Drinking From Your Neighbor’s Glass

In honor of World Water Day, here’s an interesting riddle: There are two kinds of water sources for a town, surface and underground. In times of adequate rain, that water can be used for human activities from farming to consumption to mining and so on. But let’s say the rain stops for a long time.…

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A Stone on the Ledge

I want to talk about a couple of pieces of legislation that seem unrelated, namely new water regulations to deal with drought in California, and new Chinese laws making the purchase of illegal animals parts punishable by jail time. But first, I’d like to talk about a large white stone that sits atop a window…

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Of a Circular Nature

A flood control project in the Pikine suburb of Dakar, Senegal, has changed a community by redirecting flood waters into basins and creating urban gardens from the water. Previously, the flood waters that inundated the area were left to either recede on their own – during which time all stores remained flooded and the streets…

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Tapping Out

The town of Porterville, California has been in the news over the past couple of months because it is one of the places where taps are running dry as the state’s drought grinds on into its fourth winter. Several municipal wells have run dry, some residents are coming to rely on charitable deliveries of bottled…

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Water Falls

A crucible for past, present and future examples of extreme climate developments, the western part of the United States – and California in particular – continues to suffer under extreme drought conditions. Drought is nothing new in California. What’s new (or rather, not very old in geological terms) is a culture and economy built on…

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Arboreal Lemonade

One of the cornerstones of creating smart, sustainable cities and human landscapes is good tree management. Trees provide structure, color, movement and life to streets and parks – and they provide heat-reducing shade, absorb pollutants, and offer a haven for animals. The severe storms of the past winter were devastating to trees in parts of…

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Almond Dilemma

I was in our local French supermarket the other day when I spied some packages of California almonds. Now, the usual almonds we get around here are from Turkey or Israel, and they taste just fine, but I grew up around California almonds in California, so in a moment of expat nostalgia, I bought a…

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Old Water Ways

These satellite images show winter snow levels in California in early 2013, when the state was already experiencing drought conditions, and in 2014, when the state is officially in the worst drought on record. Much of the annual fresh water in the state is the result of snow melt. California is no stranger to the…

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