THE ATLANTIC Preserving the world’s great expanses of grass could be essential to combatting climate change. Once upon a time, not a blade of grass could be found on this planet we call home. There were no verdant meadows, no golden prairies, no sunbaked savannas, and certainly no lawns. Only in the past 80 million … More Trees Are Overrated
THE OPEN NOTEBOOK Sometimes, as a reader, you can feel when you’re in good hands and headed somewhere interesting. But how can writers bring this kind of authority to their own work? It requires taking charge of a story to prioritize selectiveness over comprehensiveness, momentum over excessive citation, and rigorous thinking over “balanced” circumspection. It … More Synthesizing Ideas to Write with Authority
HAKAI When oceans are starved of oxygen, it can be devastating to crabs and the fishers who rely on them. New tools could help crabbers sidestep dead zones. The crab pots are piled high at the fishing docks in Newport, Oregon. Stacks of tire-sized cages fill the parking lot, festooned with colorful buoys and grimy … More Catching Crabs in a Suffocating Sea
KNOWABLE A growing body of research shows that people have been shaping the planet for millennia — muddying the very idea of wilderness and prompting calls for a revolution in ecology and conservation The Brazil nut is a wondrous thing. The tree can grow more than 150 feet tall — a titan even by Amazonian … More Why there’s no such thing as pristine nature
HIGH COUNTRY NEWS After the Northwest ‘heat dome’ this summer, scientists look for signs of ecological ruin — or resilience. During this summer’s stifling heat wave, Robin Fales patrolled the same sweep of shore on Washington’s San Juan Island every day at low tide. The stench of rotting sea life grew as temperatures edged toward … More How heat waves warp ecosystems
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN The planet’s spin may have mediated critical atmospheric oxygen When Judith Klatt began studying the colorful mats of primitive microbes living in a sinkhole at the bottom of Lake Huron, she thought she might learn something about Earth’s early ecosystems. Instead Klatt, a biogeochemist at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in … More Early Earth’s Slowing Rotation Helped Oxygen Build Up
NATURE The disruption that the coronavirus has caused to daily life has created unique research opportunities for scientists. Soon after COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, physicians in certain nations noticed something unexpected: the number of premature births seemed to plummet. Preliminary research in one region of Ireland documented a 73% decrease in very-low-birth-weight babies1. … More Pandemic upheaval offers a huge natural experiment
OUTSIDE As a college student, writer Julia Rosen spent a summer on Alaska’s Taku Glacier, which kept growing for decades in spite of warming temperatures. Now, she reckons with its uncertain fate. Read the essay in Outside.
THE LAST WORD ON NOTHING When I was sixteen, my voice teacher predicted I would become a Jack of all trades. It wasn’t a compliment: We were in the midst of a fight, squaring off across the shiny black battlefield of her baby grand piano. She wanted me to concentrate only on singing. But I … More In Praise of Phases
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN The gas is making climate change worse. Can we harness it instead? Read the story in Scientific American.