Amber waves of grain…in Ventura County?

A fun story I wrote for the Star about two young farmers determined to turn back agricultural time in California. Amber waves of grain have not been seen much in Ventura County for more than a century, but this year, two young farmers in Ojai set out to turn back the clock, planting wheat, a cropContinue reading “Amber waves of grain…in Ventura County?”

Could global warming give us late, light flu seasons?

In Ventura, the Star's first-rate health and society reporter Tom Kisken documents the lightest flu season in decades. Seriously, for some reason, it's been 29 years since the flu season took until February to get started. Usually it happens by Christmas. That's according to the official Centers for Disease Control. Why so late? In CaliforniaContinue reading “Could global warming give us late, light flu seasons?”

Please Hear This: African song of the year

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to interview Lesley Clark, the artist and philanthropist known for her great work with nomadic tribes such as the Wodaabe and the Tuareg.  She's having her annual "North African market" sale this Saturday at her gallery, with a presentation with the doctor who oversees the medical clinic sheContinue reading “Please Hear This: African song of the year”

Delta earthquake risk serious, but not catastrophic: USGS

A soon-to-be-released report from the US Geological Survey finds the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta would be hit even harder by an earthquake than previously believed, but with winter rains, the Delta would also recover more quickly than was estimated in a state study just three years ago. This excellent story by Pat McBroom in The CaliforniaContinue reading “Delta earthquake risk serious, but not catastrophic: USGS”

A bit of good news: urban forests enough for migrating birds

With all the bad news from the Gulf of Mexico, yours truly wants a break from disaster, and was relieved to come across this item, from researchers at Ohio State.  Even tiny patches of woods in urban areas seem to provide adequate food and protection for some species of migrating birds as they fly betweenContinue reading “A bit of good news: urban forests enough for migrating birds”

Dan Bloom Breaks Through on Polar Cities

Dan Bloom, a climate blogger and reporter working out of Asia, picked up a troubling fact from the great scientist James Lovelock–that soon we will see polar cities–and has worked relentlessly over the last eleven months to make the world pay attention. He’s beginning to make headway: a Chinese blogger picked up images he postedContinue reading “Dan Bloom Breaks Through on Polar Cities”

Kansas to C02 Plant: Drop Dead

Back in l935, Variety startled Hollywood with one of the greatest ever of headlines: Sticks Nix Hick Pix. At the time it was a shocker, because movie executives assumed that folks out on the farm wanted to see rural Americana pictures, not swells in black tie. Wrong. They wanted distraction. Well, times have changed, butContinue reading “Kansas to C02 Plant: Drop Dead”

Good News Friday: Return of the Cape Fear Shiner

"The Cape Fear Shiner is a yellowish minnow with black stripes, pointed fins and a hard-luck past.” So writes Taft Wireback for the News-Record of Greensboro, North Carolina. He goes on to tell how bringing down a dam helped bring back two "relict populations" of this small fish. It’s a wonderful lede, and an inspiringContinue reading “Good News Friday: Return of the Cape Fear Shiner”

The Good News About the Day Fire

As the Zaca Fire continues to burn in the back country between Santa Barbara and Ojai, it brings up memories of last year’s epochal Day Fire, which burned for weeks, threatening our region repeatedly, costing tens of millions of dollars, and changing the landscape in hundreds of thousands of acres in the Los Padres NationalContinue reading “The Good News About the Day Fire”

(Potential) Good News Friday: “If the World Pays Attention…”

Over Asia, according to a new study in Nature reported in Scientific American, a high percentage of the local warming threatening Himalayan glaciers is the result of black carbon from cooking fires. It’s so prevalent it shows up in NASA images taken from space. The Times of London ledes with the bad news: They callContinue reading “(Potential) Good News Friday: “If the World Pays Attention…””