Fresno, California and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley have some of the nation’s highest levels of fine particle air pollution.
AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian
A new study shows that while fine particle air pollution has declined nationwide over the past 40 years, the health and environmental benefits haven't been shared evenly.
Many Americans had trouble paying their energy bills before COVID-19, and the current recession is making the problem worse.
Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
A new study estimates that $22 billion to $30 billion dollars per year needs to be spent to maintain forests and reduce the likelihood of a pathogen jumping from wildlife to humans.
City streets were built to accommodate cars, but the COVID-19 pandemic has scrambled our transport needs. Many cities are moving to make streets more people-friendly and less car-centric.
A new UN report shows that hunger and food insecurity are rising worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic is adding to this trend, but is not the major driver.
Pandemic precautions have given new life to disposable plastic products, which the industry claims are more 'hygienic' than reusables. But critics say there's no scientific evidence this is so.
After trying to remove street vendors from its cities for years, China is supporting them to help jump-start its economy. An urban scholar explains why other cities should do the same.
Hip food offerings can signal that a neighborhood is gentrifying – especially when they repackage traditional foods for wealthy white eaters.
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted interest in home gardening. Three scientists who garden explain some basic methods for controlling common insects and microbes that can spoil your crop.
Energy companies are marketing a new fuel: 'renewable' natural gas. But it's not the same from a climate change perspective as wind or solar energy.
Fast-food restaurants can be comforting places, but when they saturate communities, they crowd out healthy food sources and leave residents less nourished.
From June through October, it's not unusual for huge Saharan dust plumes to blow across the Atlantic. They can darken skies but also bring calmer weather and electric sunsets. Here's how they form.
The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as the planet as a whole, with serious consequences. Scientists have been warning about this for decades.
Genetic information that could help finger the next infectious threat is stored in museums around the world.
The COVID-019 pandemic has boosted use of disposable packaging and personal protective equipment, at the same time that many recycling programs are facing budget cuts. The upshot: More plastic trash.
In the 1800s, Americans hunted many wild species near or into extinction. Then in the early 1900s, the US shifted from uncontrolled consumption of wildlife to conservation. Could Asia follow suit?
Hurricane and tornado winds spin in circles, but there's another, equally dangerous storm type where winds barrel straight ahead. They're called derechos, and are most common in summer.
The Trump administration is rolling back environmental regulations, claiming it's good for the economy. But research shows that conservation is better both for public health and for job creation.
Understanding sea ice loss requires expensive and difficult expeditions. Scientists have developed a new model that predicts the growth of small ponds on sea ice more efficiently.
Frogs are harvested as food by the millions every year. A new study shows that uncontrolled frog hunting could drive some populations to extinction by midcentury.
Cuba's sustainable approach to farming has protected its rivers from the kind of nutrient pollution that impairs many US waterways.
There's growing interest in making the US food system more resilient and flexible, but soil – the origin of nearly everything we eat – is often left out of the picture.
Many Native American tribes are reporting high COVID-19 infection rates. State and federal agencies are impeding tribes' efforts to handle the pandemic themselves.
Small-scale gold mining operations in developing countries are major sources of toxic mercury pollution, using techniques that haven't changed much since the California Gold Rush 150 years ago.
Net zero energy buildings produce at least as much energy as they use. Designing whole net zero campuses and communities takes the energy and climate benefits to a higher level.
Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of many great North American city parks, understood that ready access to nature made cities healthier places to live.
Extreme weather events prompt people to move, a trend that could accelerate in a warming climate. But the ability to migrate internally in the US depends largely on economic status.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some critics say livestock farms promote diseases that spread from animals to humans. An animal scientist explains how well-run farms work to keep that from happening.
With national parks closed in many parts of North America, now is the time to rethink how we protect natural areas.
From Nairobi to Los Angeles, pandemic lockdowns have cleared pollution from the skies. But those blue vistas may be temporary, and shutdowns aren't slowing climate change.
The US faces a high risk of hurricanes and other disasters this year that could leave thousands of people in need of shelter. COVID-19 will make those disasters more dangerous to manage.
After a 5-year review, the EPA is leaving US standards for fine particle air pollution unchanged, even though recent studies suggest that tightening them could save thousands of lives yearly.
Warmer waters, heavier storms and nutrient pollution are a triple threat to Great Lakes cities' drinking water. The solution: Cutting nutrient releases and installing systems to filter runoff.
One way that farms can handle shortages of protective gear for workers is by switching to less-toxic pest control methods.
Tomanowos, aka the Willamette Meteorite, may be the world's most interesting rock. Its story includes catastrophic ice age floods, theft of Native American cultural heritage and plenty of human folly.
Climate change is making extreme weather events, both hot and cold, more frequent across the Great Lakes region. Weatherizing low-income residents' homes is an important way to prepare.
Office buildings have been left mostly empty for weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving standing water in pipes where harmful organisms can grow. What happens when those buildings reopen?
April 22, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which catalyzed action to protect the environment not just in the US but internationally.
Wildfire smoke makes it harder for firefighters' bodies to fight off viral invaders. But firefighting conditions make the usual protective measures nearly impossible.
The US is gradually shifting to lower-carbon energy sources, but the COVID-19 pandemic, an oil price crash and a likely recession are big speed bumps.
The value that bats provide to humans by pollinating crops and eating insects is far greater than harm from virus transmission – which is mainly caused by human actions.
Water is essential for health, economic well-being and social equity, but too many people around the world still don't have access to clean drinking water and sanitation.
Most commercial hand sanitizers are mainly alcohol, but forget about hitting the liquor store and mixing your own.
Releasing balloons at weddings and other celebrations is festive, until they break into pieces and become plastic pollution. A citizen science project is spotlighting the problem.
Declaring an issue is a national emergency lets presidents act quickly and with few constraints. But once they get this kind of power, it's hard to take it back – and it can produce bad policies.
Insect populations are falling as what they eat becomes more like iceberg lettuce and less like kale.
Millions of Americans feed wild birds, especially in winter and spring. Studies show that this can influence birds' health and behavior in surprising ways.
In the Southeast US, tornadoes strike at night more often than in other regions. This poses special challenges for getting early warnings to the public.
Climate change, globalization and concerns about rat poison soon could drive rat infestations to levels not seen in centuries. One way to curb them is getting humans to stop wasting food.
Native Brazilians are among the Amazon's most effective defenders against logging and mining, because they're fighting not just for the environment but for their people's very survival.
Dams built to hold enormous quantities of toxic mining waste have a long history of spills. Decisions in the Pacific Northwest threaten three free-flowing rivers there.
Four out of 5 Americans live in cities, so urban planning can make a big difference in our lifestyles – especially if it promotes healthy diets and physical activity.
North America's prairies once were home to millions of wild animals. Today, most of that land is farmed or developed, but some grasslands have never been plowed and could be rewilded.
US military leaders have to plan for operations all over the world, so they can't afford to ignore climate change or debate its causes.
Bangladesh is on the front lines of climate change, but factors including money, gender and religion make some Bangladeshis much more vulnerable than others. Can it find inclusive ways to cope?
According to a new study, about four in 10 air pollution deaths in the US are due to emissions crossing state lines.
Golden Rice – a controversial genetically modified product designed to combat malnutrition – has been approved as safe in the Philippines. But key questions remain unanswered.
Storing more carbon in soil helps slow climate change and makes croplands more productive. But there are two kinds of soil carbon that are both important, but function very differently.
The Trump administration has cut funding for infectious disease research and reduced high-level staffing for global health security, leaving the nation less prepared for major outbreaks.
Earth's biggest rivers are streams of warm water vapor in the atmosphere that can cause huge rain and snowfall over land. Climate change is making them longer, wetter and stronger.
A new generation of ranchers is exploring sustainable ways to raise cattle, sheep and goats in California. Some are grazing herds on fire-prone lands, reducing wildfire risks and improving soils.
Starting Feb. 6, 2020, California farmers will be barred from using chlorpyrifos on their crops. The Trump administration says more study is needed, but other states are also moving ahead.
Both opinions the three-judge panel handed down warned of a potential climate catastrophe. Only one judge said the courts have an active role to play in making the government change course.
Icelandic whalers have killed more than 1,700 whales since a global ban was adopted in 1986 – up to 2019, when no hunts took place. Is Iceland quietly getting out of the business?
Puerto Rico's January earthquakes came after many foreshocks and have been followed by numerous aftershocks. Scientists are studying these sequences to improve earthquake forecasting.
Like many plants, onions have defenses to ward off creatures that may want to eat them. Their secret weapon is a kind of natural tear gas.
To manage plastic wastes, nations first need to know what they have and where it's coming from. A case study from Trinidad and Tobago shows how this approach can help identify solutions.
As well as a stark warning about climate change, the disaster underlines the importance of wildlife monitoring.
The EPA is considering a rule that would limit what kinds of science regulators can use in setting rules. A scholar explains how this shift would bar his work mapping child lead poisoning.
Do public lands in the West belong to Westerners, or all Americans? Moving a federal agency's headquarters from Washington, DC to Colorado is the latest skirmish in a longtime struggle.
Cities and states are considering limits on single-family zoning, which experts say promotes sprawl and separation. But Americans aren't all headed for duplexes yet.
A report calls for banning the use of emotion recognition technology. An AI and computer vision researcher explains the potential and why there's growing concern.
What does it mean to call a nonfood product like lipstick organic? Federal regulators allow such claims, but have set few standards defining them.
2019 was a big year for dire warnings about the state of the planet, but crises can spur solutions.
About 24,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest have been deforested over the last decade.
Sand may seem abundant when your toes are buried in it, but it's becoming scarce along many coastlines around the world.
Activists wanted nations to make bigger climate commitments at the Madrid COP-25 meeting, but the meeting's real goal was agreeing on rules for pricing carbon pollution.
Countries are not on track to meet Paris Agreement goals. A climate researcher argues that a range of technologies that take CO2 out of the air are needed.
A manufacturing engineer describes the concept for a technology that could lead to more efficient production – and perhaps a tool to revive US manufacturing.
Love it or hate it, winter means snow and ice for much of the US. In many places, though, snow is becoming a scarce resource.
Due to inefficiencies in global energy systems, energy falls short of even making it to the consumer, often lost in the form of waste heat.
Government agencies have detailed plans for responding to disasters, but one piece doesn't get enough attention: cleaning up the mess that's left behind.
It's now officially the end of hurricane season, but the rebuilding of the Bahamas continues, slowed by the risks imposed by a history of colonialism and class division.
If you're craving that freshly-cut tree smell, shop early and don't be too choosy.
Along with climate change and drought, invasive grasses are promoting wildfires across the US, even in areas that don't normally burn.
An animal's poop may seem like something to avoid, but it's full of information about the creature that left it there.
Democratic candidates are keen to burnish their climate credentials by calling for grand electric vehicle plans. But there are both economic and political reasons for going slowly.
As the effects of climate change become clearer and more ominous, fossil fuel companies face a choice: Defy warnings of catastrophic climate change, or envision their roles in a post-carbon world.
Americans recycle only about one-third of the solid waste we generate. A behavioral scientist argues that with the right motivators, we could do more.
President Trump has confirmed that the US will leave the Paris Agreement on climate change on the earliest allowable date: Nov. 4, 2020. Will this hobble efforts to slow global warming?
Emperor Penguins thrive in harsh conditions, but a new study shows that their fate depends on human action to slow global warming and associated loss of sea ice.
The Trump administration has moved to allow electric bikes on all federally owned trails where normal bikes are allowed. A public lands scholar weighs in on the issues this could cause.
Scientists have tracked endangered species for years. Now they're figuring out how to highlight animals and plants that have recovered – but what does that mean?
Economic and political trends are driving a shift away from coal. What kind of assistance do coal workers and communities need?
Brazilian evangelicals are politically conservative, but they still believe in climate change. Turning them into climate activists, however, will be a challenge for the environmentalist movement.
Long before Apple vs. Microsoft or Facebook vs. Google, there was Edison vs. Westinghouse.
Farmers worldwide say Monsanto's policy of charging for every use of its genetically modified seeds violates their planting rights. But judges in these patent law cases aren't so sure.
Scientists who were appointed to advise the EPA on air pollution kept meeting independently after the agency dissolved their panel. They say current regulations aren't strict enough.
Instead of suppressing wildfire, the Karuk Tribe in the Pacific Northwest is using it as an integral part of its climate change management plan. Federal, state and local agencies are taking note.
What can we do as individuals to help save the planet? Acting locally is satisfying because we can see the results, but a geographer argues that large-scale solutions often make the most difference.