The curiosity and controversy of GMOs: a Q&A with Ted Parson

David Colgan

On Tuesday, April 19, four experts will debate the environmental, social and health impacts of GMO foods. Are they a solution to global health and food security crises? Or do they pose risks too great to take? The Oppenheim series event—with audience participation—will be live streamed here at 7:30 p.m. (This is a past event;…



Drought makes life hard for Los Angeles newts

David Colgan

In the southern part of the state, the California newt—Taricha torosa—has been showing up at breeding grounds nearly 20 percent underweight, on average. The drastic change has evolutionary biologist Gary Bucciarelli concerned. “They look really emaciated,” said Bucciarelli, a postdoctoral researcher with UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “You can see the vertebrae and…



The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge and California’s extreme weather future

David Colgan

Daniel Swain elevates weather talk to the stratosphere. He’s a Ph.D student studying atmospheric patterns and extreme weather at Stanford University. He’s also the creator of the California Weather Blog, an expert source that people are increasingly turning to during these times of El Niño and severe drought. Swain and his fellow researchers spent the…



The curtain draws on climate change

The stories of one famous tree—Methuselah, a 4,847 year-old California bristlecone pine—are the inspiration behind “Memory Rings,” an environmentally-themed play that will be staged next weekend by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. “Memory Rings” traces changes in nature and humans over five millennia. Conceived as a meditative but playful work, it combines fairy…



Honoring champions of the environment

David Colgan

But taking environmental issues to a global audience requires time, money and personal energy. At its annual gala last Thursday, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability honored individuals who’ve made major contributions to that effort. Former Vice President Al Gore, whose landmark film An Inconvenient Truth shed light on environmental realities, thanked the honorees….



Are we leaving nature behind?

Peter Kareiva

The crisis is taught in classrooms with phrases such as “species are being lost at one hundred times the background rate.” But concepts like background rate—the rate at which species were lost prior to humans—are not easily visualized. Pictures of recently extinct species might prompt a sense of loss, but that raises questions: What photographs…