People, planet, and the path ahead

A green response to urban flood risks

In this edition: How urban parks increasingly double as relief valves when extreme rains hit; Maine sees its future increasingly intertwined with a warming Arctic; the message behind an offshore drilling ban.

What we're writing

Ronier Golightly, a resident of the neighborhood near Viola Liuzzo Park in Detroit, visits the park in October 2016 as the city is improving the park's ability to absorb excess rain during heavy storms. The city is fitting the park with "bioswales" to filter rain through the soil into retention zones buried underground.
Zack Colman/The Christian Science Monitor | Caption

Cities enlist nature to tame rising flood risks

For our into-the-new-year edition, we begin with a story that emphasizes a simple but powerful point: Responding to the threat of climate change happens one step at a time, and one slice of the problem at a time. In this story from Detroit, the challenge in question is flooding, which tends to get worse as warming air absorbs more moisture. The Motor City is among those investing in "green infrastructure" that mimics wetlands to make at-risk neighborhoods more resilient. // Zack Colman

Maine eyes role as gateway to a warming Arctic

As climate change raises the prospect of more open Arctic waters, Maine sees the potential for a growing northward tilt in its economy and culture. Even if the Northwest Passage isn't exactly smooth sailing just yet, the opportunities are real and already emerging. // Henry Gass

Obama limits offshore oil, as 'Keep it in the Ground' idea rises

An action by the Obama White House promises to put vast areas off Atlantic and Arctic coasts off limits to drilling, without an easy path for reversal by the Trump administration. The move may reflect how a "Keep it in the Ground" movement has gained traction within the Democratic Party. // Zack Colman

Behind drilling bans, debate over dueling Arctic visions

The latest moves by the Obama administration and Canada's Justin Trudeau imply a growing focus on tourism and sustainability in a changing Arctic. That would be a controversial shift for a region where companies and communities have long sought prosperity through resource extraction. // Henry Gass

A victory for tribes: Obama moves to create Bears Ears National Monument

For many native Americans, the president’s move represented the latest advance in a growing effort to protect their traditional sacred lands – a struggle many say has also led them to reconnect with their traditions of spirituality. // Harry Bruinius

Nixon went to China. Can Trump do climate change?

Plenty of people on the political left want action to address climate change. But many people on the right do to; they just are wary of big government. Perhaps the time is ripe for an art-of-the-deal solution.  // Guest column by Republican former congressman Bob Inglis

What we're reading

Greenland poised to cash in on climate change

Maine (referenced above) isn't the only northerly locale where opportunities are shifting along with the climate. // The Guardian

Energy Department backs huge carbon storage effort

A Louisiana project focuses on "decarbonizing" petroleum-based products for industrial uses. // The Washington Post

Ontario set to launch cap-and-trade on Jan. 1

A bid to make the province a leader on emissions reduction, in concert with California and Quebec. // The Globe and Mail

What's trending

Spiking temperatures in the Arctic startle scientists

“It’s one region where we see the impacts of climate change very strongly.” // Climate scientist Friederike E.L. Otto, quoted in The New York Times

Kasich breaks with GOP, keeps renewable energy standards for Ohio utilities

"Businesses need certainty to invest.... The vast majority of Ohioans support clean energy and want more of it." // Andy Holzhauser of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, quoted in The Cincinnati Enquirer