Environment Breaking news on the environment, climate change, pollution, and endangered species. Also featuring Climate Connections, a special series on climate change co-produced by NPR and National Geographic.

Environment

The drought forced many citrus farmers near Orange Cove, Calif., to mulch their trees because they couldn't afford to keep them alive. Recent rain and new groundwater regulations have eased the crisis, but only slightly. Kirk Siegler/NPR hide caption

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Kirk Siegler/NPR

Rain Eases California Drought Anxiety, If Not The Actual Drought

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Water vapor, which looks like smoke, is seen rising from a power plant near Hengshui in China's Hebei province. In November, President Obama announced a landmark carbon-cutting deal with China — the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases. And the Chinese government has announced plans to cap the use of coal within five years. Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

2014 Brought Lasting Action On Climate Change Policy

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Tony McMichael has written more than 300 papers on how erratic weather and climate can cause health problems. He died in September. James Giggacher/Courtesy of Australian National University hide caption

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James Giggacher/Courtesy of Australian National University

A man carries plastic single-use bags past the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Starting in July 2015, California could become the first state to ban single-use plastic bags, unless a referendum delays the measure from taking effect. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Salt is unloaded at a maintenance yard in Scio Township, Mich., in September. Carlos Osorio/AP hide caption

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Carlos Osorio/AP

Road Salt Contributes To Toxic Chemical Levels In Streams

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Javier Goyeneche contends that trash can be transformed into beautiful cloth — with a much higher percentage of recycled materials than found in most commercially popular recycled fabrics. Courtesy of Javier Goyeneche/Ozy.com hide caption

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Courtesy of Javier Goyeneche/Ozy.com

By the 1960s, humpback whales and other whale species had been hunted extensively, sometimes to the point of near extinction. Then a recording of humpback whale songs helped shift public opinion on the hunting of all whale species. Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images

Recordings That Made Waves: The Songs That Saved The Whales

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Ecologists Take On Tiny Green Beetles That Infest Ash Trees

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Schmidt Ocean Institute/HADES/YouTube

Unexpected Life Found In The Ocean's Deepest Trench

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The Carrolls, who once raised cattle, decided three decades ago to raise Christmas trees instead. The trees take seven to 12 years to mature. Courtesy of Claybrooke Farm hide caption

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Courtesy of Claybrooke Farm

Christmas Tree Farmers Invest Long-Term In The Holiday Spirit

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Staff Picks: An Evangelical Christian Believer In Climate Change

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An unmanned aerial vehicle films vineyards in France. Drones like this one are also being used in Califiornia, as part of a broader "precision farming" movement designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Sami Sarkis/Ocean/Corbis hide caption

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Sami Sarkis/Ocean/Corbis