The Environment

Uranium contaminated site collapsed into the Detroit River during the Thanksgiving holiday

By Kevin Reed, 7 December 2019

The public was not alerted to the existence of the toxic spill potentially affecting Detroit’s drinking water until a report was published this week by a local paper across the river in Windsor, Ontario.

Australian cities bathed in smoke from hundreds of bushfires

By Martin Scott, 7 December 2019

Fires in four states have destroyed homes and caused hazardous air pollution.

Rising seas threaten US Pacific nuclear dump

By John Braddock, 23 November 2019

A concrete dome, a relic of the US nuclear testing program, is breaking up and beginning to spill deadly nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.

Venice sees second worst flooding in recorded history

By Allison Smith, 19 November 2019

Massive flooding last week brought Venice, Italy to its knees, with local authorities estimating that more than 85 percent of the city is under water.

Australia: Bushfires continue to ravage New South Wales and Queensland

By Martin Scott, 14 November 2019

Four people are dead and more than 300 homes have been lost in catastrophic fires.

US: Murray Energy files for bankruptcy, miners’ pensions in peril

By Samuel Davidson, 1 November 2019

The bankruptcy the coal giant threatens 7,000 jobs and the bankruptcy of health and pension funds for 82,000 current and former miners and their families.

Hundreds of thousands evacuated, more than two million without power as fires continue in California

By Gabriel Black and Dan Conway, 29 October 2019

In the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world, millions are forced to spend days without power or flee for their lives as wildfires continue to rage.

Over two million to be without power over weekend as wildfires sweep through California

By Dan Conway, 26 October 2019

Millions of Californians are told to prepare for further power outages as wildfires wreak havoc across the length of the country’s most populous state.

California utility PG&E imposes mass blackouts for second time this month

By Jonathan Burleigh, 25 October 2019

Despite California Governor Gavin Newsom’s posturing as an opponent of the utility’s profiteering, PG&E knows full well that it will not be held responsible for the social cost of its power shutoffs.

The irrationality of capitalism: Millions cut off from electricity, lives endangered by California utility PG&E

By Evan Blake, 11 October 2019

The forced blackouts affecting over two million people and businesses across 34 counties in Northern California serve as a stark example of the irrationality of the capitalist system.

Officials cover up lead in water crisis in Newark, New Jersey

By Shuvu Batta, 27 September 2019

Residents of Newark, New Jersey, continue to be exposed to lead in their tap water as their city and state officials attempt to lie their way out of the crisis.

Millions march against climate change, capitalism and war

By Bryan Dyne and Will Morrow, 21 September 2019

“Any talk about climate change must include socialism and the economic system.”

Bushfires in Australia: Another symptom of climate change

By Frank Gaglioti, 21 September 2019

Early spring fires are an “omen” of an unprecedented and disastrous season ahead due to hot, windy and dry conditions.

The only solution to climate change is world socialism

By the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 19 September 2019

The millions marching against global warming must turn to the international working class to solve the unfolding environmental catastrophe.

Fires consume more than 4.2 million acres of Bolivia’s forests

By Cesar Uco, 10 September 2019

A decree to expand deforestation for livestock and the agribusiness sector was a betrayal of the campaign promises made by President Evo Morales and his MAS ruling party.

The issues raised by climate change in the wake of Hurricane Dorian

By Bryan Dyne, 9 September 2019

The destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian further supports the prediction that global warming will cause more destructive tropical storms.

Death toll mounts in Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian lingers off Carolina coast

By a reporter, 6 September 2019

The scenes of devastation on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands have astonished observers and drawn comparison to areas levelled by saturation bombing in wartime.

Trump administration to reverse methane rules for energy industry

By Daniel de Vries, 2 September 2019

EPA’s climate sabotage continues with plans to drop methane leakage rules.

Amazon wildfires expose fallacy of “green” capitalist politics

By Miguel Andrade, 28 August 2019

While Bolsonaro invokes rabid dictatorship-era chauvinism, world powers are using the fires to further their own strategic aims.

Michigan: Two million gallons of untreated sewage spill into Flint River

By Mitch Marcus, 24 August 2019

Exposure to or ingestion of raw or partially treated sewage, as the city maintains is the case here, can cause immediate harmful effects.

Wildfires rage throughout the Amazon rainforest

By Bryan Dyne, 23 August 2019

The Amazon rainforest supplies one-fifth of the world’s oxygen and plays a key role in the planet’s climate.

Tensions over climate change dominate Pacific Islands summit

By John Braddock, 20 August 2019

Australia, with New Zealand’s support, has again quashed efforts by small Pacific Island states to push for measures to address climate change.

ArcelorMittal and state officials hid news of Indiana chemical spill

By Jessica Goldstein, 19 August 2019

Despite the posturing of local politicians, ArcelorMittal will likely receive no more than a slap on the wrist for its reckless polluting of the environment.

Trump administration sabotages Endangered Species Act

By Kevin Martinez, 15 August 2019

The White House is seeking to reduce environmental regulations aimed at preserving plants and animals from extinction.

Hottest July on record signals accelerated climate change

By Philip Guelpa, 12 August 2019

Global warming is rapidly approaching the point of causing irreversible climate disruption, threatening human existence.

UN: Global food and water crisis threatens 3 billion people

By Bryan Dyne, 9 August 2019

A new report by the United Nations warns that anthropogenic climate change, if left unchecked, will render a steadily increasing portion of Earth essentially uninhabitable.

Second heatwave of 2019 shatters temperature records in western Europe

By Will Morrow, 27 July 2019

A significant element of the heatwave commented on by climate scientists was that heat records were not only beaten but shattered by between two and four degrees.

Clairton, Pennsylvania residents denounce US Steel pollution

By Evan Winters, 27 July 2019

After a fire last year disabled pollution controls, US Steel continued operating its Clairton Coke Plant, exposing the population to pollution levels exceeding those in Beijing, China.

Millions without electrical power in Michigan and northeast US

By Bryan Dyne, 23 July 2019

The blackouts induced by summer storms and the ongoing heatwave expose the fragility of infrastructure in the United States.

Plastic waste from foreign nations dumped in East Java village

By Owen Howell, 20 July 2019

With China blocking imports of recyclable waste, developed countries have now resorted to illegally smuggling plastic into Indonesia and other parts of South East Asia.

Thousands protest in central China against proposed waste incinerator

By Robert Campion, 19 July 2019

The Wuhan protests are an expression of the growing social discontent throughout China, occurring at the same time as the mass demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Hurricane Barry makes landfall in Louisiana as New Orleans avoids danger

By Tom Hall, 15 July 2019

The storm demonstrated the grossly inadequate level of disaster preparedness and infrastructure in what is supposedly the richest country on earth.

Major flooding inundates New Orleans as Tropical Storm Barry heads towards landfall

By Aaron Murch, 12 July 2019

Nearly 14 years after Hurricane Katrina, the city remains vulnerable to catastrophic flooding.

Chicago water meter program halted after testing reveals lead contamination

By Benjamin Mateus, 10 July 2019

Officials have known for many years that the city has a serious issue related to lead in its drinking water.

Two major earthquakes strike in two days: Why aren’t California’s cities ready for the “big one”?

By Dan Conway, 8 July 2019

Although there was no significant injury or loss of life, the quakes caused significant damage to homes and small businesses in in the city of Ridgecrest, 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

France records hottest temperature ever in European heat wave

By Will Morrow, 1 July 2019

At least nine people have already died due to the heat, but that number is expected to rise in coming weeks.

Fridays for Future: Tens of thousands demonstrate on climate change in Aachen, Germany

By our reporters, 26 June 2019

Under the slogan, “Climate Justice Without Borders—United for a Future,” about 40,000 young people in Aachen demanded a rapid shutdown of coal-fired power plants and other measures.

Canada: Alberta wildfires force evacuations, threaten air quality

By Janet Browning, 6 June 2019

Even as Alberta’s premier dismissed any link between climate change and the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires, smoke forced him to cancel an outdoor Calgary event.

Widespread damage in Dayton, Ohio area after series of tornadoes

By Shannon Jones, 29 May 2019

The devastating tornadoes that hit the area this week are compounding the city's social crisis.

Police intimidation and violence used against UK fracking protestors

By Dennis Moore, 29 May 2019

A police monitoring report highlights how large numbers of officers have been using aggressive and confrontational tactics, most notably in Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

Germany: Tens of thousands demonstrate against climate change

By Iason Stolpe, 2 April 2019

On March 29 around 25,000 demonstrated in Berlin alone. The main speaker in Berlin was the initiator of the protests, Greta Thunberg from Sweden.

Record flooding continues to inundate US Midwest

By Jonas Boquist, 25 March 2019

Record flood levels have been registered at 42 locations across six states and the effects are still being felt across the central US.

Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi face a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of Cyclone Idai

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 20 March 2019

Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, reported that more than 1,000 people had been killed by high winds and widespread flooding.

Ocean degradation accelerated by global warming

By Henry Allan, 19 March 2019

The decline in oceanic oxygen caused by climate change is at least as dangerous to marine life as ocean acidification.

The Youth Climate Strike and the fight against global warming

By Bryan Dyne, 14 March 2019

That the demonstration planned for Friday has evoked a broad response is an indication of both the serious nature of the ecological crisis and the radicalization of youth all over the world.

Alarming levels of toxins leaking into US groundwater from coal ash ponds

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 March 2019

Coal ash contains dangerous toxins which are known to cause serious health problems, including cancer and kidney and liver damage.

The fallacies and evasions of the Green New Deal

By Bryan Dyne and Barry Grey, 5 March 2019

Democratic no less than Republican administrations have imposed austerity policies and prosecuted the decades-long social counterrevolution that continues today.

UK school pupils and students protest climate change

By our reporters, 18 February 2019

Up to 15,000 young people demonstrated throughout the UK on Friday, protesting in every main town and city.

Veteran Trotskyist Barbara Slaughter addresses Leeds climate change demo

By our reporters, 18 February 2019

Slaughter, of the Socialist Equality Party, was warmly welcomed, especially when she described the global character of the crisis and the necessity for global action to address it.

Heavy snow storm exposes depth of social crisis in US Pacific Northwest

By Kayla Costa, 14 February 2019

Winter Storm Nadia brought record snowfall and low temperatures to Washington and Oregon, imposing harsh burdens on the homeless, poor and working class.

Six dead as record-breaking Arctic air mass hits US Midwest

By Niles Niemuth, 31 January 2019

The onset of exceptionally frigid temperatures has once again exposed the failure of American capitalism, which is unable to maintain the infrastructure required to withstand extreme weather events.

Fish kills highlight mismanagement of Australian waterways

By Martin Scott, 25 January 2019

Drought alone cannot be blamed for the environmental crisis in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Extreme heatwave hits Australia

By Frank Gaglioti, 18 January 2019

The extended period of high temperatures is having serious impacts on people’s health, as well as agriculture and wildlife.

The working class and the environmental crisis

By Patrick Martin, 19 December 2018

It is not “humanity” that is guilty of contributing to climate change or the destruction of the ecosystem. It is the capitalist class.

Greenland ice sheet melting at an accelerating rate due to global warming

By Philip Guelpa, 14 December 2018

Data obtained from ice cores taken from the Greenland ice sheet reveal that the past decade has seen the fastest melt rate in 350 years.

World leaders converge on Poland for climate summit

By Daniel de Vries, 12 December 2018

The Katowice conference takes place amid dire warnings that the world remains on track for climate catastrophe.

Australia: Thousands protest climate change and new Adani coal mine

By our reporters, 10 December 2018

The environmental groups that organised the rally are seeking to subordinate an emerging movement of young people to the very parties responsible for environmental destruction.

Illinois EPA conceals environmental health hazards from thousands

By George Gallanis, 24 November 2018

Chicago’s poor and working class West and South sides are exposed to the greatest levels of toxic air pollution.

Australia: Youth speak out against environmental destruction, poverty and war

By our reporters, 24 November 2018

Geelong high school students joined one of many planned “walk-outs for climate action.”

The fire in Paradise, California: From natural disaster to social catastrophe

By David Brown, 21 November 2018

While wildfires, like hurricanes, are rooted in natural causes, the horrific consequences are the product of corporate malfeasance and government neglect.

Photo Essay: The social cost of the Camp Fire

By Toby Reese and Douglas Alan, 19 November 2018

World Socialist Web Site reporters visited a tent camp set up outside of a Walmart near Chico, California, as well as parts of Paradise, California, which was destroyed by the Camp Fire.

Death toll rises to 71, more than 1,000 missing from devastating California wildfires

By Evan Blake, 17 November 2018

Most of those listed as missing are elderly, with 91 percent over the age of 50, and therefore more likely to have perished given the rapidity of the wildfire’s spread and the lack of a citywide warning system.

World Socialist Web Site speaks with California wildfire evacuees

By our reporters, 16 November 2018

The death toll in Northern California’s Camp Fire jumped to 63 on Thursday with the number of missing increasing to 631.

Investigations point to energy corporation’s negligence in California wildfire

By E.P. Milligan, 15 November 2018

The PG&E utility company admitted Tuesday that it had submitted an “electric incident report” moments before the outbreak of the Camp Fire, the deadliest fire in California history.

As death toll rises to 48

Evacuees in California wildfire share their stories

By Evan Blake and Ben McGrath, 14 November 2018

There is a growing mood of anger among survivors over the indifference of the state and federal governments.

California wildfire deadliest and most destructive in state history

By David Brown, 12 November 2018

Social infrastructure, including fire departments, have been starved of funds for decades as trillions of dollars have been funneled into the bank accounts of the rich.

California wildfires kill nine, drive 150,000 from their homes

By David Brown, 10 November 2018

Driven by heavy winds, three major fires broke out Thursday across California, one of which destroyed the northern town of Paradise.

World vertebrate populations have fallen 60 percent since 1970

By Bryan Dyne, 1 November 2018

The latest Living Planet Report demonstrates the far-reaching implications of human activity on both the climate and the degradation of the natural environment.

Dozens missing in Hurricane Michael as death toll rises

By Patrick Martin, 16 October 2018

President Trump’s visit to the devastated area Monday was a cynical and empty display, under conditions where there will be little federal aid to rebuild the region.

Hurricane Michael brings death, devastation to US Southeast

By Kate Randall, 13 October 2018

Mexico Beach, Florida, known for its pristine beaches, fishing and boating, now resembles a war zone, with 95 percent of its structures uninhabitable.

Hurricane Michael leaves trail of death and destruction in southeastern US

By Daniel de Vries, 12 October 2018

The death toll, which currently stands at six, will almost certainly rise as emergency personnel gain access to more communities laid to waste by the storm.

UN report warns of catastrophic consequences of climate change within 20 years

By Bryan Dyne, 10 October 2018

The increasingly dire warnings from scientists about the impact of human-caused global warming stand in stark contrast with the tepid and complacent response of world governments.

Indonesian tsunami relief grossly inadequate as death toll tops 1,200

By Tom Peters, 2 October 2018

Among survivors, there is growing outrage over the lack of assistance and the absence of a functioning tsunami warning system.

As new flooding forces evacuations in South Carolina

Hurricane Florence unleashes coal ash, hog waste pollution

By Ed Hightower, 26 September 2018

The areas around Conway and Georgetown in coastal South Carolina continue to see massive flooding as rivers surge from last week’s record rains.

Tropical Storm Florence inundates toxic manure ponds, coal ash dumps in the Carolinas

By Ed Hightower, 19 September 2018

The storm’s devastating impact demonstrates the immense costs of deregulation on the one hand and the need for socialist planning and public ownership of industry on the other.

Thirty-one dead as Hurricane Florence continues to ravage the Carolinas

By Matthew Taylor, 18 September 2018

Cities cut off from aid, police guarding storefronts against desperate displaced residents, widespread power outages—this scene is now routine during America's Hurricane season.

Typhoon Mangkhut kills dozens in the Philippines, leaves trail of destruction in China and Hong Kong

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 September 2018

As in previous natural disasters, the poor and workers in low-paid precarious industries have been the hardest hit.

Hurricane Florence kills five in North Carolina, leaves nearly one million without power

By Matthew Taylor, 15 September 2018

Once again, a natural disaster has exposed the totally inadequate state of public infrastructure in the United States.

Hurricane Florence makes landfall in North Carolina

By Patrick Martin, 14 September 2018

A storm surge of as much as 11 feet of water was accompanied by winds approaching 120 miles per hour.

Proposed methane rule repeal continues Trump’s deregulation of polluters

By Daniel de Vries, 14 September 2018

The EPA announced a plan Tuesday to enable oil and gas companies to release more greenhouse gases.

Hurricane Florence exposes disastrous state of US infrastructure

By Tom Hall, 13 September 2018

Trump’s self-congratulation for his response to last year’s devastation of Puerto Rico, even as Carolina residents brace for one of the worst Atlantic storms in history, sums up the callousness and criminality of the American ruling class.

Nearly 200 clean-up workers sickened or dead from 2008 Tennessee coal ash spill

By Warren Duzak and Zackary Thorton, 13 September 2018

A press investigation has exposed what can only be called a social crime against the working class in eastern Tennessee.

Waste plastics poison the food chain and contribute to global warming

By Philip Guelpa, 7 September 2018

A variety of recent research highlights the ways in which the huge amounts of discarded plastic products are harmful to the environment and human health.

New Trump coal regulations will kill as many as 1,400 Americans annually by 2030

By Alec Andersen, 25 August 2018

According a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the agency’s recent rule change will lead to 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030.

Verizon throttled emergency data during California wildfires

By Henry Allan, 25 August 2018

While many workers have lost their homes and lives, the telecommunications giant has seen the disaster as an opportunity to make some extra profits.

Death toll rises from Greek forest fires

By John Vassilopoulos, 23 August 2018

Fire victims have demonstrated outside parliament to protest inadequate assistance from the Syriza government.

Firefighter casualties mount from California wildfires

By Rafael Azul, 16 August 2018

The deadly fires which have claimed the lives of six firefighters, are part of a wave of wildfires affecting the entire western United States and British Columbia in Canada.

A year after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, victims still face long recovery

By Trévon Austin, 16 August 2018

Federal assistance has been slow and ecological issues in Houston make future flooding more likely.

Heat wave and climate change drive California fires, now largest in state history

By David Brown, 10 August 2018

Last month was the hottest July on record for California going back 124 years, contributing to the drying out of vegetation and setting the stage for a record fire season.

California’s burning: The social and political background of the deadly infernos

By David Brown, 1 August 2018

For the second year in a row, the US state of California is the scene of death and destruction, as wildfires surge throughout the state and drive thousands from their homes.

Seven killed, hundreds of homes destroyed as Carr wildfire spreads across Northern California

By Alec Andersen, 30 July 2018

Some 38,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate the area, many of whom have been forced to proceed to hastily-constructed relief centers run by charities.

The social and political background to the forest fire disaster in Greece

By Katerina Selin, 28 July 2018

The depiction of forest fires as an inevitable natural phenomenon serves to cover up the impact of ten years of austerity ordered by the European Union, which have led to the total collapse of basic public services throughout Greece.

Extreme weather in Japan has deadly impact on the elderly

By Gary Alvernia, 25 July 2018

The elderly are consistently the most affected victims of heat waves, floods, and other disasters, pointing to the social neglect of the aged by the Japanese government.

Global warming will increase the severity of hurricanes

By Philip Guelpa, 21 July 2018

Superstorms like Hurricane Harvey are now predicted to occur once every 16 years, rather than once every 100 years.

Air pollution leading cause of death among children in sub-Saharan Africa

By Eddie Haywood, 2 July 2018

Recent reports have confirmed the deadly effects of pervasive air pollution, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children across Africa every year.

Trump EPA to shred rules on toxic pollution

By Patrick Martin, 9 June 2018

The chemical industry is writing the rules that will regulate its discharge of toxins.

Death toll rises as volcanic eruption buries entire towns in Guatemala

By Andrea Lobo, 5 June 2018

When such natural disasters strike a society built on capitalist exploitation and extreme inequality, the poorest and most vulnerable always pay the heaviest price.

Puerto Rican resident speaks on death toll cover up, crisis on the island

By Genevieve Leigh, 1 June 2018

Jose, a 29-year-old resident of the island, spoke to the WSWS about the conditions which led to 5,000 deaths after Hurricane María and about the way forward for the working class

Ellicott City, Maryland hit by major flood, one reported dead

By Matthew Taylor, 1 June 2018

The Baltimore suburb was still recovering from a similar flood two years ago when it was inundated by heavy rains on Sunday.

A social crime and cover-up exposed

Five thousand deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

By Genevieve Leigh, 31 May 2018

A Harvard study estimating nearly 5,000 deaths of Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of Hurricane María is a damning exposure of the official cover up of death and devastation on the island.