Environment

A hint of optimism creeps into Darius Kasprzak's voice as he pilots his boat, the Marona, out of Kodiak harbor on a recent calm day.

"We're in the morning, we're at the start of the flood tide," he says. "This is where you want to be."

He is fishing a bay on the northwestern edge of the Gulf of Alaska, about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage. The chilly waters here are some of the most productive fish habitat on Earth. In a good year, Kasprzak could catch more than 100,000 pounds of cod.

This summer, NASA's Parker Solar Probe will embark on a mission to "touch the sun."

San Francisco may become the next U.S. city to ban plastic straws. The city's board of supervisors approved the ban on a preliminary basis last week and the final decision is on its agenda Tuesday. That has shops that sell boba, or bubble tea – a drink that has to be sucked through a straw – concerned.

Bubble tea is typically served in a big plastic cup over ice. It has balls of tapioca at the bottom the size of small marbles. You use a wide straw to suck up the tapioca — or boba — from the bottom of the cup.

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Standing between peach and cherry trees on her 6.5-acre Utah farm, Blake Spalding points to the Kaiparowits Plateau. The looming bluff is dotted with thousand-year-old pinyon pine and juniper trees.

"That is one of the areas they're hoping to mine," she tells a group of visiting chefs from Salt Lake City. "It's full of dinosaur fossils and more than 650 documented species of wild bees."

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Dramatic weather events happened this past week in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. There were wildfires in Greece, Scandinavia, and the Western U.S. Flooding followed record rainfalls in the Northeast. And dangerous heat waves settled over the Southwest, Japan, and the U.K.

If it continues like this, 2018 could end up being one of the hottest years on record.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET Sunday

A total of six people have died in the Northern California Carr Fire near Redding — one of 17 major wildfires burning in the state.

On Sunday, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said a sixth victim was found in a home wrecked in the blaze. The victim's identity has not been released.

Bosenko said the sheriff's department is investigating reports of seven missing people.

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Nuclear power plants in Europe have been forced to cut back electricity production because of warmer-than-usual seawater.

Plants in Finland, Sweden and Germany have been affected by a heat wave that has broken records in Scandinavia and the British Isles and exacerbated deadly wildfires along the Mediterranean.

You can buy water with electrolytes, minerals or completely "purified." You can buy it with the pH changed to make it alkaline. You can purify your own tap water or even add nutrients back into it. But after seeing a video of a pricey, high-tech filter (about $400 U.S. on sale) that you can monitor with your phone, we wondered, how much of our water filtration fixation is healthy, and how much of it is hype?

Thursday morning, hopeful applicants for a historic grizzly bear hunting license found out whether they were successful or not.

Up to 22 grizzly bears can be hunted this fall in the first grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming since the bear was listed as threatened 44 years ago.

Tom Mangelsen, a Wyoming-based nature photographer, snagged a license. He chronicled the life of the now famous bear "Grizzly 399" and co-authored a book about the bear.

Mangelsen will use his tag to photograph a grizzly, not kill one.

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Some 25,000 Cambodians raced to find higher ground after floodwaters spread to their province from a failed hydroelectric dam in neighboring Laos, according to state media in Cambodia. In Laos, the government says flooding has killed at least 27 people and destroyed the homes of more than 3,000 residents.

Let's get the bad news out of the way first: You won't be able to see this Friday's epic lunar eclipse in person if you live in North America (aside from a very small portion of eastern Canada and parts of the eastern Caribbean).

But here's the good news: if you are almost anywhere else, you'll probably be able to see at least a portion of the event.

Prime viewing is in eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East, eastern Europe and south Asia, based on a NASA map.

Heat Waves: A Global Sweat

Jul 25, 2018

No, it’s not just you. It actually is really hot. We’re talking triple digits around the world. This summer alone, nine all-time temperature records have been broken. That’s dangerous, especially in urban landscapes.

Per Curbed, “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extreme heat now causes more deaths in U.S. cities than all other weather events combined.”

When a huge floating gyre of plastic waste was discovered in the Pacific in the late 1980s, people were shocked. When whales died and washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic, people were horrified. When photographs of beaches under knee-deep carpets of plastic trash were published, people were disgusted.

Though some of it came from ships, most, presumably, was from land. But how much was coming from where?

A few summers ago in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, an economist named Anant Nyshadham was heading to lunch with some executives at a garment factory.

"We walked through the factory floor on the way to the canteen," he recalls. "And I thought, 'Wow, this is really hot.' "

And this is a man who grew up in the state of Georgia. "But you know, I don't think I'll ever get used to the heat and humidity [there]," he says, laughing. "And India is on a different level."

There's a cycle that starts when the snow melts and the earth thaws high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. It's a seasonal cycle based on timing and temperature, two variables that climate change is pushing increasingly out of sync.

To the outsider, it can be hard to see: Plants still grow, flowers bud, bears awake, and marmots breed. Broad-tailed hummingbirds still trill around a landscape that evokes the opening scene of The Sound of Music, with flowery meadows and granite peaks.

People are talking a lot about plastic straws these days — how international corporations like Starbucks and Marriott International are banning them, and the deleterious impact they have on the environment.

The cows were silent on a recent July morning at Mill-King dairy farm in McGregor, Texas. They stood under shade trees, digesting their breakfast, while cicadas buzzed in the branches overhead.

"It's starting to warm up, so they're starting to get a little bit less ... frolicky," says Craig Miller, watching from the fence line.

His grandfather started this farm. Now he runs it, producing nonhomogenized milk from a mostly grass-fed herd. He says this cow behavior is exactly what he expects as the temperature rises.

Something was not making sense.

The Montreal Protocol had been in effect for more than 30 years to rid the planet of products that emit chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons — or CFCs, as most people know them.

When it comes to the sea level rise caused by global warming, there appears to be a misnomer floating around the collective conscience of most Americans, says Gregory Dusek.

“I think a lot of people think of sea level rise as something that's not going to be impacting us for some time,” says Dusek, who serves as the chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services.

If you've been to a beach this summer, anywhere from Texas to the Carolinas, you've likely seen it. Masses of brown seaweed, sometimes a few clumps, often big mounds, line the shore. It's sargassum, a floating weed that's clogging bays and piling up on beaches in the Gulf and Caribbean.

On Miami Beach recently, Mike Berrier was enjoying the sun and the water, despite the sargassum weed.

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If you've never considered what happens to the remnants of the fully loaded plate of enchiladas, chips and salsa you grab from the buffet at an all-inclusive Mexico resort, you might be in for a shock.

Mexico's Velas Vallarta produces a veritable ton of food waste each day, but rather than dumping it into the trash, the Puerto Vallarta resort delivers roughly 700 pounds of it, each morning, to a hog farmer down the road to use as feed.

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