• The generous citizens of the People’s Republic of California voted to generate $4 billion worth of bonds to pay for the development and upkeep of parks, especially for underserved communities. Tucked into that proposal—if you can “tuck” hundreds of millions of dollars—is $200 million to deal with the environmental disaster that is the Salton Sea. The “sea” probably isn’t well known to a lot of you, as lots of folks have a blind spot to the desert east of San Diego and south of Joshua Tree National Park, but it’s a massive lake that was created more than a century ago when an irrigation canal broke and the Colorado River flooded the Salton Sink for 18 months, creating a boon to people who started growing stuff where stuff doesn’t usually grow and also becoming the in spot for migratory birds. Now, though, it’s drying up, leaving behind a mess of stinking, toxic dust that pollutes the surrounding communities when gale force winds blow, as they often do. Here’s a rundown of what Prop 68 will do, and here’s an insightful piece from The Atlantic about the Salton Sea.
• Ticks! Man, they are super-duper creepy. Disease vectors, they are, and as you’ve probably heard, 2018 is one of the worst years for ticks in, well, years. The reason? Warmer temps. The number of people getting diseases from ticks has tripled recently, and in the last 14 years nine new diseases have shown up in the States. “The numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels,” said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen of the CDC. Ew, right? Well, if you’re a carnivore, it gets worse: Lone star ticks hunt in packs, cause an allergy to beef and pork, and are growing rapidly. The ultra-creepy artwork over at Grist alone is enough for the click.
• Surprise! The Clean Air Act works. Crazy, huh? In the 1960s, acid rain was killing red spruce trees in Vermont. Research conducted by the University of Vermont on red spruce led to amendments to the 1990 Clean Air Act that tightened regulations and…voila: The trees are bouncing back in a big way. The results show a clear signal that “acid rain decline has helped red spruce recover, as well as higher temperatures in the fall, winter, and spring,” says Paul Schaberg, a researcher in the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and adjunct professor at UVM. “Higher temperatures help some species and hurt others—right now, red spruce are benefiting, but they could be vulnerable to change in the future.”
• Volkswagen has agreed to stop locking monkeys in glass cages and pumping exhaust from VW Beetles into the cage, to test the effects of the gas. Yes, you read that right. If you missed it back in February, the scandal-plagued automaker was outed testing its emissions on primates. To make matters worse, it made the monkeys watch cartoons while trapped in the airtight chambers (that was a joke, sorta, a black one). Anyway, VW will now stop. It says.
• Every year, the Alpine Club of Canada produces a report on the state of the country’s mountains. It’s called State of the Mountains, and if you thinking we’re dragging feet and making this sense a whole lot longer, like, way way way longer, to avoid the bad news, you’re right. The 2018 report just dropped and it warns that Canada needs to prepare for the “inevitable disappearance” of glacier-fed rivers due to climate change. Ow. You can find the whole thing here in English and French.
• Don’t despair! We fixed acid rain, we can fix this. Head over the Protect Our Winters “Climate Activists Roadmap” as a place to turn concern to action.
Photo of the Salton Sea by Steve Casimiro