President Donald Trump tosses paper towels into a crowd at Calvary Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in October 2017 following Hurricane Maria. Trump congratulated Puerto Rico for escaping the higher death toll of “a real catastrophe like Katrina.” A new study suggests almost 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Politics and paper towels: Disputing death tolls

Environmental regulations generally improve communities’ preparedness and resilience during disasters. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Relaxed environmental regulations heighten risk

The damage to coal ash sites from Hurricane Florence demonstrates how a community's vulnerability to natural disasters is closely linked to how stringent environmental regulations are.
Some Puerto Ricans had to restore downed power lines themselves after Hurricane Maria. Alvin Baez/Reuters

Puerto Rico has not yet recovered from hurricane

It's been one year since a Category 4 storm turned Puerto Rico into a disaster zone. Today, nearly every pillar of society — including the economy, health care and schools — remains hobbled.
The Derwent River Sea Star was only documented for 25 years before its extinction. Blair Patulo, Museums Victoria

In the wake of extinction, a eulogy for a seastar

It's quite hard to tell when a sea creature is extinct – there's always hope it will turn up somewhere.
Icy hailstones can do major damage, depending where they land. AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Destructive 2018 hail season a sign of the future

The future climate that scientists predict for the middle of the United States is one that will foster more hail events with bigger hailstones.
Instead of fighting other countries, we should be fighting our overflowing landfills. Huguette Roe/

Trump should wage a war on waste not trade

Trump's plan to slap $200 billion more in tariffs on Chinese goods is premised on yesterday's waste-fueled economy. Tomorrow's economy is 'circular.'
Flooding in Kinston, North Carolina during Tropical Storm Florence, September 14, 2018. NC National Guard

High risks of river flooding in hurricanes

Widespread flooding in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence shows the need for better advance planning in inland areas of the south and mid-Atlantic, especially near rivers.
A sunny day evacuation days before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina. AP Photo/Tom Copeland

The science, skill and luck behind evacuations

A hurricane evacuation researcher in South Carolina explains why evacuating when the sun's out actually makes sense.
Farm near Seven Springs, North Carolina, surrounded by water on Oct. 25, 1999, nearly six weeks after Hurricane Floyd. AP Photo/Karen Tam

Emergency plans ignore inland communities

Hurricanes in the southern US have caused widespread damage inland in recent decades, mainly through river flooding. But evacuations and stormproofing focus almost entirely on keeping people safe on the coasts.
People hold artwork of various marine life and youth during a rally celebrating a recent federal court ruling against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, in Vancouver, on Sept. 8, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

No quick resolution for the Trans Mountain pipeline

Contrary to what some have suggested, the uncertainty over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will be drawn out.
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound in 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Arctic isn’t prepared for more shipping traffic

New shipping opportunities are opening up in the Arctic as sea ice continues to recede. But travel is still dangerous and the region isn't equipped to deal with more vessel traffic.
Rising tides move closer to the dunes in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Sept. 13, 2018, as Hurricane Florence approaches the east coast. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Why hurricane forecasters can’t ‘politicize’ warnings

Don't believe the skeptics or the conspiracy theorists: Weather forecasters can't slant hurricane warnings to make political points.
Buildings damaged by Hurricane Maria are seen in Lares, Puerto Rico, October 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Hurricane Maria was partly a human-made disaster

Thousands died after Hurricane Maria, but it did not have to be that way. Early evidence should have led the government to a much stronger response.
A study finds that higher ozone levels correlate with slower performance times for college endurance athletes. Pavel1964

Ground-level ozone keeps damaging health

US ozone pollution has fallen in recent decades, but exposure to low levels of ozone still has serious effects on human health and well-being.
Assembling sandbags in Virginia Beach, Va., before Hurricane Florence’s arrival. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Social networks can save lives when disasters strike

Many factors can influence people to evacuate or stay in place when disasters loom. Research using Facebook posts suggests that people with broad social networks are more apt to get moving.
A line of protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota head to a unity rally on the west steps of the State Capitol in September 2016 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Protecting heritage is a human right

Development projects are claiming ancestral sites at alarming rates. This ineffective protection of Indigenous heritage is a violation of human rights.
Monitoring the flow of electrical power at the California Independent System Operator grid control center. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Can California become carbon-free by 2045?

A new law provides flexibility in terms of how the state can meet this new target for the electricity it consumes.

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