What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do with Global Warming?
Refrigeration accounts for 15 percent of energy consumption worldwide. To boot, fridges and freezers emit Freon and other greenhouse gases in significant amounts. But as Nicola Twilley reports, the refrigeration boom is only just beginning in China. As the world’s most populous nation embraces cold drinks and fresher food, the impact on the global climate could be catastrophic. New York Times Magazine
Caviar’s Last Stand
Everyone knows the world’s best caviar comes from Russia. But what many folks don’t realize is that a lot of Russian caviar comes from Missouri. Michelle Nijhuis reports on how stinky sturgeon eggs became a status symbol that is now threatening the survival of wild fish populations on two continents. Medium
High and Dry
One thing is clear from Sharman Apt Russell’s review of Unreal City by Judith Nies—putting a city in the middle of the desert is just, well, stupid. Cities require massive amounts of natural resources, which in the cases of Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas involved the government uprooting numerous Native American tribes in order to steal the coal beneath their lands. Oh yeah, and water. Don’t even get me started on where the water comes from. OnEarth
A Watershed Moment
The U.S. and Canadian governments built the St. Lawrence Seaway, a series of locks, channels, and dams, in 1959. The seaway opened up the Great Lakes to trade with the rest of the world, but also made them vulnerable to exotic species that hitched rides in ship hulls and cargo. Dan Egan visits the seaway 55 years later, when the lakes are battling against dozens of biological invaders. The foreigners, including zebra and quagga mussels, are out-competing native lake dwellers, triggering botulism outbreaks, and poisoning the water supply with massive algal blooms. Journal-Sentinel
Tired of reading yet? Hear and watch this.
Survival of the foreign-ist: Human encroachment and its invasive stowaways strike again in this episode of Radiolab. Sit back and listen up: The ecological paradise that helped Charles Darwin refine the theory of evolution is in trouble. Goats are literally eating the forested habit of the islands’ tortoises and foreign fly larvae are crawling into the eyes of baby finches to feed on their brains. NPR
Hell on wheels: The amount of crude oil moving by rail through the United States and Canada has shot up more than 4,000 percent (4000%!) since 2008. And more and more often, those trains derail and explode—the worst example of which is the blast that killed nearly 50 people last summer in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Canada. Vice
Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads
Like this article? Donate to NRDC to support OnEarth's groundbreaking nonprofit journalism.