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Hog waste threatens North Carolina’s rural poor

(03/28/16 5:15am)

In Duplin County, N.C., hogs outnumber humans almost 32 to 1. This part of the state is home to about 530 hog operations—one of the highest concentrations in the world. Here, it’s almost impossible to escape the telltale signs of pig farming: noxious smells, fecal matter and contaminated water. Furthermore, it is also home to a disproportionate amount of black and Hispanic residents compared to the rest of the state and is one of the poorest counties in North Carolina.

The 2016 presidential race: an environmental lowdown

(02/01/16 5:27am)

The 2016 presidential election is nearly upon us, and the candidates are ready to fight. Ingenious debate questions have raised a variety of issues, from the abortion of baby Hitler’s fetus (Ben Carson wouldn’t do it, Jeb Bush would) to foreign policy. Amid the conversations on immigration, economics and Hillary’s secret emails, the environment has taken a backseat. As a concerned environmental science major, I protest. Pollution and climate change will effect the Earth’s entire population, and the United States produces the highest per-capita fossil fuel emissions worldwide. That being said, perhaps it would be a good idea to highlight the candidates’ positions on the future livability of our globe.

What gives, Joaquin?

(10/14/15 4:54am)

Hurricane Joaquin is behind us, but its aftermath can still be felt. Here in Durham, we were merely deluged with cold rain, but in the central Bahamas, a massive storm surge flooded streets and enveloped houses. Three islands experienced a total blackout, and about 85 percent of the homes in one settlement on Crooked Island were reportedly destroyed. Joaquin was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Igor in 2010 and was just 2 mph shy of developing into a Category 5 storm. Surprising stuff, especially since this year’s strong El Niño means we expect stronger Pacific storms and weaker Atlantic ones. So what gives?

Bring biodiversity back

(09/16/15 5:48am)

Declining biodiversity doesn’t usually make the global-issue short list. It’s often thought of as a purely ethical dilemma with little bearing on the success of human populations. As a result, the issue of biodiversity is often overshadowed by hefty topics like hunger, war and health—things with a visible and direct impact. These problems are important, don’t get me wrong, but so is biodiversity. It’s just harder to see because species loss has a more indirect effect on humanity.

What's the deal with energy?

(09/02/15 4:11am)

Energy is a tricky subject. It warms our houses, fuels our cars and powers innovation. But at the same time, energy production releases pollutants into the atmosphere that ultimately contribute to the upward creep of global temperatures. There’s no doubt that energy is essential for modernized society, but how do we reconcile its benefits with the steady melting of arctic ice?