The vast Colorado River, recently in the news over a troubled drought deal, is at the heart of numerous environmental problems in the American West, where water is scarce and the legal complexities of water rights voluminous. The latest Issue Backgrounder offers an explainer on the story, which involves at least seven states, the federal government, Native American tribes, a hornet’s nest of irrigation districts and even Mexico.
The fierce contest over the Trump border wall has critical environmental implications, both local and regional, per the latest TipSheet. A key suit against the Trump emergency declaration was filed by environmental groups and plans for a border barrier may harm significant wildlife habitat, as well as numerous migrating species, including some that are endangered. Get the back story and why it matters, along with story ideas and reporting resources.
"Carrizo cane is the border wall no one wants. A pernicious plant on the banks of the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border, carrizo cane (Arundo donax) grows as much as 30 feet tall and so thick that people entering the country illegally can easily hide in it. Border patrol officers can’t see into it. Infrared signals can’t penetrate it."
"he Sea Shepherd environmental group published a video Thursday showing an attack by about two dozen small fishing boats on the vessel Farley Mowat in Mexico’s Gulf of California."
Environmental justice-related stories are expected to get more attention in the news media in 2019. But that’s not because the challenge of protecting marginalized communities from lopsided environmental impacts is being met. This week’s TipSheet explains, in a look-ahead to environmental justice stories making the news, the many forms the problem takes, the many communities affected and the emerging notion of “climate justice.”
"Thousands of people were evacuated, buildings boarded up and classes canceled on Mexico’s Pacific coast as Hurricane Willa threatened to batter tourist resorts with high winds and heavy rains on Tuesday."
Plastic straws might have quickly become this summer’s bogeyman, with bans by Starbucks, hotel chains, resorts and some big cities. But as this week’s TipSheet points out, straws are only a part of the massive marine litter problem facing the world’s oceans. Here’s how to put recent straw bans into broader perspective.
Smart coverage of the ongoing hurricane season means reporting not just people stories, but numbers stories too. This week’s TipSheet explains and offers half a dozen metrics, including pressure, width, surge and rainfall, to better track these extreme storms. Plus, should there be a “Category 6?”
The estuaries that proliferate across the United States can be hard to define — and protect. But their role in a healthy environment makes them a crucial focus of good reporting. The latest Issue Backgrounder explores their importance, the many challenges they face, and how to track the agencies and programs meant to protect them.
A new book on the Gulf of Mexico earns kudos for the balance and passion of its tone, as well as for its historical storytelling about this important ecosystem and the overfishing, oil spills, hurricanes, explosive growth and poor land-use decisions it faces. BookShelf reviews Jack Davis’ “The Gulf.”