People, planet, and the path ahead

Solar power, even if you don't have a roof of your own

In this edition: Community-size projects aim to democratize solar energy; big-name Republicans push 'carbon dividends' for all; man-made pollinators. 

What we're writing

The community solar farm in Fort Collins, Colo., is an example of projects around the US that seek to make solar power accessible to people regardless of income levels or homeownership.
Amanda Paulson/The Christian Science Monitor
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Panels to the people: 'Community solar' aims to democratize the sun

More solar projects start serving neighborhoods rather than just individual houses. But the movement is still in its early stages, especially in lower-income communities. // Zack Colman 

What climate action might look like, Republican-style

A group of prominent conservatives put forward a plan for addressing climate change. The novel pairing: a carbon tax to cut fossil fuels, and paying the revenue back to Americans in "dividends" to keep it popular. It's a hard sell to the current Congress, but maybe a marker for the future. // Mark Trumbull

Should pollinating drones take over for honeybees?

Roughly a third of the world's food crops require help with pollination, but more than 40 percent of the species that perform this vital service are under threat. What if little manufactured drones could help do the job? The technology is arriving, but scientists see big challenges. // Eva Botkin-Kowacki

What we're reading

Egyptian invention cuts rice irrigation water by half

A farm machine plants rice in v-shaped troughs, so fields don't need to be completely submerged. // SciDev.net

1,000 years ago, corn made this society big

Near St. Louis are earthen mounds, remaining from a city that supported thousands long before Europeans arrived in America. Did a changing climate destroy that culture? // National Public Radio

Solar kits bring electrity to Nigerians, one home at a time

A phone-based, pay-as-you-go model helps put a solar panel in reach, powering lights, fans, and TVs. // InsideClimate News

US solar jobs up 51,000, a 25 percent gain in a year

Some 260,000 Americans work in the industry, by one new tally. // The Washington Post

Another strong year for nuclear power

Last year saw the largest global addition of nuclear power since 1990, including America's first new reactor (located in Tenessee) since 1996. // The Breakthrough Institute

What's trending

Legal challenge as Dakota pipeline construction resumes

“This administration has expressed utter and complete disregard for not only our treaty and water rights, but the environment as a whole.” // David Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, quoted by PBS Newshour
 

Wind power surpasses hydro in US capacity

"The wind industry crossed an important threshold in the United States last year, exceeding the generating capacity of hydroelectric power for the first time, according to the main industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association." // Diane Cardwell, writing in The New York Times