As forest fires become more common — in California, in particular — it has been easy to point to climate change and severe drought conditions as the main reasons. Researchers, though, say that the human element may play just as an important role to the troubling trend.
Twelve years ago, marine biologist Nancy Caruso and a group of students and volunteer divers began restoring the kelp forests off the coast of Orange County, California. In August 2014, when huge mounds of the giant seaweed started piling up on Laguna Beach — to the consternation of tourists and beach-goers — Caruso knew the project had succeeded.
Well-tended lawns and the sound of leaf blowers have a lot to do with California's immigrant roots, and not just ones that stretch south into Latin America. The history of garden work in California stretches further back to the state's striving Japanese immigrant community.