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Last Thursday, May 25, the Supreme Court severely limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability under the Clean Water Act to ensure that waters in the country are free of contamination. Five of the six conservative justices said that wetlands, swamps, and bogs, which don’t have a continuous surface connection to a river or lake, are outside of the agency’s authority.
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Creative Commons
Early last week, three of the seven states that make up the Colorado River Basin—California, Arizona, and Nevada—proposed to conserve an additional three million acre-feet of water by the end of 2026. In exchange, they would get $1.2 billion from the federal government.
Lake Mead as seen from Stewarts Point, Nevada | Credit: Tony Webster / Creative Commons
Despite what feels like an era of divisiveness, humans can—and have—united to solve environmental problems. Back in 1985, when scientists observed that concentrations of ozone were diminishing over Antarctica—eventually dubbed the ozone hole—countries rallied to sign the Montreal Protocol to reduce ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), commonly used in products such as refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, and aerosols. It was not only a remarkable act of global cooperation—every country ratified it—but also successful, as nearly 99 percent of banned substances such as chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs have been phased out and the ozone layer is on track to recover within four decades.
Arctic sea ice | Credit: Patrick Kelley / Creative Commons
Summer is upon us, and if you’re off to the beach, picnic in hand, inevitably seagulls will appear ready to snatch your sandwiches or snacks. But according to a new study, gulls are more discerning than their dive-bombing behavior might suggest. Researchers from the University of Sussex say the birds decide what to steal based on what we like to eat.
European herring gulls (Larus argentatus) | Credit: Kulac / Creative Commons