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November 22, 2013

Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to partially eliminate the filibuster. That’s good news for President Obama, who has been unable to fill a large number of vacancies to federal courts and executive agencies because of Republican objections. But, significantly, it could also be good news for the environment.

The filibuster rule...

November 6, 2013

A few weeks ago, the editorial board of New Jersey’s largest newspaper bowed to the inevitable and endorsed Chris Christie’s never-in-doubt bid to be re-elected governor. Folks outside of my adopted home state will recognize Newark’s Star-Ledger as the paper a bathrobe-clad Tony Soprano used to pick up from the end of his driveway.

My favorite part of the...

August 14, 2013

In 2006, long before I worked at this magazine, OnEarth contributing editor Sharon Levy visited a farm in California’s Sierra foothills and let honeybees swarm all over her body. Wearing the distinctive white coveralls and veiled helmet that serve as a beekeeper’s protective gear, she sat on a rural roadside embankment and, as she describes it, watched as a throng of bees alighted en masse on her arms and legs.

Levy’s discomfort was in the service of an important story....

July 16, 2013

We’ve made some changes to OnEarth.org recently, as part of our continuing effort to make this the best digital environmental magazine on earth(!). The one that will be most obvious is our updated design, especially our new homepage and article pages, which launched yesterday. We’ve also been adding to and updating our columns and blogs by leading environmental journalists—smart writers and thinkers like Jocelyn Zuckerman, Elizabeth Royte, George Black, and David Gessner—and that lineup is...

June 4, 2013

My morning commute from the Jersey suburbs is often fraught with confusion and delay. But this morning was the first time a black bear was to blame.

There it was, in the small park just across the street from my train station, perched nervously in the lower branches of a large tree. It looked like it was seriously considering a leap onto the police SUV parked below, which is why officers were banging loudly with fallen branches and a hammer, hoping to keep...

May 13, 2013

In grad school, one of my professors, the journalist Jonathan Weiner, told us the story of visiting Hawaii's Mauna Loa earth observatory in the mid-1980s while researching his book The Next One Hundred Years. Atop an active volcano, Jonathan was asked to breathe on a new intake valve as part of an informal test of the...

January 18, 2013

I never fail to be awed when I see pictures of our planet’s lit-up nighttime surface from space. There’s something strangely beautiful about tracking the spread of modern civilization in those rays of light we shine into the dark void. (Of course, we could also be alerting hostile aliens to our presence, but I try to stay positive.) I enjoy trying to match the patterns of light to my personal history—say, pinpointing the bright belt across the lower Atlantic states that...