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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment

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About Stanford Earth Matters magazine

Wildfire smoke

Wildfires destroying California bring questions about health and climate

California’s wildfires have destroyed homes and communities, and even people hundreds of miles away are feeling the effects of smoke. Stanford faculty weigh in on the health effects and increasing frequency of fires.

Field

As California's groundwater free-for-all ends, gauging what's left

New rules and new technology are giving farmers and managers a better look at groundwater supplies.

Capitol Building

What do the midterm results mean for environmental policy?

The recent midterm elections could have far-reaching implications for the direction of federal- and state-level environment and energy policy. Stanford experts discuss ways forward, lessons learned and more.

San Francisco

How will San Francisco's skyscrapers fare after the next Big One?

Stanford civil engineers are working with the city to assess high-rise safety and mitigate any disruption, downtime or lost economic activity should downtown buildings be damaged. 

Sonoran Desert

A path to affordable, effective conservation

A new study supports the long-debated idea that all species – even highly mobile animals – are clustered together in geographically unique areas, and opens a path to better protection of little-known species.

Caterpillar fungus

Climate change, overharvesting may doom a pricey parasite

Stanford researchers show how warmer winters and booming demand for one of the world’s most expensive medicinal species may hurt ecosystems and communities in the Himalayas.

Butterflyfish

Fish give up the fight after coral bleaching

A new study offers some of the first evidence that coral bleaching may trigger rapid and potentially disruptive change in fish behavior.

Meltwater stream on glacier in Greenland

Scientists find missing piece in glacier melt predictions

A new method for observing water within ice has revealed stored meltwater that may explain the complex flow behavior of some Greenland glaciers, an important component for predicting sea-level rise in a changing climate.

Grevy's zebra

Home on the range: Integrating wildlife and livestock

A study of more than 800,000 acres of privately owned land in Kenya suggests that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals – to the benefit of all.

broken glass

The impact of climate change on human behavior

Obscured behind better-known impacts of climate change lies the possibility of more wars, higher crime rates and greater infant mortality.

River

Coping with water demands in an era of scarcity

​In addition to reusing water, we'll have to augment the supply from reservoirs with recycling, stormwater capture, desalination and other strategies.

Traffic

Can digital incentives help alleviate traffic?

Researchers are reducing traffic congestion and commute times using networks that gently nudge people toward better travel habits.​

Ocean wind

Searching the sea for climate solutions

A new study examines how renewable energy, marine protected areas, carbon storage in marine plants, and other ocean-based solutions could help to combat climate change and its effects on marine ecosystems.

Hollywood Freeway

California's vehicle emissions fight continues a 50-year struggle

California’s resistance to federal plans loosening vehicle emissions standards is nothing new. Over the decades, the state has fought repeatedly to stay in the forefront of pollution controls.

Pig waste

How machine learning can aid environmental monitoring

Cash-strapped environmental regulators have a powerful and cheap new weapon. New research suggests machine learning methods more than double the number of violations detected.

Oil pump

Researchers map susceptibility to man-made earthquakes

Stanford geophysicists forecast a decline in potentially damaging earthquakes from wastewater injection in Oklahoma and Kansas through 2020.

Christchurch

After the Big One: Understanding aftershock risk

Geophysicist Gregory Beroza discusses the culprits behind destructive aftershocks and why scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence to gain new insights into earthquake risks.

Forest

Diverse forests are stronger against drought

Diversity reigns when water gets scarce. New research suggests the most resilient forests are made up of trees that have a wider variety of rates for water moving up from the soil.

Plastic straws

Do plastic straws really make a difference?

Driven by public pressure, governments and corporations are considering eliminating or phasing out single-use plastics such as straws. Stanford experts discuss the limitations of these bans and the potential for meaningful change.

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