Tag Archives: america

Half of all rides on Uber and Lyft didn’t have to happen.

Those trips — 49 to 61 percent of all rides in metro areas — would otherwise have been made on foot, bike, or public transit, according to new analysis from UC Davis.

Sustainability-inclined urbanists — including us — often credit car- and ride-sharing services for reducing the overall number of cars in cities. After all, if people know they can get a ride when they need one, they will presumably be less likely to invest in a car of their own.

But the UC Davis study shows that the vast majority of ride-sharing users — 91 percent — have not made a change in their personal vehicle ownership as a result of Uber or Lyft. Meanwhile, these ride-share users took public transit 6 percent less.

That means that ride-hailing services aren’t necessarily taking people out of their cars — they’re taking them off of buses and subways.

There’s still lots of evidence that shows car ownership is an increasingly unappealing prospect for young people in America’s cities (after all, a big chunk of that 91 percent may not own a car in the first place).

Taxi apps may help kill the private car, but they won’t fix all our traffic and transit problems, either. That will take more work.

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Half of all rides on Uber and Lyft didn’t have to happen.

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Nearly half of the country thinks Donald Trump is handling hurricane season well.

Those trips — 49 to 61 percent of all rides in metro areas — would otherwise have been made on foot, bike, or public transit, according to new analysis from UC Davis.

Sustainability-inclined urbanists — including us — often credit car- and ride-sharing services for reducing the overall number of cars in cities. After all, if people know they can get a ride when they need one, they will presumably be less likely to invest in a car of their own.

But the UC Davis study shows that the vast majority of ride-sharing users — 91 percent — have not made a change in their personal vehicle ownership as a result of Uber or Lyft. Meanwhile, these ride-share users took public transit 6 percent less.

That means that ride-hailing services aren’t necessarily taking people out of their cars — they’re taking them off of buses and subways.

There’s still lots of evidence that shows car ownership is an increasingly unappealing prospect for young people in America’s cities (after all, a big chunk of that 91 percent may not own a car in the first place).

Taxi apps may help kill the private car, but they won’t fix all our traffic and transit problems, either. That will take more work.

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Nearly half of the country thinks Donald Trump is handling hurricane season well.

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Foraging – Mark Vorderbruggen PhD

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Foraging

Mark Vorderbruggen PhD

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: April 12, 2016

Publisher: DK Publishing

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Foraged delicacies have become the latest foodie obsession. Wild edibles collected by professional foragers are proliferating on the plates of top-tier restaurants because they offer novel and ultra-fresh sensations for the tongue, and they frequently taste more flavorful than farmed foods. For people seeking new food experiences and wanting to forage for themselves, Idiot's Guides: Foraging shows how to find wild edibles and when and how to harvest them. Includes 30+ tasty recipes that describe how to prepare these wild foods. * Includes common plants all across North America * Covers positive plant identification * Multiple large, full-color photos identify each plant (including the mature plant, how it looks at various stages of growth, and how it looks at the right stage of growth for harvesting) * Each entry gives facts on the plant's habitat, physical properties, which parts are edible, harvesting sustainability, preparation, storage, and poisonous look-alikes * More than 30 delicious recipes * Includes range maps and charts that list plants by habitat and by season

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Foraging – Mark Vorderbruggen PhD

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Hurricanes have made Caribbeans the world’s latest climate refugees.

The devastation wiped out 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s agricultural production, according to Puerto Rico’s agriculture secretary, Carlos Flores Ortega. The New York Times visited farmer José A. Rivera after the winds flattened his plantain, yam, and pepper fields.

“There will be no food in Puerto Rico,” Rivera, told the Times. “There is no more agriculture in Puerto Rico. And there won’t be any for a year or longer.”

Food prices will surely rise on the island, although the loss of crops will not necessarily mean people will starve. Puerto Rico imports about 85 percent of its food. Even so, the storm damaged the infrastructure used to distribute imported food, like ports, roads, and stores.

On CNN, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló pleaded for aid from Congress. “We need to prevent a humanitarian crisis occurring in America,” he said. FEMA and the Coast Guard are working in the territory.

Flores, the agriculture secretary, appeared to be looking for a silver lining. This may be a chance to rebuild the island’s agriculture so that it is more efficient and sustainable, he told the Times.

As climate change accelerates, we can expect the rate of disasters like this to accelerate as well.

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Hurricanes have made Caribbeans the world’s latest climate refugees.

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Quakeland – Kathryn Miles

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Quakeland

On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake

Kathryn Miles

Genre: Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: August 29, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


A journey around the United States in search of the truth about the threat of earthquakes leads to spine-tingling discoveries, unnerving experts, and ultimately the kind of preparations that will actually help guide us through disasters. It’s a road trip full of surprises.   Earthquakes. You need to worry about them only if you’re in San Francisco, right? Wrong. We have been making enormous changes to subterranean America, and Mother Earth, as always, has been making some of her own. . . . The consequences for our real estate, our civil engineering, and our communities will be huge because they will include earthquakes most of us do not expect and cannot imagine—at least not without reading Quakeland . Kathryn Miles descends into mines in the Northwest, dissects Mississippi levee engineering studies, uncovers the horrific risks of an earthquake in the Northeast, and interviews the seismologists, structual engineers, and emergency managers around the country who are addressing this ground shaking threat. As Miles relates, the era of human-induced earthquakes began in 1962 in Colorado after millions of gallons of chemical-weapon waste was pumped underground in the Rockies. More than 1,500 quakes over the following seven years resulted. The Department of Energy plans to dump spent nuclear rods in the same way. Evidence of fracking’s seismological impact continues to mount. . . . Humans as well as fault lines built our “quakeland”. What will happen when Memphis, home of FedEx's 1.5-million-packages-a-day hub, goes offline as a result of an earthquake along the unstable Reelfoot Fault? FEMA has estimated that a modest 7.0 magnitude quake (twenty of these happen per year around the world) along the Wasatch Fault under Salt Lake City would put a $33 billion dent in our economy. When the Fukushima  reactor melted down, tens of thousands were displaced. If New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant blows, ten million people will be displaced. How would that evacuation even begin? Kathryn Miles’ tour of our land is as fascinating and frightening as it is irresistibly compelling.

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Quakeland – Kathryn Miles

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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Chances are, you have a clothing item (or 10) in your closet that you don’t wear, haven’t worn since the previous solar eclipse and have no plans to wear here or in a parallel universe. But, before you purge your closet and launch your lightly worn items to a landfill to join the 13 million tons of textiles disposed of each year, consider this: National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is today, and you’re invited!

Swap, Don’t Shop

Disposing of clothing that you don’t wear isn’t just wasteful, it’s extremely unsustainable and oh so unfashionable. Even today, with all the convenient ways to sell your clothes for cash, a staggering 85 percent of discarded textiles are sent to landfills annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, the majority of people are not extending the life cycle of their gently worn clothes while cashing in or greening them forward.

Today, global waste in the fashion industry is a real issue. In fact, it takes 2,700 liters of water just to create one cotton T-shirt. National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is breathing new life into old clothes, allowing consumers to offset their carbon footprint by exchanging or recycling their used garments.

What if I told you that you could recycle, donate or upcycle those tatty threads just by visiting a clothing swap pop-up location near you? Element Hotels, an eco-conscious, extended-stay brand, is hosting Element Exchange today across the country for hotel guests and community members. Some events will even offer sustainable sips of organic wine and tasty treats while you “shop.”

With the coveted LEED certification, Element Hotels doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. All of their hotels are built sustainably using eco-friendly practices from the ground up and supporting local communities. The hotel chain features bright interiors with natural light, eco-friendly fixtures and recycling bins in every guest room, recycled materials in the carpeting, low-VOC interior paints, saltwater swimming pools, bikes to borrow, workout bikes in the fitness center that charge your cell phone while you pedal, and electric vehicle charging stations outdoors.

6 Ways to Participate in National Secondhand Wardrobe Day

While orange may be the new black, vintage is the new rack. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of buying items that just don’t live up to their impulse-purchase hype. Here’s how else you can swap and save.

  1. Host Your Own Clothing Swap
  2. Sell Your Clothes Online with thredUP or Poshmark.
  3. Donate Your Clothes to Goodwill, Dress for Success, the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America. The latter two will even pick up the items from your front door.
  4. Rent the Runway for your next soiree or event.
  5. Sell Your Wedding Garments Online with Preowned Wedding Dresses.
  6. Donate Your Wedding Dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

One man’s or woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure. Making sustainable choices in your clothing selections just makes sense. This year, get involved to help those less privileged by giving your time or, literally, the clothes off your back. Remember, on National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, don’t shop — swap till you drop!

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
Rags to Riches: 5 Ways to Earn Cash from Your Closet
Swapping Is Sexy: How to Host a Clothing Swap Party
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind

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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of

The Healthy Home Dream Team

and the 30-day online program

Change Your Home. Change Your Health

. She is the author of the children’s book

My Body My House

and co-author of

Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet

,

Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes

and

The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office

. Lisa’s TV appearances include “The Rachael Ray Show,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “TODAY,” “The Doctors,” “Fox & Friends,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Suzanne Somers Show.”

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Latest posts by Lisa Beres (see all)

It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate – August 25, 2017
Perk Up Your Workout with a Recycled Coffee Grounds Sports Bra – July 24, 2017
The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now – July 14, 2017

earth911

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum

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With summer winding down, it’s hard not to spend every waking (and maybe non-waking) minute outside. That means a whole lot of hikes, cookouts and outdoor fun. You’ve got a handle on green camping hacks and eco-friendly picnic essentials — now let’s zoom in on beverage containers.

Beverages are essential when it comes to outdoor soirees. When picking them out at the store, you’re faced with a few options: plastic bottles, glass bottles or aluminum cans. What to choose? The decision can be daunting for environmentalists. We’re here to give you the lowdown on which of these receptacles gets the planet’s stamp of approval.

Step 1: How They’re Made

We see beverage containers constantly — lining the shelves of the grocery store, filling coolers at BBQs, quenching a beachgoer’s thirst. Just how did they get there?

Plastic

Plastic manufacturing starts off with oil and natural gas. These raw materials are converted into smaller pieces called monomers, and are then chemically bonded together to create long chains, known as polymers. These polymers are the plastic you see in the form of water bottles, food packaging and much more.

To get to the crude oil and natural gas needed to produce plastics, we must head for the earth’s crust. However, oil and natural gas is buried beneath layers of bedrock — that’s where drilling comes in. Drilling for oil in our pristine oceans and fracking for natural gas in America’s West is destroying our environment.

Glass

Liquefied sand, soda ash (naturally occurring sodium carbonate), limestone, recycled glass and various additives make up the glass bottles we use to hold our beverages.

Using limestone prevents glass from weathering and is thus a valuable raw material for glass containers. The sedimentary rock is typically mined from a quarry — either above or below ground. In terms of the environment, limestone mining may contaminate water and contribute to noise pollution. Limestone mining can also destroy habitat for animals who live in their cave ecosystem and can form a permanent scar on the landscape.

It’s safe to say that the raw materials that go into making glass bottles are widely available in the U.S.

Cans

New aluminum cans are almost always made from bauxite, a mineral that the U.S. gets from mines in countries like Guinea and Australia. The mining of bauxite is harsh on the planet — raw bauxite is discovered by way of open-pit mining, essentially scraping a pit into the landscape and leaving environmental destruction behind. Bauxite mining contributes to habitat loss and water contamination, as well as a slew of other negative environmental impacts, like increased erosion.

Step 2: Transport

When getting from here to there, each container has a different footprint.

Plastic

The environmental cost of transporting plastic bottles can exceed even those of creating the plastic bottle in the first place. This isn’t always the case — it depends on the distance of transport — but it’s a throttling idea.

For short distances, plastic bottles have a low transportation footprint. They pack tightly — companies are definitely responding to greener consumers and are keeping sustainability in mind when designing the shapes of their bottles. They’re also very lightweight, meaning less fuel is consumed during shipping.

Glass

There’s one big, undeniable eco-unfriendly aspect of glass bottles — they’re heavy. The transportation of glass bottles requires significantly more energy than their lightweight counterparts. Glass is fragile, too, so they can’t be packed into a truck as tightly as aluminum and plastic can.

Cans

Americans love cans because they are small, lightweight and airtight. Turns out, the planet does, too. Their size means they save fuel — more cans can fit into a smaller space and their light weight means less gas to get them from point A to point B. Because aluminum isn’t particularly fragile, cans use less cardboard packaging when transported as well, meaning more room for more cans.

Step 3: Where They End Up

Empty — now what? Each of these containers is recyclable. Here’s how they match up.

Plastic

The recycling rate of plastics is actually quite low — in 2014, only 9.5 percent of plastic material generated in the U.S. was recycled. The rest was combusted for energy or sent to a landfill where its fate is uncertain — it can either find its way out and pollute our planet or sit there for up to 500 years before finally decomposing.

Glass

Glass bottles are 100 percent recyclable and an estimated 80 percent of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles. Once you toss your glass bottle in the recycling bin, manufacturers can have it back onto the shelves in a month. Plus, using recycled glass when making new glass bottles reduces the manufacturer’s carbon footprint — furnaces may run at lower temperatures when recycled glass is used because it is already melted down to the right consistency.

Cans

Like glass, aluminum cans are completely recyclable and are commonly recycled worldwide as part of municipal recycling programs. Aluminum cans can be recycled repeatedly with no limit.

In her book, The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard notes that we are currently recycling only 45 percent of cans. That calls for a lot of pit mining for bauxite to make new material. According to Leonard, more than a trillion aluminum cans have been trashed in landfills since 1972, when such records began.

And the Winner Is…

If they are made from 100 percent recycled material, aluminum cans should be your top choice when shopping for picnic beverages. Their low transportation footprint and ease of recyclability make them a winner.

However, the extraction of raw bauxite is detrimental to the planet. New aluminum cans are not eco-friendly.

Glass should be your pick if recycled cans are not an option. Glass bottles are made from relatively innocuous raw materials and is, like aluminum cans, completely recyclable. Their bulky size and transportation footprint is their downfall.

Plastic does have a small carbon footprint when it comes to transportation, but it’s tough to ignore the giant carbon footprint when it comes to extraction. Plus, the plastic that doesn’t end up in a recycling bin can be a huge pollutant in our environment, killing wildlife and contaminating ecosystems. With using plastic, the planet is ravaged.

Feature images courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
How Many Times Can That Be Recycled?
Which Is Better? Plastic vs. Glass Food Storage Containers
The Verdict Is In: Keep the Bottle Caps On

About
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Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.

Latest posts by Lauren Murphy (see all)

Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum – August 11, 2017
Is Starbucks Doing Enough to Recycle Its Cups? – July 18, 2017
6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July  – June 30, 2017

earth911

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Beverage Container Showdown: Plastic vs. Glass vs. Aluminum

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Night of the Grizzlies – Jack Olsen

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Night of the Grizzlies

Jack Olsen

Genre: Nature

Price: $6.99

Publish Date: September 24, 2014

Publisher: Crime Rant Classics

Seller: Evan Olsen


For more than half a century, grizzly bears roamed free in the national parks without causing a human fatality. Then in 1967, on a single August night, two campers were fatally mauled by enraged bears — thus signaling the beginning of the end for America's greatest remaining land carnivore. Night of the Grizzlies, Olsen's brilliant account of another sad chapter in America's vanishing frontier, traces the causes of that tragic night: the rangers' careless disregard of established safety precautions and persistent warnings by seasoned campers that some of the bears were acting "funny"; the comforting belief that the great bears were not really dangerous — would attack only when provoked. The popular sport that summer was to lure the bears with spotlights and leftover scraps — in hopes of providing the tourists with a show, a close look at the great "teddy bears." Everyone came, some of the younger campers even making bold enough to sleep right in the path of the grizzlies' known route of arrival. This modern "bearbaiting" could have but one tragic result…

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Night of the Grizzlies – Jack Olsen

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See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – Michael Zeiler

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See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017

Your guide to the total solar eclipse

Michael Zeiler

Genre: Astronomy

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: May 1, 2016

Publisher: Great American Eclipse, LLC

Seller: Great American Eclipse, LLC


Nature’s grandest spectacle is a total eclipse of the Sun and for the first time in several decades, a total solar eclipse is coming to the United States in 2017. “See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017” is a richly illustrated and clearly written book that gives prospective eclipse viewers all the information needed to safely view the eclipse. The book is written in non-technical language that anyone can understand. Inside are sumptuous graphics that explain the essentials plus over 20 pages of detailed maps of the best places to go. The book includes a description and photos of the magnificent spectacle of a total solar eclipse, a summary of how eclipses occur, a short history of eclipses seen in America, scientific results from eclipses, strategies to successfully view the eclipse, and 18 pages of gorgeous and detailed maps for finding a perfect spot to view the eclipse.  This book is an essential planning resource as well as a memento for this celestial event. The book topics are: ✔︎ The Splendor of Totality ✔︎ How to safely view the eclipse ✔︎ Sun, Moon, Earth ✔︎ Types of solar eclipses ✔︎ Timeline of the eclipse ✔︎ Strategy for success on eclipse day ✔︎ Great places to view the eclipse ✔︎ Science from solar eclipses ✔︎ Historical solar eclipses across America ✔︎ How dim is sunshine on outer planets? ✔︎ Solar eclipse facts ✔︎ Totality across America ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Oregon  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Oregon & Idaho   ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Idaho & Wyoming  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Wyoming & Nebraska  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Nebraska, Kansas & Missouri ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Missouri & Illinois  ✔︎ Path of totality ❁ Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, & North Carolina  ✔︎ North American Eclipses Past and Future

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See the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017 – Michael Zeiler

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‘Flash drought’ could devastate half the High Plains wheat harvest

It’s peak hurricane season, but the nation’s worst weather disaster right now is raging on the High Plains.

An intense drought has quickly gripped much of the Dakotas and parts of Montana this summer, catching farmers and ranchers off-guard. The multi-agency U.S. Drought Monitor recently upgraded the drought to “exceptional,” its highest severity level, matching the intensity of the California drought at its peak.

The Associated Press says the dry conditions are “laying waste to crops and searing pasture and hay land” in America’s new wheat belt, with some longtime farmers and ranchers calling it the worst of their lifetimes. Unfortunately, this kind of came-out-of-nowhere drought could become a lot less rare in the future.

“The damage and the destruction is just unimaginable,” Montana resident Sarah Swanson told Grist. “It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in decades.”

Rainfall across the affected region has been less than half of normal since late April, when this year’s growing season began. In parts of Montana’s Missouri River basin, which is the drought’s epicenter, rainfall has been less than a quarter of normal — which equals the driest growing season in recorded history for some communities.

“It’s devastating,” says Tanja Fransen, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Glasgow, Montana. Just six years removed from 2011, one of the region’s wettest years on record, eastern Montana is now enduring one of its driest.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel,” Fransen says. “For many areas, it’s the worst we’ve seen in 100 years.”

In a matter of weeks, the area of Montana in drought conditions has expanded eightfold.U.S. Drought Monitor

Wheat production worries

The drought already has far-reaching effects. In eastern Montana, America’s current-largest wildfire continues to smolder; the 422-square-mile Lodgepole complex fire is one-third the size of Rhode Island. It’s Montana’s largest fire since 1910.

Across the state, 17 other large fires are also spreading. “We haven’t even hit our normal peak fire season yet,” Fransen says.

Recently, as the climate has warmed and crop suitability has shifted, the Dakotas and Montana have surpassed Kansas as the most important wheat-growing region in the country. The High Plains is now a supplier of staple grain for the entire world. According to recent field surveys, more than half of this year’s harvest may already be lost.

The economic impact of the drought and related fires may exceed $1 billion across the multi-state region by the time the rains return. Donations of hay for beleaguered farmers and ranchers have come in from as far away as West Virginia.

Farmers in the region are also worried because the Trump administration has targeted a key federal crop insurance program for hefty cuts. The governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana have all declared states of emergency to speed aid and open some normally protected areas for livestock grazing.

Abnormally dry conditions now cover 100 percent of South Dakota.U.S. Drought Monitor

It came out of nowhere

Droughts are often thought of as creeping, slow-motion disasters. They usually don’t grab headlines like hurricane landfalls, even though they represent the costliest weather-related catastrophe worldwide.

But this drought is an anomaly, a “flash drought.” It essentially came from nowhere. It didn’t exist just three months ago.

The frequency of these rapid-onset droughts is expected to increase as the planet warms. A recent study focusing on China found that flash droughts more than doubled in frequency there between 1979 and 2010.

Droughts like these are closely linked to climate change. As temperatures rise, abnormally dry conditions across the western United States are already becoming more common and more intense. And as evaporation rates speed up, rainfall becomes more erratic, and spring snowmelt dries up earlier each year.

Future summers in North Dakota are expected to be even hotter and drier, on par with the present-day weather of south Texas.

Taking heavy losses

On Whitney Klasna’s ranch in Lambert, Montana, the spring rains “just didn’t come this year.” Klasna has already seen 60 to 80 percent crop losses in her fields, and now she’s making calculations about which of her cattle she can afford to save. She and her crew are working to drill an additional water well and install a pipeline to keep as many alive as possible.

Now they’re worried that, if the rains do come, they’ll lead to flash flooding; the ground has essentially been transformed into concrete.

Klasna calls the drought a “perfect storm of bad luck” and expects its impacts to last for years.

The drought in western North Dakota is now just as severe as California’s was at its peak.U.S. Drought Monitor

Further west, near where the Lodgepole complex is burning, Sarah Swanson runs a John Deere dealership, one of the biggest businesses in her community. She hears heartbreaking stories from across the region, with many farmers and ranchers working together to fight the fire with their own equipment.

“Right now, I don’t think anybody has time to feel scared,” Swanson says. “I think the emotions will probably start once they have time to get the fire out in a week or two.”

Last week, Swanson wrote a personal letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, a Montana native, asking him to ease grazing restrictions on a nearby wildlife refuge. Two days later, he did so.

“We’ll be able to continue on,” Swanson says. “I wish I could say that for all the Main Street businesses in eastern Montana, but I don’t think I can. The effects are already being felt by restaurants and retail shops and gas stations, and there will be some that can’t sustain this.”

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‘Flash drought’ could devastate half the High Plains wheat harvest

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