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April 30, 2014

My first inkling of the Great American Lime Crisis of 2014 came when I ordered a vodka tonic in Washington, D.C., recently. I didn’t think much about it when my server told me the restaurant was out of limes and offered to garnish my drink with a lemon instead (pass). But when the same thing happened at a bar in Manhattan a few days later, I wondered what was up.

Limes were suddenly scarce and expensive everywhere, my chatty bartender told me. Something...

February 27, 2014

Here are some things that do not constitute a conflict of interest in the State Department’s latest environmental review of the proposed $5 billion Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, according to a new report from the agency’s Inspector General:

  • The State...
February 25, 2014

The death of Harold Ramis this week has a lot of people (including me) thinking back fondly on the films that he wrote, directed, and starred in, including my personal favorite: Ghostbusters. (I’ll accept arguments that Groundhog Day is the superior Ramis film, but Ghostbusters was more central to my childhood, and thus gets my personal nod.)

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January 31, 2014

This post has been updated throughout with the latest analysis and reaction.

The U.S. State Department released its final environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline Friday, and although some scientists and advocates who have spent years making the case that it would be an environmental disaster...

January 29, 2014

By a president’s fifth State of the Union address, perhaps it’s only natural to feel a sense of déjà vu. How many times now have we heard President Obama declare in major speeches—as he did last night—that the science is settled and climate change is a fact?

Still, for those who recognize it as an existential threat to human civilization, the president’s willingness to acknowledge the issue and put it high on his agenda...

December 18, 2013

Some journalists hate making year-end lists, to the point that it’s become a staple of the genre to complain about the assignment even while fulfilling it. But I kinda love ’em. If patience is a lost virtue, as our own...

December 16, 2013

One thing that occasionally annoys my wife about being married to an environmental journalist: I make our household shopping a lot more complicated. Canned tomatoes? Might contain BPA. Cleaning products? Could have VOCs. But a year ago, when I explained why I had started obsessively checking...

December 3, 2013

Climate scientist James Hansen has perhaps just published his magnum opus, his ultimate cri de coeur, and it boils down to this: world governments have set an insufficient target—by half—for staving off the worst impacts of global warming, with deadly consequences for human civilization.

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Four years ago the journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, a...

December 2, 2013

As the editors of an environmental magazine, we at OnEarth spend gads of time searching for what we call solutions-oriented stories. Because even though a lot of bad things are happening to our world, we don’t want our pages overtaken by doom and gloom. So we’re always on the lookout for scientists, politicians, advocates, and innovators who are discovering how to fix problems, whether through...

November 27, 2013

You eat something enough, and you might think you’d know a little something about it. But despite gobbling down a couple thousand turkey sandwiches over the course of my lifetime (I did the math) and even once attending a National Wild Turkey Federation convention (thanks to my uncle, a longtime member who does a mean turkey call), I have to...