Environment

‘Sick!’ New kids book by Alabama author explores how animals fight germs

A new children's book by Alabama author Heather Montgomery explores how animals fight off pathogens.

Meet the Alabama woman who is turning her farm into an indigenous food forest

As the climate changes, some Gulf South producers are focusing on ways to preserve the land.

During Mardi Gras, tons of fun comes with tons of toxic beads

New Orleans and Mobile dispute where Mardi Gras was birthed, but both Gulf Coast cities struggle with the same plastic waste. Where will a greener carnival be reborn?

Will the Moody Landfill Fire Ever Be Extinguished? The EPA Isn’t So Sure.

One resident, a former firefighter, said the fire should be completely extinguished. An EPA official said that may not be possible.

Environmentalists rattled by radioactive risks of toxic coal ash

The EPA now recognizes the risks of gamma radiation from radium in coal ash, but many states aren’t even sure where the toxic waste has been used. In Alabama, environmental regulators say they do not track so-called ‘beneficial’ uses of coal ash.

Deadline approaches for USDA loan discrimination funds for underserved farmers

Gulf South farmers are racing to meet the deadline for DFAP. Some say the aid is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

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What did Alabama students think of the climate change quip in the presidential debate?

Two University of Alabama students, a conservative and a progressive, said they’re hoping for a more nuanced conversation on the environment.

Place, Erased: A virtual listening session with the Gulf States Newsroom; watch replay

Watch a replay of the Gulf States Newsroom's listening session for its recent series about towns transformed by major environmental shifts.

Meet the tiny fish that only call Jefferson County home

Though the creek water at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is crystal clear, and thousands visit the preserve each year, it’s highly unlikely most will see three unique fish species that swim alongside them. They are the endangered watercress, rush and vermilion darters 

How making Jackson’s famed Farish Street more green could also help cool it off

On the heels of Mississippi’s record-breaking summer, the historic neighborhood hopes that adding more trees and green space can solve its heat island problem.

A year after the Moody landfill fire: “We need just as much help now”

Around Thanksgiving a year ago a landfill near Moody caught fire blanketing the surrounding area with smoke. The fire burned for months before the Environmental Protection Agency covered the landfill with dirt to extinguish the flames, but there have been flare ups since. To understand what things are like now, we heard from one nearby resident.

Why trees are an environmental and health Swiss army knife

Cool Green Trees plants trees in under-resourced communities in the Birmingham area to help mitigate climate change and advance environmental justice initiatives.

Place, Erased: A look at Gulf South communities transformed by forces beyond their control

Reporters Danny McArthur and Drew Hawkins traveled across the Gulf South to tell the stories of three towns erased by major environmental shifts.

Place, Erased: Is this Mississippi community really a ghost town? It depends on who you ask

Some say this coastal Mississippi town doesn’t exist anymore, wiped off the map due to repeated storms. But to its residents, it’s still alive and well.

Place, Erased: The fight for the remains of a Louisiana town

Toxic pollution forced a small, Black community in Louisiana to relocate. Now, chemical companies say they own its final remnant — the town’s cemetery.

Place, Erased: How a drowned Alabama town still holds lessons 60 years later

Some southern towns have been erased by environmental disasters — whether natural or man-made. One Alabama town offers lessons on the hidden cost of progress.

In disposing coal ash, Alabama is not like other states

Toxic coal ash has polluted Alabama’s waters for years. Is the state doing enough to stop it?

In Alabama’s Paint Rock Valley, researchers count every tree thicker than a pencil

In an effort to better understand the biodiversity of north Alabama, scientists are conducting a “tree census,” with the goal of studying roughly 100,000 trees for 50 years.

Protecting Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffett, Bama and the Fight to Save the Manatee

The singer, who died Sept. 1, grew up in Mobile and had a huge following in Alabama, even if many of his devotees in the state were less than thrilled by his liberal politics.

Alabama’s John Christy may be the country’s best known and most criticized climate change skeptic

Alabama’s State Climatologist John Christy is no stranger to controversy and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. His critics say his work has been plagued by errors and many of his conclusions dismissed.

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The connection is growing between climate change and big storms

The connection between climate change, hurricanes and tornadoes is not so clear. But data is beginning to show some relationship. That's the topic of the latest story in our series "Alabama's Hot Topic: What Climate Change Could Bring."

From drought to heavy rain, climate change means more of both

Climate change is spurring more big rain events, when several inches fall in a short amount of time. Meanwhile, climate change also makes droughts more frequent, longer, and severe. There's more the latest installment of our series “Alabama’s Hot Topic: What Climate Change Could Bring.”

Heat is the top weather-related killer. In Alabama, it may just be getting started

Heat kills more people than any other type of weather. Human-caused climate change stands to make that worse. Alabama is one of the few places where temperatures have not increased. But that appears to be changing. It's the latest in our series, “Alabama’s Hot Topic: What Climate Change Could Bring.”

Few bid after U.S. opens first-ever offshore wind leases in the Gulf of Mexico

The entire Gulf of Mexico wind lease sale has the potential to produce 3.7 gigawatts of renewable energy, enough to power 1.3 million homes.

Meet the Alabama scientists connecting soaring global temperatures to carbon dioxide

Two Alabama researchers study ice cores and fossil records from Antarctica, helping connect an alarming increase in the earth’s temperature to rising levels of carbon dioxide.

Alabama has escaped the worst of climate change. Is our luck about to run out?

This summer, headlines have screamed climate change. Globally, July was the hottest month on record. Smoke from forest fires choked many parts of the U.S., and the Gulf of Mexico hit a record high for average weekly sea surface temperatures. Here in Alabama, we’ve been spared many of the effects of climate change, but that appears to be changing. We take a look in a new series on climate change called “ Alabama's Hot Topic.”

New mapping tool gives county-by-county breakdown of air pollution

Earlier this month, a researcher debuted a new tool that maps pollution in Mississippi and Louisiana. Some environmental groups are already using it. 

As the peak of hurricane season nears, Southwest Louisiana is still recovering from 2020 storms

Three years after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, Lake Charles residents are anxious about the chances of a new storm.

EPA wants to reject Alabama’s coal ash program; says it is not protective enough

The EPA’s proposed denial claims Alabama’s proposed standards are too lax and don’t meet federal guidelines under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Mobile homes turn deadly when tornadoes hit. This year has been especially bad

Tornadoes in the United States are disproportionately killing more people in mobile or manufactured homes, especially in the South, often victimizing some of the most socially and economically vulnerable residents.

Residents near Louisiana Dow plant are skeptical after explosion: ‘You can’t trust them’

Dow Chemical says the air quality at a plant in Louisiana is safe following a July 14 explosion, but nearby residents remain skeptical based on past incidents.

Birmingham public transit inches forward with federal help and no state funding

Alabama, the only state that doesn't fund public transit, passed on another opportunity this legislative session. Thanks to car dependence, the state has the nation's highest per-capita gasoline use.