Some toilets are hot, and some are not. My wife and I recently took one of our "affordable" vacations, meaning that her company paid for her airfare and our hotel, and her frequent flyer miles paid for my ticket. We've gotten to Paris, France, and Miami Florida together thanks to her company, which we affectionately […]
When it comes to our health, the Bay-Delta's fish are flunking out of school. This past Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle Magazine featured an eye-opening story on Cambodian subsistence fishers in Stockton and the health concerns they face from a diet dependent on Delta fish. The piece illustrates how water quality in the Delta is an […]
Carcass of a Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus Credit: analog chainsawWhen zoologists speak about superlatives among animals, blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) often play a key role at the high end of the scale of organisms. With good reason, too: they are not only the largest baleen whales, but also the largest mammals ever to have lived […]
Not long ago, the peripheral canal was idea non grata among environmentalists, symbolizing the tug of war between northern and southern California for the state's precious water resources. Now, the canal is back. They may call it a "conveyance," but state lawmakers are once again considering a $5 billion plan to build a pipeline around […]
Joseph Grinell (center) and team, in 1908Last time, I wrote briefly about the history of grizzly bears in California and how there are no grizzlies in California anymore (an irony, given the animal's image on many of our state's symbols). The story of the grizzly's demise in California is the same narrative for many other […]
In the Midwest and Northeast United States, homeowners are anticipating increased fuel oil costs this coming winter. Here in California, we don’t face their kind of extreme weather (in my freshman year at Notre Dame, in South Bend, Indiana, I woke up one morning in January to -25°F weather with the prospect of a one […]
Can you imagine what San Francisco Bay looked like 15,000 years ago? Actually at that time– during the last ice age– San Francisco Bay wasn't a bay at all. Instead, it was a valley dotted with grazing antelope. Hills jutted up here and there (destined to become the Bay's islands). The Sacramento and San Joaquin […]
original image from flickr user "Nemo's great uncle" Three years ago, I joined a small group at the Academy of Sciences named the Greenteam. Little did I know that green issues would be such a hot topic today because of global warming. Many people feel that little to nothing can be done about turning back […]
This fall, fishing was banned or sharply limited in 18 percent of California's ocean waters from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara under a landmark state plan. But that was only the first part. Now, scientists need to see how fast sea life recovers. QUEST finds out: how do you count the fish in the […]
This fall, fishing was banned or sharply limited in 18 percent of California's ocean waters from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara under a landmark state plan. But that was only the first part. Now, scientists need to see how fast sea life recovers. QUEST finds out: how do you count the fish in the sea?
Grizzly bears are iconic Californian mammals — they're on our state flag; many creeks, hills and passes are named after them; and they're the mascot of many UC schools — but you won't ever see one out in your backyard or anywhere else in California. Unlike black bears, which are relatively common in the state, […]
When it comes to alternative energy, most people think of solar or wind. But the hills just north of Sonoma wine country are a world leader in another kind of clean power, and under an ambitious new project, they are about to produce even more. You may listen to the "Geothermal Heats up" radio report […]
I hope some of our QUEST blog readers were able to attend the West Coast Green conference held September 19-22 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Home Energy magazine is a media sponsor for the event and our staff handed out well over 1,000 magazines, pressed a lot of flesh, and were […]
We've all heard the latest health advice: Avoid transfats. Eat more fruits and vegetables. You may notice those changes on grocery store shelves, but for many school children, their cafeteria lunch menus haven't caught up. This year, an effort to get healthy foods to the school lunch table is tied up in a much larger […]
We've all heard the latest health advice: avoid transfats. Eat more fruits and vegetables. But for many school children, their cafeteria lunch menus haven't caught up. This year, an effort to get healthy foods to the school lunch table is tied up in a much larger debate– national farm policy.
If you're like me, when you’re doing the dinner dishes you normally aren't thinking about the fate of the delta smelt, the little native fish that is one of several in steep decline and facing extinction. And yet for millions of Bay Area residents the two things–dishwashing and delta smelt–are connected. In fact, choices we […]
QUEST radio takes a trip to Point Reyes, where a tug of war is underway over the management of an estuary. What is most ecologically healthy for the estuary– the preservation of pristine wilderness, or the sustainable stewardship of land and water through farming?