A milestone year for renewable energy

In this edition: Solar and wind expand globally even with less money being spent on them; California farmers adapting to new weather extremes; river cleanups and the residents who live nearby.

To you, our readers

You'll notice a change coming to the newsletter soon. The Monitor is shifting its reporting teams as it prepares to launch its new daily online news package next month. Inhabit will be joining forces with the Monitor science and technology teams to be led going forward by Noelle Swan. We'll be getting a new look but one thing won't change: our deep devotion to distinctive climate and environmental coverage. Keep an eye out for stories from a wider pool of writers and a new and richer science and environment newsletter. // Mark Trumbull and Noelle Swan

What we're writing

Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP
Aerial view of the Noor 3 solar power station which is nearing completion, near Ouarzazate, southern Morocco, April. 1. The king unveiled one of the world's biggest solar plants, taking advantage of the Sahara sunshine and a growing global push for renewable energy.

'More for less': Renewable power surges into mainstream as costs fall

Investors in renewable sources of electricity generation are increasingly getting more bang for their buck, according to a UN-backed report. // Eva Botkin-Kowacki 

California's conservative farmers tackle climate change, in their own way

As California transitions from devastating drought into one of the wettest periods in decades, farmers are seeking new ways to protect their fields from whipsaw weather extremes. // Jessica Mendoza

As rivers get cleanups, can city residents still afford to live nearby?

The Los Angeles River and Washington's Anacostia River could become tests of how well communities can balance new development with opportunities for longstanding residents. // Henry Gass

What we're reading

Global reshuffle of species: an impact study

Mass migration of species due to climate change has profound implications for society, an international team of scientists predicts. // The Guardian

Six images show what happened to California drought

After the rains: These graphics track the state's water security. // Water Deeply

A green law creates jobs in coal country

President Trump has called environmental regulations job-killers. Here's another side to that story. // Ohio Valley Resource

How World War I ushered in the century of oil

The Navy converted from coal to oil a few years before the US entered World War I, a hundred years ago this week. // The Conversation

What's trending

Warm Atlantic waters undermine Arctic ice

"Between Norway and Greenland in the western Eurasian basin, Atlantic currents flow into the Arctic at a depth of 200 to 250 meters, about 4°C warmer than the surface water." // Eli Kintisch, writing in Science magazine

Gov. Brown declares Calif. drought emergency over

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner.” // Gov. Jerry Brown, quoted in The Los Angeles Times

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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