Elemental: Covering Sustainability

A multimedia collaboration between public radio and public television stations in Colorado, Arizona and California.

SOLEDAD, Calif. – There is a calming resonance of nature’s finest and subtlest sounds at Pinnacles National Park. Leaves rustle and birds warble as the wind flows between the rolling mountains. On a good day, park visitors might see endangered California condors circling overhead, riding thermals on wingspans stretching up to 10 feet. The park ...

Nov. 27, 2018
More endangered California condors soon will soar above Pinnacles National Park

SOLEDAD, Calif. – There is a calming resonance of nature’s finest and subtlest sounds at Pinnacles National Park. Leaves rustle and birds warble as the wind flows between the rolling mountains. On a good day, park visitors might see endangered California condors circling overhead, riding thermals on wingspans stretching up to 10 feet. The park ...

Nov. 27, 2018

PHOENIX – Citrus production, one of Arizona’s founding “Five Cs,” predates statehood. But today, the industry is stuck – and for lemons, the market no longer can grow, thanks to drought and urbanization. Harold Payne is manager of the 2,000-acre Fort McDowell Tribal Farm, which grows lemon trees on just one-tenth of that land, even ...

Nov. 26, 2018
Drought, heat and urbanization put the squeeze on lemons in Arizona and California

PHOENIX – Citrus production, one of Arizona’s founding “Five Cs,” predates statehood. But today, the industry is stuck – and for lemons, the market no longer can grow, thanks to drought and urbanization. Harold Payne is manager of the 2,000-acre Fort McDowell Tribal Farm, which grows lemon trees on just one-tenth of that land, even ...

Nov. 26, 2018

MALIBU, Calif. – The recent California wildfires have destroyed far more than homes. Wooden power poles, PVC water pipes and water mains all are taking a beating. So utility workers now are scouring scorched terrain across the state to return everything to working order, which takes a great deal of effort and resources. Southern California ...

Nov. 19, 2018
Utilities scramble to replace power poles, water pipes in wake of California wildfires

MALIBU, Calif. – The recent California wildfires have destroyed far more than homes. Wooden power poles, PVC water pipes and water mains all are taking a beating. So utility workers now are scouring scorched terrain across the state to return everything to working order, which takes a great deal of effort and resources. Southern California ...

Nov. 19, 2018
The 1922 agreement that governs the Colorado River is flawed. Why not fix it?

GREELEY, Colo. – Colorado River water managers have plenty to argue about, including how they should deal with lower water levels caused in part by higher temperatures, long-term drought and increasing population. But there’s one thing on which nearly everyone who relies on the river can agree. The foundational document that divvies up the water ...

Nov. 16, 2018

GREELEY, Colo. – Colorado River water managers have plenty to argue about, including how they should deal with lower water levels caused in part by higher temperatures, long-term drought and increasing population. But there’s one thing on which nearly everyone who relies on the river can agree. The foundational document that divvies up the water ...

Nov. 16, 2018
Hunters help safeguard Arizona’s deer and elk from chronic wasting disease

GREER – On a chilly fall morning in eastern Arizona, families taking part in a youth hunting camp awoke before dawn to hunt elk. Gage Martinez, 14, was one of the last to shoot an elk, but by midmorning, it was skinned and hanging from a tree by its hind legs. “I was so excited, ...

Nov. 13, 2018

GREER – On a chilly fall morning in eastern Arizona, families taking part in a youth hunting camp awoke before dawn to hunt elk. Gage Martinez, 14, was one of the last to shoot an elk, but by midmorning, it was skinned and hanging from a tree by its hind legs. “I was so excited, ...

Nov. 13, 2018
Southern California fires: 2 dead, hundreds of homes destroyed, nearly 100,000 acres burned

The wildfires sweeping across Southern California have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed at least two people and injured several more, and ravaged beloved landmarks and park space. Here’s the latest on the Woolsey Fire burning near Malibu as of Tuesday. Thousands of firefighters remain on the line Tuesday, working to contain the fire, which has ...

Nov. 13, 2018
Covering sustainability in the Southwest

What is sustainability? Sustainability is improving how we live day to day so that the seeds we plant can yield crops for decades to come. Elemental covers urbanization, climate change, water and renewable energy in Arizona, Colorado and California. Our mission is to create original content about the world we live in and what the ...

Nov. 11, 2018
Coloradans reject setback restrictions on new oil and gas development

DENVER – Colorado oil and gas companies landed a significant victory election night as voters rejected sweeping restrictions on the booming industry. Proposition 112 would have required any new oil and gas development that’s not on federal land to be set back at least 2,500 feet — almost half a mile — from homes and ...

Nov. 7, 2018
Renewable energy proposition defeated in Arizona

PHOENIX – Arizona voters have overhelmingly rejected a proposition that would have required the state’s regulated utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. The current standard which sets a goal of 15 percent renewable energy from wind and solar by 2025, will remain the benchmark that governs the 16 ...

Nov. 7, 2018
Down in the mud: Arizona researchers probe seabed for clues about monsoons

TUCSON – Thunder and lightning. Dust and wind. Flash floods. These hallmarks of the North American monsoon are well-known to Arizonans, and new research indicates these impressive storms have been a part of the Southwest’s climate for millions of years. Jessica Tierney, a geologist and associate professor at the University of Arizona, leads a research ...

Nov. 5, 2018
Is the changing climate making you anxious? You’re not alone.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – We love our rivers, our mountains, our forests, deserts and wildlife in the West. They’re part of our economies, our lifestyles and our identity. But that very connection makes us vulnerable to a growing mental health problem: climate anxiety. Wander around any town center or school campus around Colorado Springs and ...

Oct. 30, 2018
Arizona national parks need $531 million for maintenance, behind California, Virginia

GRAND CANYON – Arizona’s national parks are feeling their age and need a $531 million makeover on hundreds of roads and buildings that serve millions of annual visitors, park officials said. It’s a problem in national parks around the country, but financial rescue may be edging closer. The Grand Canyon, Petrified National Forest and other ...

Oct. 29, 2018
Renewable energy proposition electrifies supporters and opponents

PHOENIX – More than $40 million has been spent to fight for and against a ballot initiative that would change the future of Arizona’s energy mix. Proposition 127 has also been the subject of an Arizona Supreme Court lawsuit and a battle over claims that language from the Attorney General’s Office undermined the initiative. If ...

Oct. 24, 2018
LA program would let renters plug into the benefits, good karma of solar

LOS ANGELES – It’s been hard for most renters to benefit from solar energy. Rooftops are controlled by landlords, who may not be interested in renewable power. But that could change. A new Los Angeles Department of Water and Power program called Shared Solar would let renters buy electricity from solar panels installed on government ...

Oct. 22, 2018
Biologists scour Colorado River to help endangered species survive

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The temperature is hovering around 90 degrees as Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction. The turbid water looks inviting, a blessed reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in, we’d be electrocuted. “It can actually probably be lethal to people if you ...

Oct. 15, 2018

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