Greenery and foliage on the shore of a body of water. | Featured image for "Earth Focus"

Fueling Change: Two Neighboring Towns Pit the Legacy of Oil Against a Renewable Future

California is famous for implementing policies to protect the environment, yet it has also been one of the biggest crude oil producers in the country since the mid-19th century. Kern County supplies more than 60 percent of the state’s high demand for oil but reserves are running out, leaving only crude that is accessible through fracking methods. 

The mayors of the neighboring towns of Taft and Arvin face off on stark differences in their administrations’ priorities. While Taft mayor Dave Noerr promotes the economic benefits and practical realities of a society demanding petroleum, Arvin mayor Jose Gurrola advocates for the health of residents and their right to clean air and water.

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Lighting A Path: Embracing Solar Power In California and Zanzibar

Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. At the Barefoot College in Zanzibar, Muslim women who have traditionally been marginalized in the workforce are learning solar installation and bringing it back to their villages, which are primarily powered by candles and paraffin lamps. In East Los Angeles, formerly incarcerated individuals are finding green job opportunities as they transition underserved communities into solar power.

  • 2019-05-27T00:30:00-07:00
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Dying Oceans: Abalone Restoration In California

The ocean is a sponge for all the greenhouse gas emissions we produce, and entire aquatic ecosystems are beginning to collapse. Off the coast of California, the drop-in abalone populations are raising flags about ocean health and the lasting impact of rising sea temperatures, acidification and pollution. Various teams of scientists, volunteers and businesspeople are collaborating to protect underwater species threatened by the invasion of sea urchins.

Fueling Change: Oil Extraction in Alaska and California

The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it. In Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, powerful native communities are at odds over an oil exploration and drilling plan that will boost their economy but have long-term consequences on native species and their environment. In California’s Kern County, the mayors of two neighboring towns face off on the economic benefits and health risks of oil production and their vastly different visions for the most sustainable path to the future.

Avocado Wars: The Battle Over Water Rights In Chile

The popular demand for avocados, once considered an “exotic” item, is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile. Lying within one of the largest avocado producing regions in the country, Petorca avocado plantations are in a battle over water rights, where claims of illegal water diversion are creating civil unrest.

Building A Future: Lumber Poaching In Oregon and Brazil

Wood is found in countless products consumers use every day. In fact, lumber is closely connected to the world’s economy – a country’ s importation of lumber tends to rise in correlation with its gross domestic product. Following groups like “Guardians of the Forest,” we explore illegal lumber poaching in the forests of Brazil and Oregon, where citizens and scientists are working together to combat the illegal lumber trade.