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  • An excerpt from The New Economy of Nature by Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison

    In a cattle pasture south of downtown Napa, Calif., a clarinet, flute, and bass guitar strike up a jazzy version of "Up a Lazy River." About sixty people, if you count the rubberneckers wandering over from a nearby retirement house, gather in the midsummer sun. Two young women in flowing dresses open paper boxes to release orange clouds of monarch butterflies. A few dogs wander through the crowd.

  • Snoop Dog

    Almost everyone’s been embarrassed at one time or another by an over-eager dog sniffing in the wrong places. Now car owners have to worry about the “smog dog,” designed to “sniff” tailpipes to detect air pollution. Formally called the AccuScan Remote Vehicle Emissions Testing System, the smog dog analyzes exhaust from cars as they pass […]

  • Michelle Nijhuis reviews Water Wars by Vandana Shiva

    I can see the source of the world's water problems from my office window. It's called the Fire Mountain Canal, and it winds its way past peach and apple orchards, through green horse pastures, and around the edge of the dry, juniper-covered mesa where I live. This fat, smooth snake of water seems like a generous thing; after all, it supports the work of local Colorado farmers, who stuff us with cherries, chilies, meat, and other goodies each year. But the canal cheats the river itself, sucking out so much water that the local swimming season ends in June. Thousands of other diversions, big and small, prey on other tributaries in our watershed, eventually shrinking the main stem of the Colorado River down to a ghost of itself.

  • The Shipping News

    Salmon and other imperiled species would not be damaged by a proposed deepening of the Columbia River channel, federal scientists announced yesterday. Those findings — biological opinions required under the Endangered Species Act — will enable the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the next steps in a $196 million project to deepen […]

  • Yosemite Slam

    As the fifth highest waterfall on the planet, Yosemite Falls is one of the world’s most photographed natural wonders — and the area around it is one of the most heavily tromped, trampled, and otherwise degraded. The falls attract about 3 million visitors per year, which has lead to despoiled trails, jam-packed parking lots, and […]

  • Mozam-piqued

    Mozambique has decided to proceed with a $520 million plan to build a harbor and industrial free-trade zone on its pristine southern coast, a decision that has outraged environmentalists. The plan seems likely to put an end to efforts to establish a transnational conservation area stretching from St. Lucia in South Africa through Swaziland and […]

  • Go East, Young Consumer

    In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain came up, signaling the end of the Cold War, the fall of communism — and a new era for the environment in Central and Eastern Europe. Popular belief holds that the curtain rose to reveal a bleak landscape of environmental degradation wrought by unchecked […]

  • Abandon Ships

    About 15 percent of the world’s nitrogen- and sulfur-based pollution is produced by ships — some 30,000 of them worldwide — yet the vessels are among the least controlled pollution sources on the planet. That wouldn’t change much under rules proposed by the U.S. EPA yesterday. The new regulations, modeled after a five-year-old international accord […]

  • On the Railroad to Nowhere?

    Europe has long set the standard for rail travel, with a system whose efficiency, extent, and affordability has been the envy of rail advocates in the United States. But now it seems that European transportation trends are in danger of imitating those in the U.S: In the last decade, the highway network in the European […]

  • Mini Headroom

    Can a miniature car gain a foothold in America, land of the super-sized everything? That’s what B.M.W. plans to find out: Last month, the company started selling the Mini Cooper, formerly the flagship vehicle of a British company, in large U.S. cities. So far, the car has done well — you’d have to put your […]