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.
"Minutes before Russian troops marched into Ukraine in late February, a satellite link connected to 5,800 wind turbines across Central Europe suddenly stopped working."
"Already far behind Asian manufacturers in building electric car batteries, U.S. automakers and their suppliers are racing to develop a new generation of batteries that are cheaper, can pack in more energy and charge faster."
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.
"For a few frenzied weeks, beekeepers from around the United States truck billions of honeybees to California to rent them to almond growers who need the insects to pollinate the state's most valuable crop."
"Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving a rare species of whale from extinction."
"The prospect of harnessing the power of the stars has moved a step closer to reality after scientists set a new record for the amount of energy released in a sustained fusion reaction."
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated its texting feature to help Americans find open shelters during disasters."
"Oil and gas regulators are assuring Texans the natural gas system will keep functioning this winter, saying they’ve done more than 3,000 inspections to check on it. What they’re not saying is many of those inspections found that gas production and transmission facilities can’t guarantee they’re prepared for another hard freeze."
Environmental journalist Khalid Bencherif struggled to bring the emergent effects of climate change to the attention of local audiences facing many other pressing problems. So he told a powerful story grounded in personal experience, traveling to his childhood home in Morocco’s Tafilalet region, where deepening drought is hitting the oases hard and driving many villagers from their homes.