From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots

Seems like it could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance. A long drought, the second in a few years, had...

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California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump era

There was one revealing bit of testimony on Capitol Hill recently – from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt told a House subcommittee that the EPA is not reviewing California’s lone-in-the-country authority to set air-quality standards tougher than those found elsewhere in the nation. For months, California politicians, led by...

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American Chestnuts in the Field

By the 1950s, two non-native pathogens had killed almost all American chestnut trees. “There’s a lot of interest in breeding a chestnut that looks like American chestnut with the disease resistance of Chinese chestnut,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Stacy Clark. “However, there hasn’t been much research on reintroducing disease-resistant trees to the...

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The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.

Like cheese in France or cars in Germany, climate change is a business in the Netherlands. Month in, month out, delegations from as far away as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, New York and New Orleans make the rounds in the port city of Rotterdam. They often end up hiring Dutch firms, which dominate the global market in high-tech engineering and water management. That’s...

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Federal judge rejects Dakota Access Pipeline permits, calls for do-over

In a dramatic turnaround, a federal judge has ruled that permits to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline must be reconsidered, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has demanded the flow of oil through the pipeline be stopped. Completion of the controversial pipeline was stopped by the Obama Administration last December, with a call for an environmental-impact statement to...

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Trump tells mayor of island literally sinking into the ocean ‘not to worry about sea level rise’

President Donald Trump’s supporters have been the subject of countless stories just since election day on the fact that they seemingly “vote against their economic interests.” But few stories note that they voted against their existential interests as well. Trump’s refusal to accept the scientific consensus on the reality and urgency of climate change poses a serious...

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The Shifting Window of Growing Seasons

When winter comes to an end, it’s no mystery that warming temperatures and spring rains bring new life. Wildlife emerges, flowers bloom, and brilliant green leaves begin to fill the ground and the forest canopy—all part of their seasonal cycle known as phenology. Observers know those green leaves don’t appear at the same time every spring, nor do they begin to fade away...

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Despite tribal opposition, Trump’s Interior Secretary wants to shrink Bears Ears National Monument

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended that President Donald Trump cut the boundary of the culturally significant Bears Ears National Monument in an interim report he sent to Trump. Tribes and conservation groups argue that this is a potentially illegal act and that Trump does not have the authority to eliminate sections of a national monument. “The review...

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Dust Bowl-ification of U.S. Southwest leads to 8-fold jump in Valley Fever cases

The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled. New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a fungal lung...

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Volunteers Needed for Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation at Smokies Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently recruiting for volunteers to assist the Trails Forever trail crew for a rehabilitation project on the Rainbow Falls Trail. Volunteers are needed every Wednesday from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Volunteers must register at least one week in advance by contacting Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator, Adam...

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Olympic National Park: Mountains, forests and shores

Olympic National Park is located in the same state as Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and volcanic Mount St. Helens, but it still holds its own as a tourist attraction and cultural touchpoint. While Rainier, the Cascades and St. Helens are merely mountains, the 922,651-acre Olympic is “three parks in one,” as the National Park Service puts it. Like them, it has...

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California attorney general to Trump: You can’t touch our national monuments

California’s attorney general argues that President Trump has no legal authority to revoke or modify national monuments created by previous administrations. In an 11-page letter to the Interior Department, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra vowed “to take any and all legal action necessary” to preserve six California monuments that the Trump Administration may attempt to...

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Federal hiring freeze causing headaches at Rocky Mountain National Park

Every year for over a century, thousands of visitors have trekked to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in search of adventure and beauty, and while 2017 will be no different, many visitors will experience delays and long lines for much of the busy season due to a slow hiring process and budgetary challenges. RMNP has seen record breaking attendance in the last few...

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Smokies National Park to Host “Women’s Work” Event

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Women’s Work Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum. This event honors the vast contributions made by the women of Southern Appalachia showcasing traditional work led by women on mountain farms in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The event is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm....

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Appalachian pipeline emissions would be equal to 42 coal-fired power plants

Given the crisis of global climate change, anti-fossil fuel activists have sought to draw attention to the climate impacts of extracting, transporting, and burning natural gas, whose primary component is methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Oil Change International, a nonprofit research group, studied one of the largest proposed natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian...

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U.S. Forest Service to Hold Open Houses on Pisgah & Nantahala Forest Plan Revision

The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August, 2017 to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision. “Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your...

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Carbon Dioxide Set an All-Time Monthly High

With May in the books, it’s official: carbon dioxide set an all-time monthly record. It’s a sobering annual reminder that humans are pushing the climate into a state unseen in millions of years. Carbon dioxide peaked at 409.65 parts per million for the year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s not a surprise that it happened....

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Allemansrätten, the Swedish right to roam the countryside, is guaranteed by the constitution

In Sweden everyone has the legal right to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp almost anywhere in nature. “This is made possible thanks to a Swedish right guaranteed by the constitution – freedom to roam. This right enables the Swedish people to experience nature and enjoy the beautiful Swedish wildlife,” says the president of Visit Sweden USA. Known as allemansrätten...

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Local Students Help with Elkmont Historic District Project at Smokies National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers received help from local high school students in Elkmont to plant native trees. Recently, 19 students from Blount, Sevier, Cocke, and Knox Counties planted more than 400 trees in areas where cabins were removed along Jakes Creek in the Elkmont Historic District. By planting the native trees and shrubs, students are helping to...

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Land called ‘top conservation priority’ purchased along Hump Mountain

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has purchased 324 acres of land it called “one of our top conservation priorities.” The acreage is in Carter County on the northern slope of Hump Mountain west of Banner Elk, N.C. Total purchase price was $1,621,120. “Our purchasing this tract ensures that future generations of hikers will be able to enjoy the beauty and...

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National Park Getaway: Valles Caldera National Preserve

Among the newest additions to the National Park System, the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve is a surprising gem at the top of the Jemez Mountains in north-central New Mexico that helps earn the state its motto—“The Land of Enchantment.” Valles Caldera National Preserve enchants visitors with its stunning natural beauty and rich human history. Recreational...

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Cradle of Forestry Announces Junior Forester Program

The Cradle of Forestry in America will offer a Junior Forester program for boys and girls ages 8-12 years old. This outdoor-oriented experience will be held every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from June 14, 2017 to August 9 at the Cradle of Forestry site in Pisgah National Forest. The Cradle of Forestry Junior Forester program combines learning new skills with...

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Glacier Bay National Park’s New Totem Poles

At Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the glory of nature is on display. The park is packed with 3.3 million acres of glaciers, wildflowers and water. But the area’s indigenous people haven’t always been celebrated. The Huna Tlingit people, whose ancestors lived in what is now the park, have had a contentious history with the National Park Service. But the...

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What happens next for Bears Ears National Monument

By June 10th, 2017, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will announce his decision on whether to recommend reducing or removing protection for Bears Ears National Monument. Just a couple weeks after President Trump signed an executive order targeting national monuments, Bears Ears National Monument’s May 26th comment period deadline has passed. In the coming weeks, the...

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So much water pulsed through a melting glacier that it warped the Earth’s crust

NASA scientists detected a pulse of melting ice and water traveling through a major glacier in Greenland that was so big that it warped the solid Earth — a surge equivalent in mass to 18,000 Empire State Buildings. The pulse — which occurred during the 2012 record melt year — traveled nearly 15 miles through the Rink Glacier in western Greenland over four months before...

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Interior Dept. censors climate change from news release on coastal flooding

The Department of the Interior deleted a line explaining how climate change drives sea level rise from the news release accompanying a new study on coastal flooding. Last week, six scientists published a journal article, “Doubling of coastal flooding frequency within decades due to sea-level rise,” which explains that coastal flooding will be much worse than previously...

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How far can an electric vehicle take you?

There is no single answer — it depends on your choice of EV. Today, there are now a growing number of diverse EVs on the market. Battery electric vehicles run exclusively on electricity via batteries (often referred to as BEVs or just EVs). Plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) combine an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (gasoline engine), and the electric...

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Smokies Park Reminds Visitors to be Bear Aware

As the busy summer season approaches, Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials want to remind visitors about precautions they can take while enjoying the park to keep themselves and bears safe. Bears are particularly active this time of year in search for spring foods. Visitors should be prepared in how to safely observe bears without disturbing them during this...

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American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why

As the consequences of climate change strike across the United States, ecologists have a guiding principle about how they think plants will respond. Cold-adapted plants will survive if they move “up”—that is, as they move further north (away from the tropics) and higher in elevation (away from the warm ground). A new survey of how tree populations have shifted over the...

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Smokey Bear gets a major makeover thanks to SC entrepreneur, artist

Clad in his signature park ranger hat, belt buckle, and jeans, Smokey Bear is best known for his timeless message: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Created by the U.S. Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, and Ad Council, the character is considered the longest-running public service campaign in American history, and one of the most successful. But...

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