climate change

Climate change uncertainty hurts everyone

Tarik Benmarhnia didn’t plan on ending up here, in an office overlooking the pier at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As a young student in France, he started out studying environmental engineering, with an interest in soil decontamination. During his schooling, he developed an interest in environmental justice. That eventually drove him to pursue a Ph.D. in epidemiology. Most stories about climate change…


Why won’t scientific evidence change the minds of Loch Ness monster true believers?

You may have noticed a curious recent announcement: An international research team plans to use state-of-the-art DNA testing to establish once and for all whether the Loch Ness monster exists. And for those locally, check out The Grapevine’s consideration of our local monster wannabe, Hodgee, the friendly Lake Hodges Moster, posted  here… Regardless of the results, it’s unlikely the test will change the mind of…



Coastal wetlands protect property, study says

In coastal communities prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, people typically turn to engineered solutions for protection: levees, sea walls and the like. But a natural buffer in the form of wetlands may be the more cost-effective solution, according to new research from the University of California San Diego. In the most comprehensive study of its sort to date, UC San Diego economists show that…


Electric vehicles, within reason, benefit US

Climate plans are the order of the day in the presidential primary campaign because carbon pollution is a global threat of unique proportions. But it’s worth asking whether candidates’ plans are based in the reality of the climate, the economy and the election. All three dimensions must come together for any climate plan to achieve its goals – and this is especially true when the…


Dr. Bronner’s path to 100% renewable power

Soap, bees, teachers, farmers, community “There is an urgent need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, dramatically reduce wasted energy, and significantly shift our power supplies from oil, coal, and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.” – Bill McKibben, Environmentalist “I’m convinced that if every home had solar panels on the roof, we could create all the energy we…


California is living America’s dystopian future

The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too. Utopias are the good places of our imagination, while dystopias are the places where everything goes terribly wrong, where evil triumphs and nature destroys her own. Frequently utopias and dystopias are the same place, because perfection may not be possible without someone suffering. Ursula LeGuin writes about…


Many people can’t afford wildfire insurance

California’s relatively quiet 2019 fire season ended in October, with serious wildfires in both Northern and Southern California. There are many things Californians can do to prepare for these blazes, but one option – taking out wildfire insurance – is out of reach for many of them. For example, after massive fires in 2018, an estimated 350,000 Californians could no longer get property and casualty…


Treating wildfires as a public health issue

Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue. Health effects from fires close to or in populated areas range from smoke exposure to drinking water contaminated by chemicals like benzene to limited options for the medically vulnerable. These kinds of threats are becoming major, statewide concerns. Many people still think of…


Climate Action Plans: A Tale of Two Cities

A funeral was held last month at the site of Iceland’s Okjökull glacier. A century ago it covered nearly six square miles, measuring 164 ft. deep. Today, it’s less than one square mile, 49 feet thick. The shrinking sheet of ice can no longer be called a glacier. A tombstone plaque was placed at the site. A Letter to the Future  This monument is to…