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A child runs through trees left by Extinction Rebellion demonstrators in Westminster on Oct. 8, 2019 in London, England. Peter Summers / Getty Images News / Getty Images

By Lora Shinn

Sex. Drugs. Global extinction. When difficult subjects come up, it's not easy being a parent — especially when that subject is climate change.

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The Little Goose Dam on the Snake River near Starbuck, Washington. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

By Jodi Helmer

Each year, millions of tons of grain make their way along what was once one of our wildest river systems, the Columbia-Snake River. Four dams — the Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental and Ice Harbor — erected between 1955 and 1975, ease the way for massive barges bound for ports on the West Coast, and ultimately, markets in Asia. Soybeans, wood products, mineral bulks, and automobiles also travel the river by barge. But outnumbering all other cargo is the soft white wheat grown by farmers from 11 states.

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By Rob Moore

As the planet heated up to record-breaking levels, the seas continued to rise and wildfires, storms, floods or other manifestations of climate change made headlines every single day, the stream of climate change literature turned into a deluge.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act on July 18, 2019 in New York City. Scott Heins / Getty Images

By Cullen Howe

When Governor Cuomo signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law in July 2019, it cemented New York State as a national leader in ramping up clean energy and the broader fight against climate change. In addition to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050, the law requires that the state obtain 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (and that it be emissions-free by 2040). No state has a more aggressive emissions reduction target.

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By Lara Ettenson

Reflecting on 2019, it is hard to grapple with the extent of this year's climate tragedies like massive wildfires and flooding. Yet even when things seem as dire as ever, there is continual news of progress, perseverance, and hope. And energy efficiency — the cheapest way to cut our energy waste and stave off climate change — is at the forefront of that progress and continues to be our planet's superhero, improving our health, creating high-quality jobs, and making our energy bills more affordable.

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People walk across the bridge near Little Raven Court in downtown Denver. Younger Americans increasingly prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images

By David B. Goldstein

Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of any country's plan to fight the climate crisis. It is the cheapest option available, and one that as often as not comes along with other benefits, such as job creation, comfort and compatibility with other key solutions such as renewable energy. This has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for at least a decade.

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By Claire O'Connor

Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.

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By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

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By Andrea Spacht Collins

It's been a big year for me: new name, new address, renewed sense of purpose about the need to tackle climate change now. As the holiday season approaches, I'm reminded that I couldn't have done any of these things on my own. I have a powerful community of friends who have supported me. And I can't wait to honor and celebrate them over Friendsgiving dinner this year.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Monday proposed to roll back safeguards that keep one of the nation's biggest industrial polluters — coal-burning power plants — from discharging harmful substances into the nation's waterways. In addition, the agency moved to extend deadlines for companies to stop using unlined toxic coal ash ponds, which are prone to spills and leaks that could contaminate groundwater.

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In a win for public health, the home improvement giant Lowe's announced that it will stop selling carpets and rugs containing toxic PFAS chemicals in the United States and Canada by January 2020. Home Depot recently made a similar commitment, signaling that stores are starting to take this health crisis seriously.

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