It may seem like a simple question, but a handful of plain old dirt is one of the most complex things on Earth.
So, what is soil? You might want to get to know the answer soon, because soil is disappearing at an alarming rate, and soil conservation isn't really at the top of any politician's to-do list.
Yes, there is such a thing as endangered soil. And once it's gone, it's not coming back.
Because fresh water, the simple compound that's essential for human life, constitutes only 3 percent of all the water on Earth. Climate change, a growing population and increasing pollution make water conservation more essential than ever.According to the EPA, "With the U.S. population doubling over the past 50 years, our thirst for water tripling, and at least 36 states facing water shortages ... the need to conserve water is becoming more and more critical." And just a few simple tips on how to conserve water can make a big difference.
We've all done it, even if we weren't aware of it -- eaten food that was microwaved in plastic. (And if you swear you haven't, guess again: Many restaurants do it.)
Should you go to extremes to avoid all contact with food that's been microwaved in plastic containers? The jury's out on all plastics and all people, but for certain individuals, it might be a good idea.
It would be hard to find an aspect of modern life more filled with crackpots than diets. Among the more extreme is the so-called Paleolithic diet.
What exactly is the Paleo diet, is it healthy, and does it have any green credentials to back it up? The answer may surprise you.
There's a killer stalking America's fields, and it's capable of wiping out much of our food supply.
Bee colony collapse disorder has obliterated the buzzing bugs that pollinate much of our food supply.
Scientists have narrowed down the suspects to one outstanding class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. But the chemical industry isn't giving up their poisons without a fight, and now the EPA is being sued by a coalition of environmentalists and food interests who claim the department is in bed with Big Agriculture.
Will they win -- or will we all lose?
Most of us understand that car exhaust contributes to smog, disease and death. So would you pay an extra penny or two per gallon of gas to clean it up?
While most of us would, the oil industry insists that new EPA rules, which greatly clean up car exhaust, are too expensive and will hurt consumers. Ask yourself: Does the oil industry -- which receives billions in taxpayer subsidies each year -- really care about consumers?
Take a look at your current local pump prices. That should answer the question.
Don't laugh, but some experts say the greenest, most sustainable place to live in the entire United States is New York City.
I said "don't laugh."
There is, however, considerable evidence that New Yorkers enjoy -- or endure, depending on your point of view -- one of the most sustainable cities in America, if not the world. Energy use and mass transit are two of the biggest reasons.
How green is your city?
Perhaps it's no coincidence that wind power has established a foothold in the Windy City of Chicago.
A new parking and rental car facility at Chicago's Midway Airport is powered by wind turbines and a photovoltaic system.
If Midway can discover the advantages of wind power, when will the rest of America?
The controversial drilling technique known as fracking is linked to some real problems: air pollution, toxic waste, groundwater contamination and others.
You can now add one more problem to the list: earthquakes. Apparently, scientists have known for years that fracking causes earthquakes, but it hasn't been discussed much.
Now that thousands of earthquakes are rattling Oklahoma, Texas and other states, however, people are talking.
Like hundreds of American cities, Atlanta had a week-choked network of abandoned rail lines, home to weeds, broken bottles and homeless people.
But now that Atlanta has joined the rail-to-trail movement, one part of the city is enjoying a mini-renaissance. Apparently, turning rails into trails makes good economic, environmental and public-health sense in Atlanta -- and everywhere else.