How California’s drought hurts us all

Since we became a nation of urban dwellers, we’ve inevitably lost touch with the weather and how it sustains us. We in the cities and burbs have come to see bad weather as a threat to our roof shingles and perhaps to our decorative shrubs. But there’s a whole sphere of existence out there that depends mightily upon the proper sunshine, rainfall and temperatures for its livelihood, and ours.

Fracking threatens water supplies in several states; Texas is ‘ground zero,’ report concludes

Business investment group CERES sounded the alarm Wednesday, issuing a major report about the billions of gallons of fresh water being lost to natural gas fracking operations across the United States and in Canada. CERES researchers evaluated oil and gas water use in eight regions, concluding that gas companies need to improve their water conservation and investors should take heed of the risks involved with fracking in arid and water-stressed regions.

Let’s start treating climate change like the enemy

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hovering at a landmark 400 parts per million, a level never before experienced by human beings. Scientists say we’re playing with fire, risking the planet’s future if we don’t start to lower the greenhouse gas levels forcing climate change. How should we react to this news? First, we need to envision climate change more accurately, as a deadly threat.

How to reduce water use in the United States

Americans consume a lot of water as a result of their food and lawn choices. Read Danielle Nierenberg’s blog about how we can lower the stress we’re placing on dwindling water supplies. Ms. Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank, has traveled the world, studying food and water scarcity, and can tell you how many Kenyans survive on the same amount of water consumed by one American.

US drought worsens

Drought continues to savage the U.S., claiming crops, threatening livestock and spurring wildfires, and it is intensifying. The U.S. Drought Monitor reveals a deepening drought in the midsection of the country, which is predicted to continue as above-average hot temperatures fail to abate.

The top environmental story of 2011 — and probably 2012 too

If you’re wondering what to worry about in the coming year, look no further than the eco-landscape.
Climate change, species extinctions, ocean acidification, forestry losses, soil erosion and air pollution. We humans, now 7 billion strong, are pushing the planet hard, creating a brew of intractable environmental issues that threaten our way of life, and ultimately our survival.
Grim? It doesn’t get much more so.
There were bright moments in 2011. A sampling:

Apprehension, not celebration, greets this World Environment Day

Aurora, Colo., tornado (Photo: Brittany McKown)It’s World Environment Day, and all I can think about is how the Gulf oil disaster has been book-ended by two environmental commemorations. The BP oil well blew out two days before Earth Day in April, though it was barely covered in the news until a few days later when people realized that oil was leaking into the ocean unabated. (In the back of our minds, we tend to assume that someone has a plan for these contingencies. Surprise! No plan.)

Ho, ho — hold it, a Death Map?

By Barbara Kessler Green Right Now Need a break from all the seasonal cheer? Researchers at the University of South Carolina have delivered this for the holidays: a detailed “Death Map” showing the weather that’s likeliest to kill us in whatever part...