Expensive weather events triggered by climate change underscore the risk of expanding tar sands oil extraction

ore Americans than ever believe that climate change is responsible for the strange weather they see around them. A recent poll shows that over 60% of the American public believes that climate change is real and that they are basing this belief on their observation that winters and summers are warmer and that there seem to be more extreme weather events, like droughts and tornadoes. The spate of tornadoes across the Midwest and southern U.S. in early March reminds us of the terrible human and economic toll these disasters can have.

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.)