Rebecca Boyle Excavates Earth’s Earliest History

THE OPEN NOTEBOOK Earth has a memory problem. Few rocks have survived from the first billion years of the planet’s history, when all kinds of important things happened, including—perhaps—the first stirrings of life. This amnesia has made it hard for researchers to piece together our origin story, and answer the really big questions like How … More Rebecca Boyle Excavates Earth’s Earliest History

The Carbon Harvest

SCIENCE Vast bioenergy plantations could suck up carbon and stave off climate change. They would also radically reshape the planet On a sunny day this past October, three dozen people file into a modest, mint-green classroom at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman to glimpse a vision of the future. Some are scientists, but most … More The Carbon Harvest

In Search of a Greener Future for the Weed Industry

PACIFIC STANDARD Will the environmental impact of cannabis balloon as legalization sweeps across the country? It’s hard to get a word in with Derek Smith. He’s winding through the crowd, shaking hands and nodding hellos across the locker-lined corridors of Revolution Hall, a hulking high school auditorium-turned-venue in Portland, Oregon. At one point, Smith stops … More In Search of a Greener Future for the Weed Industry

Boom and Busted

BIOGRAPHIC In trying to untangle a mysterious herring collapse from the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists in Prince William Sound are revealing just how resilient—and unpredictable—marine ecosystems can be. On a cold day in June, Scott Pegau leans toward the passenger window of a Cessna floatplane and peers out at the teal … More Boom and Busted

How an ocean climate cycle favored Harvey

SCIENCE Human factors may prolong storm-boosting Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation phase Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005, but in some ways, it was long overdue. For decades now, tropical storms have been getting a boost from a powerful but still mysterious long-term cycle in North Atlantic … More How an ocean climate cycle favored Harvey