California

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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Lorcel/Shutterstock

How John Muir’s incessant study saved Yosemite

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.'
Homeless in Los Angeles: Bernard Leatherhood (62) and Arthur Johnson (72). Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

How the homeless population is changing: it’s older and sicker

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.
Renewable energy developers choose sunny locations, which can be near protected lands. jsmoorman/flickr

Can we expand solar power dramatically without damaging protected lands?

Study shows that many of the utility-scale solar power plants in California have been placed near protected and environmentally sensitive lands.
Storms coming? El Niño is projected to lead to much-needed rain in California next year. chrisamichaels/flickr

What would it take to end California’s drought?

El Niño is expected to bring heavy rains to drought-stricken California, but more rain alone won't solve the West's water crisis.
More land than water: almond trees account for 10% of the state’s water reserves, according to some estimates. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

California’s water paradox: why enough will never be enough

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.
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

California’s majestic trees are declining — a harbinger of future forests

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…

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