Solving California’s water woes is as much about messy politics as it is about praying for rain. As the future gets hotter and drier, the state is trying to figure out how to manage dwindling water and deliver it to everyone who wants it, including growing cities and desperate farmers. Now a new board game lets players channel their inner Jerry Brown: How do you keep everyone happy when there isn’t enough rain to go around?
One year ago, eight young climate activists (ranging from 9 to 14 years old) petitioned Washington State’s Department of Ecology (“the Department”) to adopt and implement stricter greenhouse gas emissions regulations based on the most current and best available climate science. When the Department denied the petition last August, the petitioners sued to appeal the denial. The activists’ efforts are part of a campaign of similar legal cases coordinated by the non-profit Our Children’s Trust, through which the youths are calling for urgent action to protect Washington’s natural resources for current and future generations of children.
On Tuesday, June 23, a court decision ordered the Department to reconsider their denial of the petition. Effectively, Zoe & Stella Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology has become the first case in the United States in which a court ordered a state agency to consider the best available climate science when setting greenhouse gas emissions restrictions. King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill issued the decision, and the young petitioners were represented by attorney Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center.
Life and breath: How air pollution affects public health in the Twin Cities is a report that analyzed air quality data from the MPCA and health data from the MDH to estimate the effects of air pollution on health outcomes for people in the seven-county metro area in each zip code. The report used data from 2008 because that was the most recent data available that allowed for linking air pollution and health outcomes. The study found that in 2008:
About 6-13% of all metro residents who died, and about 2-5% of all metro residents who visited the hospital or emergency room for heart and lung problems, did so partly because of exposure to fine particles in the air or ground-level ozone.
Groups most affected by air pollution were populations with higher rates of heart and lung disease, including people of color, the elderly, children with uncontrolled asthma, and people in poverty.
In five years, Scotland plans to run on nothing but renewable energy. The country’s few remaining coal mines are shutting down, leaving a question: How should towns deal with the ugly scars left behind by abandoned mines?
Near the village of Sanquhar, the answer is a massive, 55-acre work of land art. Looking like a modern Stonehenge, it builds a miniature multiverse from 2,000 boulders found on the site.
Fountains were once a revered feature of urban life, a celebration of the tremendous technological and political capital it takes to provide clean drinking water to a community. Today, they’re in crisis. Though no one tracks the number of public fountains nationally, researchers say they’re fading from America’s parks, schools and stadiums. “Water fountains have been disappearing from public spaces throughout the country over the last few decades,”lamentedNancy Stoner, an administrator in the Environmental Protection Agency’s water office. Water scholar Peter Gleickwritesthat they’ve become “an anachronism, or even a liability.” Jim Salzman, author of“Drinking Water: A History,”says they’re “going the way of pay phones.”
Danish artist Thomas Dambo utilizes scrap wood and leftover construction materials to fabricate sculptures that are fantastically gigantic. While one may imagine the sculptures to be quite intimidating, they actually produce the opposite effect. Many of Dambo’s pieces playfully interact with their surroundings and, as a result, they exude a whimsical personality.