Due To Extended Drought, This Year’s Fire Season Could Be Worse Than Last

Due To Extended Drought, This Year’s Fire Season Could Be Worse Than Last

Last year’s wildfire season was exceptionally bad — more than 4.2 million acres burned in California alone in 2020. Experts suspect that this year could also bring severe wildfires, given that 40% of the West is being classified as being in “extreme” to “exceptional” drought. 

Why this Matters:  The West has had seasons of drought throughout its history, but with climate change and a boom in population growth, an increase in water demand could make the West even drier as we confront the reality of climate change.

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Study Finds That Half of All Methane Emissions Come from Aquatic Ecosystems

Study Finds That Half of All Methane Emissions Come from Aquatic Ecosystems

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new paper published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience found that up to half of the global methane emissions come from aquatic ecosystems and man-made water sources like flooded agricultural land, ponds, wetlands, reservoirs, and salt marshes. Experts say that these emissions have gone uncounted for too long […]

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Wisconsin Governor Declares State of Emergency as Wildfires Burn

Wisconsin Governor Declares State of Emergency as Wildfires Burn

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer On Monday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to rampant wildfires consuming 1,400 acres of land in just the first three months of 2021. As historic (and maybe permanent) droughts move further east, Wisconsin finds itself in a perilous situation. Nearly the entire state is at a […]

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FEMA Announces Flood Insurance Rate Changes to Improve Equitability

FEMA Announces Flood Insurance Rate Changes to Improve Equitability

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late last week a new pricing structure for its federal flood insurance program.  The federal government has been subsidizing flood insurance for people in areas defined by the government as flood-prone — the new pricing takes into account the actual risk to people’s homes.

Why This Matters:  The prior system was inequitable and FEMA says its new system will mean that low-income people with less valuable homes will pay only their fair share.

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Suez Canal Jam Will Take Months to Sort, Many Live Animals Likely Perished on Ships

Suez Canal Jam Will Take Months to Sort, Many Live Animals Likely Perished on Ships

The Evergiven is no longer stuck in the Suez Canal, but world shipping is hardly back to normal. In just six days, the massive container ship held up almost $60 billion in global trade.  Supply chains across the world are delayed and off schedule, and the incident has economists and maritime experts across the globe reevaluating the efficacy of the current shipping economy.  

Why this Matters: The pandemic has rocketed demand for goods (and vaccines) to all-time highs, but bottlenecks at many major ports and slow shipping speed could slow the global economy just as it begins to recover from COVID-19.

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NASA Finds Direct Evidence of Human-Caused Climate Change

NASA Finds Direct Evidence of Human-Caused Climate Change

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer While scientists have long agreed that human activity was the biggest driver of climate change, there hasn’t yet been evidence from direct observation (the gold standard of scientific research) until now.  NASA has completed the first study of its kind, which has calculated the recent causes of climate change […]

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