More people die prematurely because of the air they breathe than the 2.8 million who die each year of HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

That's the startling statistic from a new study in this week's journal Nature. The annual global death toll from outdoor air pollution is 3.3 million. (Premature death is a medical term that means a usually preventable death that occurs before expected — for instance, earlier than the life expectancy of age 78 in the U.S.).

Walden Holds Fire Meeting In Canyon City

Sep 15, 2015

More than 50 people turned out Monday in Canyon City to discuss the Canyon Creek wildfire and forest policy. The meeting was convened by Republican Congressman Greg Walden.

Canyon City residents who lost homes or property in the fire still face uncertainties. Will the government provide aid for replanting and restoration? How much salvage logging can take place? Can rehabilitation be completed before winter rains begin?

David Calahan (left) and Chandra LeGue (center) hike up a trail in Southern Oregon. LeGue is carrying the Google Trekker to photograph the sights.
EarthFix Photo/Jes Burns

Earlier this summer, EarthFix reporter Jes Burns took us on a walk in the Southern Oregon woods with Oregon Wild. The conservation group had been chosen by Google to use a backpack-mounted Trekker camera. The plan was to document trails on Bureau of Land Management lands that could be affected by upcoming changes to how the forests are managed.    

Dan Acosta shot this image of an orca breaching off the San Juans.
Dan Acosta

Is it ethical to go whale watching? Boats sometimes interfere with whales’ ability to hunt and eat. But whale watching can also connect people with conservation.

And that could help the group of orcas that are resident in Puget Sound. The recent arrival of another baby orca in that so-called southern resident group (see photos in the slideshow above) has tickled whale watchers in the San Juan Islands.

Scientists today laid out a truly worst-case scenario for global warming — what would happen if we burned the Earth's entire supply of fossil fuels.

Virtually all of Antarctica's ice would melt, leading to a 160- to 200-foot sea level rise.

"If we burn it all, we're going to melt it all," says Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

In California's blazing hot San Joaquin Valley, millions of pistachio trees are now buried in clusters of small pinkish-green fruits — what would seem like a bumper crop.

But for many growers of the popular nut, the season is shaping into a disaster. Jeff Schmiederer, who farms 700 acres of family-owned pistachio trees on the western side of the San Joaquin Valley, says about 90 percent of the nuts he has sampled from his trees are hollow — what growers call "blanks."

A southwest Washington man has pleaded guilty to poaching bigleaf maple trees from U.S. Forest Service land. Ryan Anthony Justice entered his plea Thursday in federal court in Tacoma.

This wildfire season has hit northwest tribal lands particularly hard. Firefighters’ first priority is “life and property.” But some tribal members wonder why protecting some kinds of property—like farms and even second homes— comes before tribal forest land.

Scientists know a little more about how big earthquakes happen, from research published Thursday in the journal Science.

The study from the U.S. Geological Survey looked at a number of subduction zones, but not the Cascadia Subduction Zone, off the Northwest coast. The research doesn't change predictions that there's a one-in-three chance of a big quake in the Northwest in the next 50 years.

The Gates Foundation's headquarters near Seattle Center.
Flickr Photo/ganphotography (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks to former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn about why he is calling on the Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuel companies. 

Mount Baker glacier as seen from a helicopter in 2009.
Flickr Photo/judy_and_ed (CC BY NC 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton about her story on the alarming melting of Northwest glaciers due to hot weather and low snowpack. Scientists say glaciers across the North Cascades could shrink by as much as 10 percent this year.

Melting glaciers and dry lakebeds may seem to be a purely negative result of global climate change, but they’ve had a positive impact for one group of people: archaeologists.

As previously inaccessible areas become exposed, thousands of new artifacts are being uncovered, leaving archaeologists scrambling to keep up and preserve what they can.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a key step Friday in completing a 1,200 mile trail from Glacier National Park to the Pacific Ocean.

Hikers already use what's called the "Pacific Northwest Trail," but it has gaps, and isn't fully built out.

Vilsack has named 23 advisers to help finalize the trail corridor, including Jon Knechtel with the Pacific Northwest Trail Association.

As Smoke Clears, Twisp Hotel Welcomes Back Tourists

Sep 4, 2015
A wildfire burns behind a home on Twisp River Road early Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks to Joe Marver, owner of the Twisp River Suites hotel, about how business is doing in the wake of this summer's devastating fire season. 

Firefighters line up to get gear out of the back of a fire truck as they get ready to head for a fire Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Twisp, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Todd Mundt speaks with Richard Harvey, a volunteer firefighter working on the Okanogan complex fires. After the "hot, dirty work" on the fire line that gets all the attention, he says,“Mop up is the dirty part that they don’t show on the television.”