“Into the Wildfire”
A lightning bolt blazes through the sky in California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park. It’s already ignited a red fir by the time Mike Klimek, the park’s head firefighter, even hears the crack of thunder. Klimek is faced with a difficult choice: douse the blaze where it stands and let the surrounding wood and underbrush build up for the next time a spark comes through the forest or let the current flames take their course and risk another mega-blaze like the Yosemite Rim Fire. Paul Tullis digs into the growing body of science helping forest managers across the United States face this unenviable decision every day. New York Times Magazine
“The Price of Precious”
Hey, I love my iPhone and laptop as much as the next guy, but it’s important to remember that affordable consumer electronics don’t grow on trees. In fact, they come out of the ground, born from elements like gold, tin, and tantalum. Unfortunately, many of these raw materials come from war-torn regions like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he who owns the mine owns the power. International efforts to regulate the trade and cut off funding for rebel groups have met with some success, but as Jeffrey Gettleman reports, there’s still a long, hard road ahead. National Geographic
“David 5, Goliath 0 (And Counting)”
From the Keystone XL pipeline and ocean acidification to the mass extinction of species, the world's environmental woes sometimes seem insurmountable and make us feel like there’s nothing left to do but build a bio-dome and wait out the apocalypse. Well friends, before you seal the hatch, consider lending an ear to George Black. He’s been following a few stories guaranteed to instill hope in your discouraged hearts—tales of underdogs going to bat against massive oil companies and mining operations and coming out the victors. For a day may come when the courage of environmentalists fails, but it is not this day. This day we fight. OnEarth
“How Ronald Reagan Turned Out the Lights on Solar Power”
In an excerpt from his new book Let It Shine, John Perlin talks about the “schizophrenic” approach the United States government has taken to solar power. On the one hand, we’ve pumped loads of cash into photovoltaic technology for military satellites. On the other, we’ve had a tendency to balk at investing in solar tech for civilian applications. What accounts for such a fractured energy philosophy? As you might have guessed, it has little to do with hard science and a lot to do with politics. Pacific Standard
Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This.
“Queen of the Manta Rays”
You probably don’t know much about giant manta rays. Well guess what, neither did anybody before Andrea Marshall started getting all up in their grills. Check out this presentation to see how one “girl who likes fish” can change everything we know about a species. National Geographic Live!
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