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.
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.
How are oil companies positioning themselves for a post-carbon world? So far, cautiously.
Electric cars gets lots of attention, but in the developing world, electric two-wheelers have the potential to spread quickly – if batteries continue to improve on performance and cost.
To save what’s left of nature on this increasingly human planet, conservation needs to become a top priority around the world, from the wildest of wildlands to the densest of cities.
Yerba mate is a wildly popular South American tea with a growing global market. Can this 'superfood' save Paraguay's tropical forests, too?
Take a look at the first high-resolution map of the US food supply chain.
Americans eat more meat on average than citizens of any other nation, but new survey findings show that plant-based meat products are winning fans across the US.
Investing in farming methods that improve lands and water, and in rural infrastructure and markets, could bring new prosperity to agricultural communities.
Hundreds of bishops, priests, missionaries and tribal leaders are at the Vatican for the Synod of the Amazon, a three-week meeting focused on the environmental crisis threatening Amazonian peoples.
As climate change intensifies the risk of wildfires in California, insurers are dropping coverage for many homeowners.
China is betting that a massive set of investments around the world will bring it economic prosperity and international political power.
All the Great Lakes are at, or close to, record highs. But it is us, not the water, that needs to move out of the way.
Two fire researchers argue that recent fires in Northern and Southern California show why health and social equity need to be part of fire preparedness.
Two scholars report on how conservation policies designed to protect reindeer are harming the nomadic Tsaatan people who rely on them.
The gravity and force of this Category 5 hurricane that lashed the Florida Panhandle and other Southern states may never have fully registered on the public’s radar.
Meat producers are lobbying in many states to keep the word 'meat' off labels of plant-based products like the Impossible Burger. But this may not clarify shoppers' choices.
In some places, the ocean is almost 7 miles deep. Scientists exploring the ocean floor have found strange sea creatures, bizarre geologic formations and records of Earth's history.
The Trump administration is supporting new mines in Alaska and Minnesota that many opponents say could devastate sensitive areas around them.
Wild things thrive in transmission pathways that crisscross states.
As climate change speeds up tropical storm cycles, rivers and bays have less time to process nutrients and pollutants that wash into them after each event.
Decarbonizing the global economy would help the climate change problem – but also many others. Would putting all those additional co-benefits center stage help drum up support for climate action?
Small-scale fisheries buffer poverty and hunger in coastal countries.
In just five Florida Panhandle counties, sea level rise could swamp more than 500 archaeological sites that tell the story of when and how Native Americans lived along the Gulf Coast.
California's new plan to fight global climate change is innovative. But it raises tricky ethical questions with no easy answers.
A new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes clear human-induced climate change threatens the health and function of the ocean and cryosphere - the frozen regions of the Earth.
A 2006 Supreme Court ruling created widespread confusion about which wetlands and other waters are federally protected. The Trump administration's latest action isn't likely to clear things up.
Reversing the damage from fires in Brazil's rainforest is not as simple as allowing trees to grow back. Decades of research shows how fires degrade their long-term health and utility.