Vibrant Environment

All | Biodiversity | Climate Change and Sustainability | Environmental Justice | Governance and Rule of Law | Land Use and Natural Resources | Oceans and Coasts | Pollution Control

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI, the organization, or its members.

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Bighead carp collected on the Illinois River. Source: US Geological Survey, public domain image.

For officials in the Midwest and Southeast, the day is long past to seize the carp.


This column is indeed my “closing statement.” This past January, I officially stepped down from my role as president to take up residence with my wife in Rome. I will continue working with the Institute from Europe on a part-time basis, primarily supporting ELI’s international portfolio. The balance of my time will be devoted to working with the consultancy Sustainability Frameworks.

Hubble telescope orbiting Earth

The environment got a big boost last September when a rocket blasting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base orbited Landsat 9. The new satellite is a highly instrumented space probe designed to scrutinize the Earth from aloft with visual images and an array of other sensors. Test photos taken shortly after launch showed outstanding resolution of the biosphere unrolling below.

Plastic bottles

Global plastics production doubled over the last two decades, and is predicted to double again in the next two decades. Increased production has led to increased waste. Ocean plastics pollution is rising, and the ocean will likely contain more plastics mass than fish by 2050.

Skyscrapers surrounded by Earth and leaves

Part III of this four-part blog series discussed common shortcomings to avoid in developing climate plans and examined two instances of legal challenges to county plans in California.

Skyscrapers surrounded by Earth and leaves

Part II of this four-part blog series distinguished between the elements of mitigation and adaptation plans. This article dives into common shortcomings to avoid and summarizes legal challenges to two county-level climate action plans in California.

(Read Part I and Part II.)

Skyscrapers surrounded by Earth and leaves

Part I of this four-part blog series provided an overview of local climate planning and elements common to most plans. This article distinguishes the components of a mitigation plan from those of an adaptation plan.

Skyscrapers surrounded by Earth and leaves

Local governments can play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and preparing their communities for projected climate change impacts. These governments are well-positioned to assess local climate hazards and risks, identify opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, and engage the community in identifying priorities. Crucially, they are the first responders to public health emergencies and extreme weather events and possess powerful tools over land use and the built environment.

Oil Industry

Part 1 of this two-part blog series explored the history and current use of carbon, capture, and storage (CCS). Part 2 discusses the policy challenges that limit CCS use and how these policies can be improved to expand it.

The biggest question is: if CCS can reduce carbon dioxide emissions so drastically, why isn’t everyone implementing it?


The tumult of the last two years brought a good deal of introspection to the Institute’s work. The pandemic not only changed our mode of working but also underscored key issues and divisions that connect with traditional ELI values like the commitment to sound science as a foundation for decisionmaking and the belief in the concept of objective facts based on evidence.