

When Gregg Treinish set out to hike the length of the Andes Mountains at age 24, there was a lot he didn’t know. For starters, he didn’t realize he and his hiking partner, Deia Schlosberg, would be the first to do it. Or that their 22-month, 7,800-mile trek would gain them international recognition.   He also had no idea what he would do next — but he sure had a lot of time to think about it.

Welcome to the Anthropocene — The Age of Human Die-offs

The world today is on the verge of a major food emergency, provoked in part by Russia’s attack on Ukraine but more broadly by the damage that heat from global warming is doing to crops worldwide. This is both a crisis and an opportunity. Let’s start with the basics. Food is the raw material that makes people. More food, more people; less food, fewer people.

How Fish Poop Might Help Corals Overcome Bleaching

It’s relatively well known that most fully functioning corals one finds dotting colorful coral reefs are a symbiosis between a coral (the animal itself) and the microscopic algae that dwell within it. This duo forms the physical foundation of coral reefs, where of Earth’s marine species reside.

Salmon Farming’s Dirty Business

Sometimes all it takes is a single photograph to change someone’s mind or inspire them to take action. For Catherine Collins and her husband Douglas Frantz, that was a photo of a yardstick plunged 32 inches into filth below a salmon farm near Port Mouton, Nova Scotia.  

Arctic Shipping Routes Are Feeling the Heat

Controversy over shipping routes in the Arctic Ocean is intensifying in light of recent climate science projections of sea ice melt. By midcentury, ice-free routes in international waters once covered by summer sea ice may appear for the first time in recent history, according to new research. A more accessible Arctic could influence the timing, sustainability, and legal status of international shipping.

Time for Solar Energy to Shine

  This spring, President Joe Biden gave a shot in the arm to solar and other clean-energy technologies with a couple of important executive actions. The move comes at a critical time, since Congress has yet to pass comprehensive legislation needed to help fight climate change. Fossil fuels still make up the largest share of electricity generation in the United States, but renewables have chipped away at dirty power and now represent the majority of new power sources coming online.

When the Heat Is Unbearable but There’s Nowhere to Go

This story by originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.   

Who’s After Rare Metals in the Klamath Mountains?

When Interstate 5 was built in the 1960s, it sliced through southwest Oregon’s Klamath Mountains, exposing their metamorphic innards. To Michael Cope, the brawny founder of American Mineral Research (AMR), this layer cake of mineralized rock proves that Josephine County is sitting on a cache of valuable rare metals — and his small company hopes to eventually free up the resource so that it can be used in solar panels. 

Yes, the Drought Really Is That Bad

Across the West, state leaders are bracing against the long-term impacts of aridification. In late April, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) four additional counties to the “drought emergency” tally — now, half the state is in a state of emergency.

Biodiversity Solutions Also Fight Climate Change

Mass extinction lurks beneath the surface of the sea. That was the dire message from a published in April in the journal Science, which found that continuing to emit greenhouse gases unchecked could trigger a mass die-off of ocean animals that rivals the worst extinction events in Earth’s history.

Cradle of Transformation: The Mediterranean and Climate Change

The Mediterranean is a cradle — of civilization, of agriculture, of history. But the region, stretching across southern and southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, is also a crucible. Here, different cultures and religions, along with extravagant wealth and material poverty, have intertwined and often collided over the centuries. Today, despite millennia of resilience in the face of threats and tragedy, the region’s future seems uncertain as it faces a torrent of environmental change matched in few other places on the globe.

The Southwest’s Cities Are Booming. Here’s How to Make It Climate-Friendly

Phoenix is one of the country’s fastest-growing big cities, a sprawling metropolis in an increasingly arid region where federal water managers are currently proposing unprecedented cuts to water supplies from the Colorado River. At the same time, the cities in the Southwest, with their abundant solar energy capacity and potential for density, have a possible head start on various solutions to the climate crisis and resource shortages.  But only if development happens in the right way.

Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs

This story by originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.   

How Beef and Leather Supply Chains Pose Threat to South America’s Last Forest

They came from the forest. In early 2021, a settled Indigenous Ayoreo community living in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay reportedly started hearing songs and shouting during the night. The singing came from an uncontacted Ayoreo tribe, who traveled close to the settlement to bring a message of struggle. From a distance, they sang of the vanishing forest they depend on and how much harder life was becoming for them. And then they left.

Oil Development Is Changing the Rules of the Game for Wildlife

This story by originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.   

Climate Crisis Forecasts a Fragile Future for Wildflowers and Pollinators

Think of climate change, and you’ll probably picture devastating floods, raging wildfires, or parched earth. For the environmentally savvy, coral bleaching or masses of refugees may also make it to the list. Not many of us would think of the vibrant wildflowers in nearby meadows as victims of climate change.

Despite EPA’s Partial Ban, Advocates Say More Action Is Needed on Asbestos

Anti-asbestos activists say the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) victory lap over their ban of one type of asbestos is premature and that legislation is needed to completely ban the harmful substance once and for all.    Earlier this week, the EPA moved to ban the ongoing use of the only known type of raw asbestos that is currently imported into the United States, nearly 50 years after the first regulation on asbestos products was implemented. 

California Grapples With Regulation of Known Carcinogen Ethylene Oxide

Late one warm Saturday morning in mid-March, a group of five longtime residents of Southeast Los Angeles gathered in a cramped office in Maywood to talk about living in one of the most heavily polluted areas in California.

Five Reasons to Love (and Protect) Freshwater Mussels

  This story by originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.   

Once Extreme Ocean Temperatures Are the New Normal

This story by ">Krystal Vasquez originally appeared in EOS and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. 

SEC Climate Rule Would Force Companies to Disclose Emissions

Environmental advocacy groups are celebrating a proposal from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require publicly traded companies to share with their investors the risks their companies face from climate change and their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rising Seas Threaten Communities in Ghana

This story by Erica Ayisi originally appeared in and is republished here as part of , a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.    by on 4 March 2022

Chemical Spills — A Hidden Danger of Climate Change

When hurricanes batter cities or wildfires force people from their homes, there is often also the danger of a secondary catastrophe: chemicals from damaged facilities being unleashed on an already suffering population.  And, as a result of climate change, that risk keeps increasing for thousands of US facilities that make, use, or store hazardous materials, according to a new