Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.
John Muir, born 178 years ago today, was one of America's first great conservation advocates. His letters and diaries convey the emotions Muir felt in Yosemite Valley, his 'sanctum sanctorum.'
Campaigners stand outside the US Supreme Court in 2005.
Where and how you have the right to legally end your life.
San Quentin State Prison in California, December 2015.
In the 1970s, California Governor Jerry Brown helped pioneer mandatory sentencing. Now he's working to overturn the practice.
Homeless in Los Angeles: Bernard Leatherhood (62) and Arthur Johnson (72).
Field research in Oakland highlights a major issue that Americans have yet to face up to: how to deal with growing numbers of homeless older people in our streets.
Here come the rains to Hollywood and Southern California.
The flood-control infrastructure built to weather heavy rains in Los Angeles sends runoff to sea – a poor design for drought-worried California.
The University of California intends to be carbon-neutral by 2025 by implementing existing technologies and focusing on public education. Is this a model for decarbonizing at large scale?
Renewable energy developers choose sunny locations, which can be near protected lands.
Study shows that many of the utility-scale solar power plants in California have been placed near protected and environmentally sensitive lands.
Eating kangaroos is sustainable.
Kangaroo image from www.shutterstock.com
Campaigners against commercial kangaroo harvesting say it's unsustainable and have convinced California to extend a ban on kangaroo imports. But are Australia's world-famous roos really at risk?
Raging – and costly.
US National Parks Service
Federal agencies pay much of the cost to fight forest fires, which means taxpayers are subsidizing the risky practice of building more homes at the wildland-urban interface.
Comparison of Sierra Nevada snowpack in 2015 v 2010.
According to scientists, tree-ring analysis shows that California drought is the worst it has been in 500 years.The study underscores the severity of current drought and the challenges of future water management in the state.
An icon, and perhaps casualty, of California’s contentious water policies.
US Fish & Wildlife Service
The Endangered Species Act may stave off extinction for the Delta smelt in California, but will it help this threatened fish – or any other at-risk species – recover and thrive again?
Storms coming? El Niño is projected to lead to much-needed rain in California next year.
El Niño is expected to bring heavy rains to drought-stricken California, but more rain alone won't solve the West's water crisis.
Really dry: a Colorado River aqueduct in southern California.
Historical analysis shows that natural forces are behind California’s drought, but global warming has contributed 8%-27% to the drought’s severity.
In a hotter, drier West, who, besides fish, will be most harmed?
James Marvin Phelps/flickr
Hydrologists, climate scientists and policymakers are beginning to grapple with a difficult question: who will be affected most by longer and more frequent droughts?
California’s heavy reliance on groundwater is raising worries.
General Physics Laboratory (GPL)
Can California – and its massive agriculture industry – endure the drought without destroying its groundwater resources?
Universities on the leading edge.
With emergency water rationing in place, how are universities – and other major water consumers – going to conserve?
A broken paddle on parched earth, one result of four years of drought in California.
What explains the unusually dry and warm weather that's behind California's prolonged drought? And how is climate change contributing?
More land than water: almond trees account for 10% of the state’s water reserves, according to some estimates.
California is blessed with so much agricultural land that no matter how much the state conserves or produces, there will also be an economic incentive to consume more water.
California has been inundated with stranded, hungry sea lion pups, a result of warm waters causing fish to move.
The "warm blob" of remarkably warm water in the Pacific is changing weather patterns and impacting marine life, providing clues to how ecosystems may change in a warmer future.
In the 1920s and 1930s crews surveyed much of California, collecting information about vegetation. This photo was taken in 1936 by Albert Wieslander.
Marian Koshland Biosciences Library
Scientists in my native state of California were handed a gift: a trove of detailed information about the state’s forests taken during the 1920s and 1930s and digitized over the past 15 years. When we…