Planetary carbon dioxide concentrations are the highest they've been in the past 800,000 years, an ignominious milestone for Earth Day 2013. Still, the world is making some progress toward addressing global warming.
TVA Kingston Fossil Plant (coal fly ash pond)-Dec. 22, 2008: Ash dike ruptured at a waste containment area in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tenn., releasing 1.1 billion gallons of toxic coal fly ash slurry, the largest such release in U.S. history, which spilled into the Emory River. Estimated costs to clean are $525 million-$825 million, as cleanup is ongoing. (Source: TVA, EPA)
The Dust Bowl. During the 1930s, a period of severe dust storms engulfed the American and Canadian prairie lands. The cause: a severe drought coupled with decades of land misuse that left topsoil susceptible to the wind. The so called "black blizzards" forced hundreds of thousands of people in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Minnesota to abandon their farms, exacerbating the dire economic conditions of the Great Depression. This image shows a dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, on April 18, 1935.
We're marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. That's a little embarrassing considering our 4.5 billion-year-old planet has been so hospitable.
The conservation group, made up mostly of older women, helps the US government track illegal use of public lands in the US West.