Informed and incisive personal opinion pieces.

Opinion: California shouldn’t throw away recycling opportunity

The international recycling market was thrown into turmoil in January when China officially banned foreign imports of most common types of recycling. Since then, many of the products that the United States has shipped overseas for decades — including up to half of all mixed paper, plastics, and metals — have been piling up in temporary storage areas and landfills in the United States, like the 290 tons of recyclables Sacramento County dumped into a landfill last month. This lack of a final destination could be a harbinger of environmental doom—or a golden opportunity.

I’m an environmentalist. But Trump gets one thing right about California’s fires.

What Trump has so masterfully achieved by blaming only the shortcomings of forest management, while pointedly ignoring the other issues at play, is igniting the worst of our partisan instincts in exactly the moments when we most desperately need cooperation. In railing against California’s lazy forest “sweeping,” his supporters hear confirmation that the elitist environmentalists running the state care more about saving some trees than protecting their rural homes and towns. His opponents hear a stunningly willful ignorance to the complexities of fire management, and a smug indifference to further tragedy befalling a state that will never support him. Both sides reflexively shut down, effectively killing the chance to communicate that only urgent climate action and major shifts in land management can hope to keep the next wildfire catastrophe in check.