A growing number of U.S. dams are in poor condition — with potentially lethal results. But the latest WatchDog Opinion argues that equally troubling is that that information is kept secret from the public and journalists in a national database.
Planning & Growth
As drought continues to afflict the southwestern United States, New Mexico PBS correspondent and producer Laura Paskus writes that environmental journalists must bring home its impact on local communities, while translating the science, making the connection with climate change and holding public officials accountable. Plus, reporting resources and a reminder that the story is too big for any one journalist.
Millions of Americans rely on their own onsite wastewater treatment, commonly known as septic systems. And many of those systems are connected to private wells. But unless they are properly sited, designed, built and maintained, they can contaminate drinking water, bringing dangerous waterborne illnesses. The latest TipSheet explains how to turn this often ignored issue into a local story.
A recent study of global cropland expansion highlights several trends that are ripe with environmental news stories. One finding: New farm fields have taken over an area the size of Texas and California combined since the start of the century, an expansion primarily affecting biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems, with Africa leading the cropland boom. Freelancer Gabriel Popkin explores the latest data and the reporting possibilities.
The Biden administration, which has been making environmental justice a top goal, has released a new screening tool that complements existing environmental equity databases, but with especially strong attention to a range of categories like clean transit, clean water, housing issues, life expectancy and more (although, interestingly, not race). The latest Reporter’s Toolbox has a guide to the new screening tool.
Environmental journalists from around the country and beyond will gather in Houston later this month for the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 31st annual conference. Widely known as the energy capital of the world, this highly diverse city is an ideal place to drill down on the causes and consequences of climate change and other environmental issues of the day.
"With two Biden appointees, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is more likely to favor Democrats, who want it to respond to the booming demand for renewable energy."
Military bases typically have big impacts on surrounding communities, including on resource use and the environment. Now, a new U.S. Army climate strategy makes clear the military understands climate change will affect the bases themselves, with numerous ripple effects. The latest TipSheet outlines how reporters can find local stories on these new realities at bases around the country, including near you.
"Highway expansions tend to bring more greenhouse gas emissions. A few states are trying to change that dynamic, but it won’t be easy."