Scientists refer to the time in which we now live as the Anthropocene epoch – one in which humans are exerting a tremendous influence upon the natural world. One of the ways in which we are doing that is in our cities and suburbs where creatures are evolving through fast-paced natural selection to deal with our presence.
The phenomenon of urban heat islands has been well known since the 19th century. The materials from which city buildings and roads are made reflect much less solar radiation and absorb more of it than the vegetation they have replaced. The absorbed energy is then radiated in the form of heat into the surrounding air making cities warmer.
A comprehensive study has confirmed what has been widely believed in the scientific community and in popular reports for years: spring is arriving earlier and the further north you go, the more pronounced is the effect.
Air pollution in cities is a global problem that has reached crisis proportions in places like China and India. In our country, since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, there has been a great deal of effort exerted in controlling pollution from vehicles. A combination of pollution-limiting changes to engines, fuels, and pollution control systems has significantly reduced the amount of air pollution associated with the transportation sector.
Protecting biodiversity is a critical challenge facing humanity. Global vertebrate populations – from elephants to amphibians – declined by 58% from 1970 to 2012 and losses are expected to reach 67% in the next two years. Think about it: at least two-thirds of all vertebrate animals on earth have vanished over the lifetime of anyone fifty years old or over.
Los Angeles has a tremendous thirst for electric power and is always trying to find new sources. On December 1, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began buying all the power generated by the brand-new 24 MW Tungsten Mountain geothermal power plant located in Churchill County in Nevada’s Great Basin region.
Taking the bus in crowded cities is a good way to reduce overall traffic, save money on gas, and do a good turn for the environment. Unfortunately, bus riders often are exposed to large amounts of pollution in the process.
The federal government now appears to be headed down the path of not honoring America’s commitments to tackle global warming, but many of the country’s cities and states as well as its corporations have no intention of breaking our promises to the world.
Those of us who grew up in Los Angeles are quite familiar with the L.A. River. It’s not much of a river at all. Just a 51-mile-long concrete drainage ditch that shows up from time to time in movies like The Italian Job and Terminator 2.
Los Angeles has decided to replace a major gas-burning power plant with an energy storage device which, if not exceeded by another before it is completed, will be the world’s largest storage battery.
For the past 17 years, the American Lung Association has analyzed data from official air quality monitors to compile the State of the Air report. The State of the Air 2016, which was released late last month, revealed some troubling statistics about the health of the air here in the United States.
Much of the public discourse about pollution is focused on the long-term consequences of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are still some who doubt that such consequences are really in the offing or that our actions are responsible in any case.