People, planet, and the path ahead

Los Angeles preps for less reliance on water imports

In this edition: More people leave lawns behind as California seeks to make water conservation a way of life; the Trump Cabinet nominee who sees climate change as a threat; farewell to the 747. 

What we're writing

Pamela Berstler of Green Gardens Group points to a bioswale designed to harvest rainwater, in July 2016. It's part of a drought-friendly garden owned by Deborah Butler in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Henry Gass/The Christian Science Monitor | Caption

California gets rains, still preps for water-challenged future

Recent storms have toppled a drive-through sequoia tree and are easing the state's long drought. What hasn't changed, though, are forecasts that southern California won't be able to rely as much on distant melting snows for its future water. So residents and water managers near Los Angeles are exploring how to capture and use more of the rain that falls right in their local region. One result promises to be fewer traditional lawns. // Story, and photo above, by Henry Gass

A Trump nominee who calls climate change a threat

Unlike some other Trump Cabinet picks, Rex Tillerson acknowledges climate change. His confirmation hearing to become secretary of State, however, leaves doubts about how much climate action he supports. // Zack Colman

Short-term greenhouse gases, long-term ocean impacts

A study finds that greenhouse gases such as methane that break down quickly in the atmosphere may have a greater effect on warming oceans than was previously thought. // Weston Williams

Energy secretary aims to prevent muzzling of scientists

New guidelines give Energy Department scientists expanded freedom to share their views with the press and publish in peer-reviewed journals. // Ellen Powell

Last United 747 flights: A sign of aviation progress?

To some in the industry, it's a bittersweet moment as the iconic jumbo jetliners are set to be retired by US airlines. The positive is it's part of a trend toward greater fuel efficiency that the industry greatly needs.  // J Walker Glascockack

What we're reading

The benefits of saving marine habitats

Preserving pristine areas not only counters overfishing, it may also lessen the impacts of climate change. // National Geographic

State renewable-energy policies pay off, report says

A study concludes the benefits far outweigh the costs of expanding reliance on renewables. // EnergyWire

In Switzerland, worst month for skiing in 100 years

Winters grow shorter in the Alps, and rain displaces snow at some elevations. // Bloomberg

What's trending

Rusty-patched bumblebee listed as endangered

"Why is this important? Pollinators are small but mighty parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world."  // Tom Melius of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, quoted by CNN

Some states worry GOP may preempt their green efforts

“We don’t believe the federal government should mandate energy conservation.... But we don’t think the federal government should prohibit the states from doing so.”// Nicolas Loris, a Heritage Foundation policy expert, quoted by Climate Central

Netherlands: first nation to run its trains on wind power

“Since 1 January, 100 percent of our trains are running on wind energy.... We in fact reached our goal a year earlier than planned.” // Ton Boon, spokesman for Dutch rail company NS, quoted in The Guardian