Lauren is a radio reporter covering environment, water, and energy for KQED Science. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, run from charging elephant seals, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, Science Friday and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. You can find her on Twitter at @lesommer.
There’s no doubt about it – it’s dry out there. 2013 ended as the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California. So water managers are trying to squeeze out every last drop with an old technology: cloud seeding.
Drivers hit thousands of animals every year on California freeways, often killing the wildlife, and sometimes killing or injuring the human, too. Several western states have built fencing and other infrastructure to help wildlife cross freeways safely, and critics say California could be doing a lot more of the same.
It's not the frenzy of 1849, but gold mining is quietly making a comeback in California. While some communities are concerned about the environmental costs, others see the chance for a "greener" gold rush.
The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country – and that’s left state governments grappling with how to regulate it. Now, California is wading into that fight.
This week, California rolls out the heavy artillery in its attack on climate change with a program called “cap-and-trade.” It’s like a stock exchange for carbon emissions, where the state’s biggest polluters have to buy the right to emit greenhouse gases. It’s the most ambitious climate change policy in the country, but not everyone is happy with it.