Environment and Health

Francis vs. Washington

Francis vs. Washington

Pope Francis, the humble yet bold leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, has offered an inspiring 21st century vision to all people. It's a vision that's been sorely missing in the halls of power. In an encyclical focused on the environment, he details how we...

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Solar-Powered Friars

Solar-Powered Friars

If you visit the Franciscan Friars Conventual of Ellicott City, Maryland, you’ll notice a large solar array standing in one of their fields. The friars have dramatically reduced their electricity bill, but that’s not the primary reason they invested in renewable...

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5 Key Things Pope Francis Says about Climate Change

5 Key Things Pope Francis Says about Climate Change

Pope Francis just released an “encyclical,” a fancy word for a sort of intimate letter that is meant to serve as a guide to understanding our personal relationship to some of the most complex issues of the day through religious doctrine. This particular encyclical is...

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A Noxious Double Whammy

A Noxious Double Whammy

Here's the good news: President Barack Obama has committed to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17 percent by 2020. The bad news? A rise in fracking for natural gas could make the United States fail to keep this pledge. Unfortunately, a big...

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Taking Our Sweet Crude Time

Taking Our Sweet Crude Time

After a quarter-century of buzz over global warming, the climate talkers are at it again, doing whatever it is they do. Visitors to the next big climate change summit, in an act of glorious irony, will pack Paris-bound jets flown by Air France — one of the meeting’s...

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We’re All Taking Dirty Pictures

We’re All Taking Dirty Pictures

Maybe you're not the type to take dirty pictures with your phone. But even if you only snap photos of your dogs and what’s for dinner, there's a good chance your images could be up to some pretty dirty business. When you post a photo on Facebook or Instagram, that...

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A Green-Energy Founding Father

A Green-Energy Founding Father

When historians get around to identifying who greened the national grid, Scott Sklar belongs on their list. The energy consultant and former solar lobbyist with a wild white beard has spent more than 40 years bolstering industries that tread more lightly than fossil...

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Faking It While the World Burns

Faking It While the World Burns

Rex Tillerson, of all people, just did the climate movement a big favor. He didn’t hand the Sierra Club tens of millions of dollars to fight the coal industry like former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Nor did the chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil follow former...

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This Spill Hits Close to Home

This Spill Hits Close to Home

The recent oil spill in Santa Barbara, California hit home for me in a painful way. As a southern Californian for many years now, I take any excuse to head up the coast to Santa Barbara I can get. It's a particularly beautiful stretch of pristine coastline, populated...

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A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

A Fossil-Fueled Fantasy

Newfangled carbon-capture power plants supposedly burn coal without poisoning the planet. They don’t. Extracting coal from the ground and disposing of its toxic byproducts makes a dirty mess no matter how it’s burned. But this “clean coal” ruse is conjuring up...

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