environment

When construction workers break into the earth’s surface, it’s not unusual for them to discover ancient worlds. For example, on a 2013 dig, crews in San Francisco unearthed the remains of three mammoths and one giant bison. While working at the Caldecott Tunnel, fossil hunters discovered the remains of camels that once roamed the East Bay. There are actually provisions in California’s environmental laws that require anyone doing major digging projects to call fossil experts first, just in case. So when work began near Fremont to rebuild the Calaveras Dam, paleontologist Jim Walker was called to the scene to hunt for fossils. He expected to find a few, but the count surpassed 600.

Climate change--one view is doom and gloom and destruction. The other is that things could be far more beautiful and regenerative and sustainable and socially just than we can imagine. Is climate change an inevitability or an opportunity? Our guests are Shana Rappaport and Amanda Ravenhill of Project Drawdown, and Julia Prochnik, consultant to the National Resource Defense Council.

Women negotiating climate change. That's our inflection point.  

99% Invisible: Palm Reading

Apr 22, 2015

 

On a Friday evening in the summer of 2011, Los Angeles resident Brent Green was driving home from work and took a route he doesn’t usually take to get to his neighborhood. As he neared his home, he saw a work crew of about 25 guys in orange uniforms doing landscaping in a freeway berm.

He thought it all seemed a little odd.

For starters, it was 7pm on a Friday—late in the day for a city work crew. It was also piece of land that never got much attention; most of it was scrubby overgrowth. To Brent, this meant one thing.

They were stealing trees!

Philosophy Talk asks: What is Wilderness?

Apr 5, 2015

Nowadays we think of wilderness as a fully natural environment that contrasts sharply with the designed and constructed environments in which we normally move. But does that vision of wilderness really exist anymore? What is natural and what is artificial about wilderness? Should humans be understood as a part of nature or distinct from it? And how should we approach conservation efforts so that we balance the needs of a growing world population with the need to preserve some aspect of the wild in our lives?

The LA Times recently published an editorial that reported that California’s reservoirs are currently storing only about a year’s worth of water supply. Significant storms could still add to that supply, but it’s daunting data, coming at the tail end of the traditional wet season.


The number of chronically hungry people in the world is over 800 million, yet developed countries are facing health challenges from rising rates of obesity. The growing problems of food security and water scarcity seem an issue of distribution rather than availability. But other factors also influence the status of food and water security worldwide. So where does the problem with food and water security lie? Do developed countries – or any other entities or individuals – have any moral obligations to ensure a global network of water and food security?

Wikimedia commons user Gazebo

 

The Searsville Dam is causing big trouble on the peninsula. The 122-year-old, 65-foot-tall dam is closed to the public, hidden away on 1,200 acres owned by Stanford University.

Digging up ancient worlds

When construction workers break into the earth’s surface, it’s not unusual for them to discover ancient worlds. Last year, crews unearthed the remains of three mammoths and one giant bison in San Francisco. While working at the Caldecott Tunnel, fossil hunters discovered the remains of camels that once roamed the East Bay. There are actually provisions in California’s environmental laws that require anyone doing major digging projects to call fossil experts first, just in case. So when work began near Fremont to rebuild the Calaveras Dam, paleontologist Jim Walker was called to the scene to hunt for fossils. He expected to find a few, but the count surpassed 600.

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