Green

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On a hill in Oakland, Calif., Igor Lacan looks out from under his Stetson hat at the neighborhood below and begins listing trees.

"Maples to birches to plums to liquid amber," says Lacan, horticulture adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension. "A cedar. I see some palms, and then you've got a monkey puzzle up here!"

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The world's largest tree recently got a blanket to help protect it from a raging wildfire. Photos of the sequoia named General Sherman — with a base measuring a massive 36 feet in diameter — set off a flurry of interest in why and how a blanket might work against flames.

THREE RIVERS, Calif. — Flames on Sunday reached a grove of sequoia trees in California as firefighters battled to keep fire from driving further into another grove, where the base of the world's largest tree has been wrapped in protective foil.

Fire officials warned that hot, dry weather and stronger winds were contributing to "critical fire conditions" in the area of the KNP Complex, two lightning-sparked blazes that merged on the western side of Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada.

Updated September 19, 2021 at 9:11 PM ET

LOS LLANOS DE ARIDANE, Spain — A volcano on Spain's Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authorities to evacuate thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast. New eruptions continued into the night.

Third-generation lobsterman Nick Prior was in eighth grade when he started working as a sternman on Aquarius, the lobster boat his grandfather built. They still fish together out of Bremen in midcoast Maine. But now, Nick, who is in his last year of high school, is at the helm while Verge Prior, age 77, stuffs the bait bags and bands the claws of their catch. Between hauling traps, Verge quips that he plans to catch lobster until the end of his life. "Some days I feel it's going to be tomorrow, other days it seems longer."

THREE RIVERS, Calif. — Two lightning-sparked wildfires in California merged and made a run to the edge of a grove of ancient sequoias, momentarily driving away firefighters as they try to protect the world's tallest tree by wrapping its base in protective foil.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, summer will come to an end next Wednesday. Slowly but surely since the middle of June, days have been getting shorter. With the arrival of the autumn equinox comes cooler weather and a change of color amongst the trees. And Monday, two days before the official start of fall, the harvest moon.

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On a hot afternoon in California's Sequoia National Park, Alexis Bernal squints up at the top of a 200-foot-tall tree.

"That is what we would call a real giant sequoia monarch," she says. "It's massive."

At 40 feet in diameter, the tree easily meets the definition of a monarch, the name given to the largest sequoias. It's likely more than 1,500 years old.

Still, that's as old as this tree will get. The trunk is pitch black, the char reaching almost all the way to the top. Not a single green branch is visible.

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When astronomer Diane Turnshek moved to Pittsburgh in 1981, she noticed something big was missing from the night sky.

President Biden's ambitious climate change plan could soon become a reality if Democrats in Congress succeed in passing a $3.5 trillion budget package. But first Democrats, who are crafting the legislation without Republican support, must overcome powerful opposition, some of it within their own party.

This legislation would bring extraordinary changes to the country's energy sector. It would lead to huge reductions in the climate-warming greenhouse gases the U.S. emits and change the kind of car many Americans drive.

Updated September 15, 2021 at 6:24 AM ET

Using recovered DNA to "genetically resurrect" an extinct species — the central idea behind the Jurassic Park films — may be moving closer to reality with the creation this week of a new company that aims to bring back woolly mammoths thousands of years after the last of the giants disappeared from the Arctic tundra.

How are young people coping with climate change? The answer, according to one study, is not well, and for good reason.

For a forthcoming study, researchers with the U.K.'s University of Bath and other schools spoke to 10,000 people in 10 countries, all of whom were between the ages of 16 and 25, to gauge how they feel about climate change. The prevailing response could be summed up in two words: incredibly worried. And the respondents say governments aren't doing enough to combat climate change.

Updated September 14, 2021 at 10:51 PM ET

Tropical Depression Nicholas has drenched the Houston metro area as the large storm creeps over southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The system, which made landfall early Tuesday morning as a hurricane, is expected to drop another 5 to 10 inches of rain on a broad area from the northern Texas coast to the western Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

"Life-threatening flash flooding" is possible, particularly in urban areas, the National Hurricane Center said.

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Plumes of smoke waft through California. Popular vacation spots have become evacuation zones. Neighborhoods are burning to the ground. As the climate changes and rainy days become even fewer and further between, the state is being forced to reckon with a demonic new season sandwiched between summer and fall: fire season, the time of year you wear an N95 mask for reasons other than just a pandemic, and the smoky skies can make it feel like Armageddon.

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The daughter of Fikile Ntshangase says that last October, three armed men entered her mother's home and shot her dead.

Ntshangase had publicly questioned a local coal mine that she thought was — quite literally — undermining the small South African town where she lived, located about 360 miles east of Johannesburg.

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A sauce packet from a fast-food restaurant might seem like the ultimate throwaway item. But Taco Bell is telling its customers to hold on to those packets, so they can be recycled and reused. Hot, mild, diablo — whatever sauce they contain, more than 8 billion of the packets wind up in landfills each year, the company says.

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The leaders of three prominent Christian denominations have issued an unprecedented joint statement calling on people of all faiths to take action to halt the devastating impacts of climate change.

With tens of thousands of people displaced by floods, wildfires and hurricanes this summer, researchers warn that the majority of untapped fossil fuels must remain in the ground to avoid even more extreme weather.

Climate change has helped drive a fivefold increase in the number of weather-related disasters in the last 50 years, according to a new report published by the U.N. agency the World Meteorological Organization.

President Biden on Tuesday spoke in stark terms about the reality of climate change during a visit to the northeast United States, which experienced deadly flooding and catastrophic infrastructure damage last week from Hurricane Ida.

"For decades, scientists have warned that extreme weather would be more extreme and climate change was here. And we're living through it now," Biden said during public remarks with New Jersey officials on the fallout from last week's storm.

"We don't have any more time."

As California battles wildfires throughout the state, a new crop of suspicious fires that erupted over Labor Day weekend added to an already busy wildfire season.

Officials warned residents in Sonoma County to remain vigilant after more than a dozen fires erupted late Monday.

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