California has lost half its big trees since the 1930s, according to a study to be published Tuesday and climate change seems to be a major factor（因素）.
The number of trees larger than two feet across has declined by 50 percent on more than 46, 000 square miles of California forests, the new study finds. No area was spared or unaffected, from the foggy northern coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the San Gabriels above Los Angeles. In the Sierra high country, the number of big trees has fallen by more than 55 percent; in parts of southern California the decline was nearly 75 percent.
Many factors contributed to the decline, said Patrick Mclntyre, an ecologist who was the lead author of the study. Woodcutters targeted big trees. Housing development pushed into the woods. Aggressive wildfire control has left California forests crowded with small trees that compete with big trees for resources（资源）.
But in comparing a study of California forests done in the 1920s and 1930s with another one between 2001 and 2010, Mclntyre and his colleagues documented a widespread death of big trees that was evident even in wildlands protected from woodcutting or development.
The loss of big trees was greatest in areas where trees had suffered the greatest water shortage. The researchers figured out water stress with a computer model that calculated how much water trees were getting in comparison with how much they needed, taking into account such things as rainfall, air temperature, dampness of soil, and the timing of snowmelt（融雪）.
Since the 1930s, Mclntyre said, the biggest factors driving up water stress in the state have been rising temperatures, which cause trees to lose more water to the air, and earlier snowmelt, which reduces the water supply available to trees during the dry season.
I must have always known reading was very important because the first memories I have as a child deal with books. There was not one night that I don't remember mom reading me a storybook by my bedside. I was extremely inspired by the elegant way the words sounded.
I always wanted to know what my mom was reading. Hearing mom say," I can't believe what's printed in the newspaper this morning," made me want to grab it out of her hands and read it myself. I wanted to be like my mom and know all of the things she knew. So I carried around a book, and each night, just to be like her, I would pretend to be reading.
This is how everyone learned to read. We would start off with sentences, then paragraphs, and then stories. It seemed an unending journey, but even as a six-year-old girl I realized that knowing how to read could open many doors. When mom said," The C-A-N-D-Y is hidden on the top shelf," I knew where the candy was. My progress in reading raised my curiosity, and I wanted to know everything. I often found myself telling my mom to drive more slowly, so that I could read all of the road signs we passed.
Most of my reading through primary, middle and high school was factual reading. I read for knowledge, and to make A's on my tests. Occasionally, I would read a novel that was assigned, but I didn't enjoy this type of reading. I liked facts, things that are concrete. I thought anything abstract left too much room for argument.
Yet, now that I'm growing and the world I once knew as being so simple is becoming more complex, I find myself needing a way to escape. By opening a novel, I can leave behind my burdens and enter into a wonderful and mysterious world where I am now a new character. In these worlds I can become anyone. I don't have to write down what happened or what technique the author was using when he or she wrote this. I just read to relax.
We're taught to read because it's necessary for much of human understanding. Reading is a vital part of my life. Reading satisfies my desire to keep learning. And I've found that the possibilities that lie within books are limitless.
Marian Bechtel sits at West Palm Beach's Bar Louie counter by herself, quietly reading her e-book as she waits for her salad. What is she reading? None of your business! Lunch is Bechtel's "me" time. And like more Americans, she's not alone.
A new report found 46 percent of meals are eaten alone in America. More than half（53 percent）have breakfast alone and nearly half（46 percent）have lunch by themselves. Only at dinnertime are we eating together anymore, 74 percent, according to statistics from the report.
"I prefer to go out and be out. Alone, but together, you know？"Bechtel said, looking up from her book. Bechtel, who works in downtown West Palm Beach, has lunch with coworkers sometimes, but like many of us, too often works through lunch at her desk. A lunchtime escape allows her to keep a boss from tapping her on the shoulder. She returns to work feeling energized. "Today, I just wanted some time to myself, "she said.
Just two seats over, Andrew Mazoleny, a local videographer, is finishing his lunch at the bar. He likes that he can sit and check his phone in peace or chat up the barkeeper with whom he's on a first-name basis if he wants to have a little interaction（交流）. "I reflect on how my day's gone and think about the rest of the week," he said. "It's a chance for self-reflection, You return to work recharged and with a plan."
That freedom to choose is one reason more people like to eat alone. There was a time when people may have felt awkward about asking for a table for one, but those days are over. Now, we have our smartphones to keep us company at the table. "It doesn't feel as alone as it may have before al the advances in technology," said Laurie Demerit, whose company provided the statistics for the report.
My Favourite Books
Jo Usmar is a writer for Cosmopolitan and co-author of the This Book Will series（系列）of lifestyle books. Here she picks her top reads.
I once wrote a paper on the influence of fairy tales on Roald Dahl's writing and it gave me a new appreciation for his strange and delightful words. Matilda's battles with her cruel me parents and the bossy headmisres, Miss Trunchbull, are equally fumy and frightening, but they're also aspirational.
It's about two sisters-Eri, a model who either won't or can't stop sleeping, and Mari, a young student. In trying to connect to her sister. Mari starts changing her life and discovers a world of diverse "night people" who are hiding secrets.
There was a bit of me that didn't want to love this when everyone else on the planet did but the horror story is brilliant. There's tension and anxiety from the beginning as Nick and Amy battle for your trust. It's a real whodunit and the frustration when you realise what's going on is horribly enjoyable
This is an excellent fantasy novel from one of the best storytellers around. After a serious flu outbreak wipes out 99.4% of the world's population, a battle unfolds between good and evil among those let. Randall Flagg is one of the scariest characters ever.
“You can use me as a last resort（选择）, and if nobody else volunteers, then I will do it.” This was an actual reply from a parent after I put out a request for volunteers for my kids lacrosse（长曲棍球）club.
I guess that there's probably some demanding work schedule, or social anxiety around stepping up to help for an unknown sport. She may just need a little persuading. So I try again and tug at the heartstrings. I mention the single parent with four kids running the show and I talk about the dad coaching a team that his kids aren't even on … At this point the unwilling parent speaks up,“Alright. Yes, I'll do it.”
I'm secretly relieved because I know there's real power in sharing volunteer responsibilities among many. The unwilling parent organizes the meal schedule, sends out emails, and collects money for end-of-season gifts. Somewhere along the way, the same parent ends up becoming an invaluable member of the team. The coach is able to focus on the kids while the other parents are relieved to be off the hook for another season. Handing out sliced oranges to bloodthirsty kids can be as exciting as watching your own kid score a goal.
Still, most of us volunteers breathe a sigh of relief when the season comes to a close. That relief is coupled with a deep understanding of why the same people keep coming back for more: Connecting to the community（社区）as you freely give your time, money, skills, or services provides a real joy. Volunteering just feels so good.
In that sense, I'm pretty sure volunteering is more of a selfish act than I'd freely like to admit. However, if others benefit in the process, and I get some reward too, does it really matter where my motivation lies?