Environment

Humans have had such a huge impact on the Earth that some geologists think the human era should be enshrined in the official timeline of our planet.

They want to give the age of humans a formal name, just as scientists use terms like the Jurassic or the Cretaceous to talk about the age of dinosaurs.

But some researchers think that formally establishing an "Anthropocene" — as many call it — as part of the geologic time scale would be a big mistake.

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said.

But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem.

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

Coping With California's Drought

Apr 4, 2015
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S Bence

Community group Layton Boulevard West Neighbors hoped to create a bike repair shop. When the spot LBWN selected fell through, organizers did not want to lose momentum. So, the Mobile Bike Hub was born.

Well-known volunteer in the Menomonee Valley, Michael Krajewski put his welding know-how to work to create the three-wheeled wonder. (Krajewski has worked at Falk Corporation in the Valley for than four decades.)

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The water outlook in drought-racked California just got a lot worse: Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average. That shatters the previous low record on this date of 25 percent, set in 1977 and again last year.

The latest figures on the California drought are expected to be released on Wednesday. The state's snowpack, a major source of water for the rest of the year, is at the lowest level on record.

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