Hero of the Week: Alex Weber, teen who discovered a huge source of ocean plastic pollution

Hero of the Week: Alex Weber, teen who discovered a huge source of ocean plastic pollution

Two years ago, a 16-year old diver named Alex Weber was swimming off Pebble Beach near Carmel, CA when she discovered something truly startling: thousands of golf balls from 5 local golf courses rotting on the ocean floor.

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Increasingly frequent wildfires threaten California’s shrublands

Increasingly frequent wildfires threaten California’s shrublands

California’s chaparral ecosystem is the state’s iconic shrub-dominant vegetation that covers broad areas of foothills stretching across the state but particularly southern California. Chaparral wilderness occupies more than 8.5 million acres and the drought-resistant and woody shrubs and as the California Chaparral Institute explained, provides essential protection against erosion, allows underground water supplies to recharge, moderates local climates, provides important habitat for an interesting assortment of animals. Yet because of the increasing frequency of major wildfires in California, these shrublands are coming further under threat.

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Trump threatens to pull FEMA money from wildfire victims

Trump threatens to pull FEMA money from wildfire victims

Earlier this week President Trump tweeted out the above tweet and while many of us have ceased to be truly stunned by anything the president says and tweets, him stating that he won’t give government aid to desperate Americans struggling to survive is deeply troubling. Trump’s claim that “forest management” will magically stop the hellish infernos that California experiences each summer has been disproven numerous times but by actual fire scientists.

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California looks to more distributed solar

California looks to more distributed solar

We wrote recently that after the massively destructive wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018, the state’s largest electric utility, PG&E, was facing criticisms that large utilities have become an obsolete way to provide power to people in a state prone to wildfires. The argument is that PG&E is incapable of managing risk and its response […]

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Toyota goes “pedal to the metal” on electric vehicle plans

Toyota goes “pedal to the metal” on electric vehicle plans

Toyota Motor Corporation announced last month that it intends to speed its development and introduction of additional electric vehicles (hybrids, battery electric models and fuel-cell electric), with a goal of having every Toyota and Lexus model include an “electrified” option by 2025. 

Why This Matters:  As we pointed out in another ODP story today, vehicle emissions are rising in the U.S. again — which is very bad news.  This announcement by Toyota shows that even though the Trump Administration is rolling back the clean car standards, the auto industry is going to move in the right direction.  Increasingly, U.S. consumers want to wean themselves off conventional gasoline cars and the market will reflect that.  What is needed is a full suite of electric options — more electric vehicles of all types, sizes, configurations and prices — and more companies like Toyota, Tesla and Volvo that are moving rapidly in that direction.  The future is most definitely electric.

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Climate change back on the agenda in Washington

Climate change back on the agenda in Washington

The new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives was sworn in last week and they’ve already set an agenda for hearings addressing climate change. Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) as well as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) have already scheduled hearings that will put climate change back into the political dialogue on Capitol Hill.

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