This Week in Water™ airs on community and public radio stations nationwide and is available in podcast networks. Want environmental news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
The drought that has hit the U.S. Midwest and South has caused the Mississippi River to be so low that saltwater is creeping up from the Gulf of Mexico. The saltwater advances along the river bottom because it is heavier than fresh water. Most years, the flow of the river keeps the salt from moving up. The brackish water has already contaminated some water systems and is now threatening others, so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to send barges with 36 million gallons of fresh water every day to communities near New Orleans.
Construction of the saltwater sill in the Mississippi River. Conservative estimates show that the sill would need to be constructed an average of about once every five years. Since completion of the 45-ft. channel, a sill has been constructed three times: in 1988, in 1999, and in 2012. Construction is currently underway for the 50-ft. channel. | Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/H2O Media, Ltd.
The push by employers to require workers to return to the office instead of working remotely is increasing. According to a report by Resume Builder, a website for job seekers, more than half of 1,000 firms surveyed require some or all employees to work in person, and almost 40 percent of companies intend to do so by the end of next year. Close to one-third say they will threaten those who don’t comply with being fired.
Rush hour | Credit: B137/Creative Commmons
In the 1930s, when the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression with many out of work and jobs scarce, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps, where single, young men between the ages of 18 and 25 could enlist in work programs to improve public lands, forests, and parks. Environmental groups and Democrats have been pushing to develop a similar federal program to address the climate crisis, and last week, President Biden used executive action to create the “American Climate Corps” that will train young people for careers in clean energy, conservation, and the climate resilience economy.
The Mile High Youth Corps, a conservation-based AmeriCorps program that helps prepare Colorado forests for an era of increased aridification driven by climate change, is one way to get involved in Colorado's Climate Corps. | Credit: AmeriCorps
Do you care about the oceans and want to help protect them from climate change and the tons of plastic choking marine life? The tiny South Pacific island nation of Niue—a coral atoll about 1500 miles northeast of New Zealand—has an offer for you. For just $148, you can sponsor one square kilometer—about 250 acres—of the country’s marine territory for up to 20 years through its Ocean Conservation Commitments or OCCs program, which Premier Dalton Tagelagi officially launched during the United Nations General Assembly's annual meeting in New York last week.
North coast of Niue | Credit: Msdstefan/Creative Commmons