People, planet, and the path ahead

Drought in Africa, and the innovative response

In this edition: How drought-resistant farming methods have the potential to improve women's lives in Lesotho; lead testing on the rise in schools; digging into data on climate-change 'hiatus.'

What we're writing

Maleloko Fokotsale with her “keyhole” garden in Lesotho.
Ryan Lenora Brown | Caption

Why drought-resistant farming could be a feminist act in Africa

Often steps that address environmental concerns also bring side benefits. As parts of Africa need food aid amid one of the worst droughts in a century, strides are being made toward drought-resistant farming. These new methods can lighten a major burden for women, carrying water, even as they make crops more resilient. // Story and photo, from Lesotho, by Ryan Lenora Brown

After Flint, stepped-up water testing at US schools

A number of schools and states have taken fresh steps to test for lead in water at schools. But more action is still needed, experts say. // Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Supposed climate change hiatus: What really happened?

A closer look at a much-discussed (and politically charged) slowdown in temperature rise from 1998 to 2012. Researchers have independently replicated NOAA's recalibration of sea surface data from that period. // Eva Botkin-Kowacki

How climate change threatens famed Amalfi Coast

More-intense rains increase mudslide risks in a region known for its steep terrain. Possible responses include preserving lemon groves and testing an early-warning system. // Nick Squires

Singapore's bold course toward water self-sufficiency

The island nation has little water of its own but is determined to shed a reliance on water imports. One key is water recycling, alongside desalination and catchment. // Tom Benner

What we're reading

What's your climate resolution for the new year?

Scientists and others offer some perspectives on how they plan to think and act regarding climate change in 2017. // Yale Climate Connections

Storm damage seen falling $8.3 billion a year under Louisiana's coastal plan

It's hard to predict these things precisely, but a rewrite of Louisiana's 50-year coastal plan (including nurturing wetlands) is geared to save huge sums in potential storm-surge damage. // New Orleans Times-Picayune

Greenland melt may threaten Atlantic circulation

New research concludes that ocean currents, which distribute nutrients and influence climate, are at greater risk than prior estimates have allowed. // Hakai Magazine

Tesla's Musk: Renewables not doomed under Trump

It's just one tea leaf, but the electric-car champion has a positive takeaway from talks with the president-elect. // Elektrek

What's trending

Insurers paid out $50 billion for natural disasters in 2016

"There are now many indications that certain events – such as persistent weather systems or storms bringing torrential rain and hail – are more likely to occur in certain regions as a result of climate change." // Peter Hoeppe of reinsurance firm Munich Re, quoted by Reuters

Can carbon-capture technology prosper under Trump?

"What I saw with the president-elect was a laserlike focus on jobs.... I think he was intrigued” that carbon capture might save coal jobs. // Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) of North Dakota, quoted by The New York Times