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Intro


WRITING

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Intro


WRITING

Longform Writing


FEATURES

Longform Writing


FEATURES

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Quietest Place


The Quietest Place in America Is Becoming a Warzone

Amid the panoply of greenery that makes up the Hoh Rainforest, a gap in the old growth forest arises. Well, more accurately it’s a gap in a tree—a hollow inside a towering sitka spruce that stands like an open door. Beyond it, a short game trail through ankle deep mud and pools of water accumulated from the week’s rains ends in a clearing lined with ferns. Gordon Hempton guides a group to the clearing where, on a log dotted with the tiniest plants and mosses sits a red stone, roughly one square inch.

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Quietest Place


The Quietest Place in America Is Becoming a Warzone

Amid the panoply of greenery that makes up the Hoh Rainforest, a gap in the old growth forest arises. Well, more accurately it’s a gap in a tree—a hollow inside a towering sitka spruce that stands like an open door. Beyond it, a short game trail through ankle deep mud and pools of water accumulated from the week’s rains ends in a clearing lined with ferns. Gordon Hempton guides a group to the clearing where, on a log dotted with the tiniest plants and mosses sits a red stone, roughly one square inch.

Read More

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Secret Shells


The Secret Science of Shell Seeking

At the lowest tide of the month, the Gulf of Mexico peels back from the shores of Sanibel Island to reveal its treasures. Bruce Schulz is out there on a late  February morning to find his piece of the booty.

The early morning sun stretches the shadow of his lanky frame from the shore to the mangroves. The waves are lapping against City Beach, which juts off the eastern flank of Sanibel Island’s 33 square miles like a bird’s beak.

Dozens of others are out on the beach with Schulz. They’re all looking for shells, in the shelling capital of America.

Read More

Secret Shells


The Secret Science of Shell Seeking

At the lowest tide of the month, the Gulf of Mexico peels back from the shores of Sanibel Island to reveal its treasures. Bruce Schulz is out there on a late  February morning to find his piece of the booty.

The early morning sun stretches the shadow of his lanky frame from the shore to the mangroves. The waves are lapping against City Beach, which juts off the eastern flank of Sanibel Island’s 33 square miles like a bird’s beak.

Dozens of others are out on the beach with Schulz. They’re all looking for shells, in the shelling capital of America.

Read More

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Glacier National Park


Documenting Glaciers in the Dying Days of Ice

National Parks have grown up with photography. So it’s only fitting that in the last days of ice in Montana’s Glacier National Park, Lisa McKeon is using a camera to show how quickly climate change has killed off the park’s namesakes. After all, it’s one thing to note that of the park’s 150 glaciers that existed in the late 1800s, only 25 of them remain today. But it’s another to see what that cold, hard fact looks like on the landscape.

For nearly 20 years, McKeon, a U.S. Geological Survey biologist, has prowled dusty archives to find old photos showing the splendor of the park’s glaciers in decades past. Those images have taken her to bushwhacking through the forest and to the highest reaches of the park so she can recreate those images.

Read More

Glacier National Park


Documenting Glaciers in the Dying Days of Ice

National Parks have grown up with photography. So it’s only fitting that in the last days of ice in Montana’s Glacier National Park, Lisa McKeon is using a camera to show how quickly climate change has killed off the park’s namesakes. After all, it’s one thing to note that of the park’s 150 glaciers that existed in the late 1800s, only 25 of them remain today. But it’s another to see what that cold, hard fact looks like on the landscape.

For nearly 20 years, McKeon, a U.S. Geological Survey biologist, has prowled dusty archives to find old photos showing the splendor of the park’s glaciers in decades past. Those images have taken her to bushwhacking through the forest and to the highest reaches of the park so she can recreate those images.

Read More

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The Women Sailors Who Hunt Garbage for Science


The Women Sailors Who Hunt Garbage for Science

Emily Penn had a mission: To find a piece of trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch large enough to stick a satellite transmitter on so that researchers back on shore could track it until a vessel came to pick it up.

Partway through the three-week, all-women’s sailing trip Penn was leading from Hawaii to Vancouver, she found her garbage. A tangle of fishing nets and rope had gathered a collection of bottles, buoys, and even a chair, a mat of detritus that contains some of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of garbage roaming the North Pacific gyre. The accumulated trash operates as a mini ecosystem with little fish nibbling at the algae growing on it. It also comes complete with apex predators.

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The Women Sailors Who Hunt Garbage for Science


The Women Sailors Who Hunt Garbage for Science

Emily Penn had a mission: To find a piece of trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch large enough to stick a satellite transmitter on so that researchers back on shore could track it until a vessel came to pick it up.

Partway through the three-week, all-women’s sailing trip Penn was leading from Hawaii to Vancouver, she found her garbage. A tangle of fishing nets and rope had gathered a collection of bottles, buoys, and even a chair, a mat of detritus that contains some of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of garbage roaming the North Pacific gyre. The accumulated trash operates as a mini ecosystem with little fish nibbling at the algae growing on it. It also comes complete with apex predators.

Read More

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Ice, Ice Maybe


Ice, Ice Maybe

After taking photos from afar, Archer works his way up the talus slope toward the dirty ice. At times, the slope becomes steep enough that it requires climbing hand over hand. The tinkle of tumbling rocks meshes with the rush of water as the men get closer to the glacier’s terminus.

Stopping to jot some notes, Archer casually throws out a question to his guide. “So, how much has this glacier retreated in your lifetime?”

The guide answers without a pause. “It hasn’t really changed at all.”

Although neither Archer nor his guide knew it, this offhand observation would open a whole new field of research for Archer and a collaborator back in Newcastle. The guide’s observation flew in the face of previous work in the Himalayas, which had shown that glaciers were shrinking, as one would expect in a warming world.

Read More

Ice, Ice Maybe


Ice, Ice Maybe

After taking photos from afar, Archer works his way up the talus slope toward the dirty ice. At times, the slope becomes steep enough that it requires climbing hand over hand. The tinkle of tumbling rocks meshes with the rush of water as the men get closer to the glacier’s terminus.

Stopping to jot some notes, Archer casually throws out a question to his guide. “So, how much has this glacier retreated in your lifetime?”

The guide answers without a pause. “It hasn’t really changed at all.”

Although neither Archer nor his guide knew it, this offhand observation would open a whole new field of research for Archer and a collaborator back in Newcastle. The guide’s observation flew in the face of previous work in the Himalayas, which had shown that glaciers were shrinking, as one would expect in a warming world.

Read More

News, Explained


NEWS, EXPLAINED

News, Explained


NEWS, EXPLAINED

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This Is What Happens When Bad Policies Meet


This Is What Happens When Bad Policies Meet

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule that would, by its own admission, result in more Americans getting sick and dying. And the whole reason we know that is because of landmark public health studies the Trump administration is trying to limit access to.

Buried deep down on page 172, Table 4-8 in the regulatory impact analysis, an EPA shows how the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule could lead to 1,400 more premature deaths annually by 2030 than the Obama-era Clean Power Plan it would replace. Dig into some of the other tables, and you’ll see similarly uncomfortable numbers about a plan ostensibly designed to curtail coal-fired power plant pollution. There could be up to 96,000 more cases of asthma, 140,000 more missed days of school, and another 48,000 missed work days under just one of the scenarios analyzed.

Read More

This Is What Happens When Bad Policies Meet


This Is What Happens When Bad Policies Meet

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule that would, by its own admission, result in more Americans getting sick and dying. And the whole reason we know that is because of landmark public health studies the Trump administration is trying to limit access to.

Buried deep down on page 172, Table 4-8 in the regulatory impact analysis, an EPA shows how the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule could lead to 1,400 more premature deaths annually by 2030 than the Obama-era Clean Power Plan it would replace. Dig into some of the other tables, and you’ll see similarly uncomfortable numbers about a plan ostensibly designed to curtail coal-fired power plant pollution. There could be up to 96,000 more cases of asthma, 140,000 more missed days of school, and another 48,000 missed work days under just one of the scenarios analyzed.

Read More

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Puerto Rico Power


Puerto Rico Has a Once In a Lifetime Opportunity to Rethink How It Gets Electricity

 

Alina Saenz’s house on the outskirts of San Juan glows warmly in the pitch black nights that have plagued Puerto Rico in the two weeks since Category 4 Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The imperceptible hum of the refrigerator, fans to circulate the humid tropical air and nightly news on the television were all afterthoughts of modern life before the storm but are now godsends in its wake for an island still largely without power.

 

 

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Puerto Rico Power


Puerto Rico Has a Once In a Lifetime Opportunity to Rethink How It Gets Electricity

 

Alina Saenz’s house on the outskirts of San Juan glows warmly in the pitch black nights that have plagued Puerto Rico in the two weeks since Category 4 Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The imperceptible hum of the refrigerator, fans to circulate the humid tropical air and nightly news on the television were all afterthoughts of modern life before the storm but are now godsends in its wake for an island still largely without power.

 

 

Read More

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Colorado Climate Law


Colorado’s Climate Lawsuit Could Be a Template For Flyover Country

Climate lawsuits have been piling up on the coasts. But a pioneering duo of Colorado counties and the city of Boulder have filed the first landlocked lawsuit against big oil earlier this week, suing Exxon and tar sands producer Suncor Energy.

It represents a new front in the legal war that’s pitting communities stuck paying for the costs of climate change against the companies that caused it. And it could spread to neighboring states in flyover country.

Read More

Colorado Climate Law


Colorado’s Climate Lawsuit Could Be a Template For Flyover Country

Climate lawsuits have been piling up on the coasts. But a pioneering duo of Colorado counties and the city of Boulder have filed the first landlocked lawsuit against big oil earlier this week, suing Exxon and tar sands producer Suncor Energy.

It represents a new front in the legal war that’s pitting communities stuck paying for the costs of climate change against the companies that caused it. And it could spread to neighboring states in flyover country.

Read More

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California Climate


California Should Fight Inequality to Fight Climate Change

 

California announced a sweeping rooftop solar mandate earlier this month. The first-in-the-nation policy will require all newly-constructed homes and small apartments to have solar panels on their roofs starting in 2020.

It’s a radical move that amounts to save the planet, screw the poor. Things don’t have to be this way, though. There are climate policies at California’s disposal that could also help solve some of the state’s other major problems, namely a dearth of affordable housing, and transit-oriented infrastructure. And they could be more effective at reducing carbon emissions than rooftop solar, to boot.

 

Read More

California Climate


California Should Fight Inequality to Fight Climate Change

 

California announced a sweeping rooftop solar mandate earlier this month. The first-in-the-nation policy will require all newly-constructed homes and small apartments to have solar panels on their roofs starting in 2020.

It’s a radical move that amounts to save the planet, screw the poor. Things don’t have to be this way, though. There are climate policies at California’s disposal that could also help solve some of the state’s other major problems, namely a dearth of affordable housing, and transit-oriented infrastructure. And they could be more effective at reducing carbon emissions than rooftop solar, to boot.

 

Read More

Analysis


ANALYSIS

Analysis


ANALYSIS

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Climate Change Is Making Our Hurricane Scale Obsolete


Climate Change Is Making Our Hurricane Scale Obsolete

One of the things you can count on in the wake of a hurricane making landfall is people clamoring for a new classification system. Like clockwork, that’s what’s happening with Florence. And frankly, the discussion has never been more urgent thanks to climate change.

The idea that our sole way of defining hurricanes is by winds is supremely misguided. Some meteorologists hate it. Many people are confused by it. For storms that take a major human toll, it seems especially wrong-footed given that water is responsible for 90 percent of all deaths according to 2016 research. It’s like if Madden ratings where only based on a player’s ability to run (sorry Tom Brady). 

Read More

Climate Change Is Making Our Hurricane Scale Obsolete


Climate Change Is Making Our Hurricane Scale Obsolete

One of the things you can count on in the wake of a hurricane making landfall is people clamoring for a new classification system. Like clockwork, that’s what’s happening with Florence. And frankly, the discussion has never been more urgent thanks to climate change.

The idea that our sole way of defining hurricanes is by winds is supremely misguided. Some meteorologists hate it. Many people are confused by it. For storms that take a major human toll, it seems especially wrong-footed given that water is responsible for 90 percent of all deaths according to 2016 research. It’s like if Madden ratings where only based on a player’s ability to run (sorry Tom Brady). 

Read More

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Arctic Tipping Point


Has the Arctic Finally Reached a Tipping Point?

Something is not right in the Arctic. The recent wave of mild, humid air and its attendant impacts is disturbing. But this is the fourth winter where we’ve seen a veritable heat wave rack the Arctic.

The warm temperatures have also been accompanied by moist air, which has helped form clouds and lock in temperatures up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for extended periods in a typically dry, frozen climate. Disappearing sea ice also means warmer ocean waters are exposed, further spinning the region out of whack.

Read More

Arctic Tipping Point


Has the Arctic Finally Reached a Tipping Point?

Something is not right in the Arctic. The recent wave of mild, humid air and its attendant impacts is disturbing. But this is the fourth winter where we’ve seen a veritable heat wave rack the Arctic.

The warm temperatures have also been accompanied by moist air, which has helped form clouds and lock in temperatures up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for extended periods in a typically dry, frozen climate. Disappearing sea ice also means warmer ocean waters are exposed, further spinning the region out of whack.

Read More

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How the Weather Channel's Immersive Visualizations Make Climate Change Visceral


How the Weather Channel’s Immersive Visualizations Make Climate Change Visceral

Firestorm. Storm surge. EF-5 tornado. If you pay attention to the weather, these are undoubtably terms you’ve heard, along with dire warnings from meteorologists to heed any and all evacuation warnings.

But the Weather Channel has upped the ante by creating what it calls mixed reality segments that drive home the risks in a way looking at maps just can’t.

Read More

How the Weather Channel's Immersive Visualizations Make Climate Change Visceral


How the Weather Channel’s Immersive Visualizations Make Climate Change Visceral

Firestorm. Storm surge. EF-5 tornado. If you pay attention to the weather, these are undoubtably terms you’ve heard, along with dire warnings from meteorologists to heed any and all evacuation warnings.

But the Weather Channel has upped the ante by creating what it calls mixed reality segments that drive home the risks in a way looking at maps just can’t.

Read More

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Zaria Forman is Finding Beauty in the Things We’re Losing


Zaria Forman is Finding Beauty in the Things We’re Losing

Loss is like a black hole, sucking everything nearby into its orbit. It shapes everything left behind, reframes relationships, leaves you grasping for memories as they peel away into the murky abyss of time. You can realize all these things and yet still be completely unprepared for loss when it arrives. What if there were a warning, a reminder of all the beauty that you can still save?

That’s the proposition put forward in Zaria Forman’s drawings. They show the rapid loss of polar ice to the sea. It’s a loss set in motion by human carbon pollution, but one that humanity is also uniquely poised to halt (or at least slow).

 

Read More

Zaria Forman is Finding Beauty in the Things We’re Losing


Zaria Forman is Finding Beauty in the Things We’re Losing

Loss is like a black hole, sucking everything nearby into its orbit. It shapes everything left behind, reframes relationships, leaves you grasping for memories as they peel away into the murky abyss of time. You can realize all these things and yet still be completely unprepared for loss when it arrives. What if there were a warning, a reminder of all the beauty that you can still save?

That’s the proposition put forward in Zaria Forman’s drawings. They show the rapid loss of polar ice to the sea. It’s a loss set in motion by human carbon pollution, but one that humanity is also uniquely poised to halt (or at least slow).

 

Read More