Select Page

For many reporters, Walter Maestri, the emergency manager for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, was the go-to guy on the devastating impacts of the hurricane that changed New Orleans forever.

“As the water recedes,” Maestri told Mark Fischetti of Scientific American, “we expect to find a lot of dead bodies.”

Image copyright The Times-Picayune.

John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein, reporters for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, wrote an extensive series on their hometown’s losses, and Maestri gave them bad news on the city’s most vulnerable residents: “We anticipate that [even] with refuges of last resort in place, some 5 [percent] to 10 percent of the individuals who remain in the face of catastrophic storms are going to lose their lives.”

“Very, very rapidly, within a 10-hour period, you know, the metropolitan New Orleans area is totally devastated,” Maestri told CNN’s John Zarrella.

But the Scientific American piece was published in 2001, McQuaid’s and Schleifstein’s epic series ran a year later, and the CNN story aired in 2004.

Hurricane Katrina hadn’t happened yet.

When Katrina did hit New Orleans on the morning of August 29, 2005, with winds of over 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour, the flooding devastated the city, forcing many residents to take to their roofs in search of rescue and later to leave the city altogether. Others weren’t so lucky, as Maestri’s dreary prophecy in Scientific American came true: There were a lot of dead bodies. More than 1,500.

 

Approximate Death Tolls of Major U.S. Hurricanes

San Felipe Okeechobee, 1928

Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Atlantic-Gulf, 1919

Hurricane Audrey, 1957

Schleifstein, who still reports on the environment for the Times-Picayune’s post-Katrina website and print edition, lost his home to the storm. Before the disaster, city editor Jed Horne shrugged off his story pitches as “more of Schleifstein’s disaster porn.” He says he’s heard that only in jest since Katrina.

Therein lies the paradox for environmental journalists. They’re often right. Not every time, but a lot. When their warnings go unheeded, more often than not, the world weeps.

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman used to feature Times-Picayune writer Mark Schleifstein in his cartoons as a reporter who overreacted to incoming hurricanes. Since Katrina, Schleifstein says, such sentiments have been different. Image courtesy of Mark Schleifstein.

Cartoonist Walt Handelsman used to feature Times-Picayune writer Mark Schleifstein in his cartoons as a reporter who overreacted to incoming hurricanes. Since Katrina, Schleifstein says, such sentiments have been different. Image courtesy of Mark Schleifstein.

Lake Erie was an American environmental success story. Once on the verge of biological death from sewage, industrial pollutants and oxygen-depriving algae, the lake bounced back in the 1970s and ’80s, as tougher environmental laws took hold in the U.S. and Canada.

Image copyright The Blade / Library Archiving System.

Then Erie began to backslide. By 1995, Tom Henry of the Toledo, Ohio, newspaper The Blade reported on the return of toxic algae that could threaten both human health and aquatic life. The algae led to beach closings and fishing restrictions, and have been blamed for eutrophication and a wide range of human ailments. The algae were present at manageable levels for nearly two decades, but the big comeback was fueled largely by phosphorus-based fertilizer running into the lake from farm fields, and was strongest in western Lake Erie, the shallowest and warmest area of the Great Lakes. In those first years, Henry says, his stories got little response from officials, but inspired local disc jockeys to turn “toxic algae” into morning radio skits.

In 2011, when Henry asked about concerns for contamination of the water supply for half a million metro residents, he got a reassuring answer: Among other tools, carbon filtration would keep the city’s Lake Erie water supply safe. Henry kept asking the question and reporting on the algae, which also posed a threat to swimmers and boaters. Since 1996, 270 stories with Henry’s byline that either mention or focus on algae appear in the Blade archives. He filed pieces on how climate change, mayflies or invasive zebra mussels could worsen the algae problem and how earthworms or runoff-absorbing plants could lessen it.

In a 1996 story in The Blade, Tom Henry wrote that zebra mussels “appear to be helping algae grow.” Photo © iStockphoto.com/scubaluna

In a 1996 story in The Blade, Tom Henry wrote that zebra mussels “appear to be helping algae grow.” Photo © iStockphoto.com/scubaluna

A 2009 Henry story told of the start of an algae warning system for water-filtration plants on the lake, even though regulators still insisted the algae were not a threat. The drinking water question kept coming up. Henry filed stories over the next few years citing algae-research funding cuts and ominously large algae blooms in 2011 and 2013. In May 2014, he reported that that summer’s algae bloom would be a doozy. In July, he wrote about the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s visits to water-filtration plants after the algae began to show up in water plant tests.

Tom Henry

On August 2, 2014, the algae hit the fan. Toledo’s water plants were overwhelmed by the algae, and dangerous levels of the toxin microcystin were found in the water supply for 500,000 residents. Taps went dry for two days, and the story finally gained national attention. After water service was restored, Henry wrote a series of stories uncovering documents describing both warnings to Toledo and a possible state takeover of its water facilities.

As early as 1999, opponents of mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia were parodying the 1971 John Denver hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as a protest song. They replaced the opening line, “Almost heaven, West Virginia,” with “Almost level, West Virginia,” and parodied the rest of the song with lyrics blasting the practice of blasting mountains for the coal inside.

Paul Nyden

A quarter-century ago, mountaintop mining was a somewhat new technique in Appalachia when Paul Nyden of the Charleston Gazette reported on environmental concerns and lack of oversight from regulatory agencies on the practice, in which explosives and earth-moving equipment remove the tops of mountains to extract coal. Critics call the process “strip mining on steroids.” It leaves behind a moonscape, with the pulverized mountaintops bulldozed into adjacent valleys — hence the “almost level.” And mountaintop removal mining requires far fewer miners than traditional underground mining, contributing to job loss in Appalachian coal towns.

One state government attorney paid Nyden a compliment many reporters would kill for, half-seriously calling him the best investigator the West Virginia Division of Energy has. In a 2005 lawsuit, Don Blankenship, then CEO of Massey Energy, and his lawyers described Nyden as a “self-described Marxist”; the suit was later dismissed.

Nyden retired in August 2015 as a result of newsroom downsizing, but Ken Ward Jr., who calls Nyden his mentor, continues to play watchdog on the struggling coal industry.

Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy, who has often sued or threatened to sue reporters and news organizations, settled a suit with Ward and the Gazette in 2012 after the paper agreed to publish a response to their reporting about Murray.

Ken Ward Jr.

In recent years, studies have pointed to the negative effects of mountaintop removal on nearby water systems, wildlife and people. In early 2016, Yale Environment 360 reported on a Duke University study that found water quality in streams and rivers often comes up short of state standards once 5 percent of a watershed is mined. The study provided evidence the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency used to revoke a West Virginia coal mine’s permit in 2011 under the Clean Water Act — the first time the EPA had ever done so. And in 2014, the Washington Post reported on two studies that backed up concerns about the mining practice’s effects on water quality, aquatic biodiversity and human health.

Sometimes people affected by looming environmental disasters beat reporters to the story. In 1968, Pearl Woodrum of Saunders, West Virginia, wrote to then-governor Hulett C. Smith, requesting an inspection of the coal mine slurry ponds in the hills above her home.

Coal slurry is a mix of pulverized coal, dust and water — a by-product of processing coal that is stored, often on-site, in artificial ponds held back by earthen dams. A similar impoundment to those above Woodrum’s home failed two years prior in Aberfan, a Welsh mining town. Black muck cascaded down a hillside and into town, killing 144 and engulfing a school full of kids and teachers. Woodrum saw the same potential danger for her community.

But she was ignored. The coal slurry dams along nearby Buffalo Creek held until February 1972, when a deluge soaked the earthen dams and filled the toxic reservoirs behind them. The dams gave way, and the resulting cataclysm killed 125 and left nearly all of the valley’s 5,000 residents homeless.

Arch Moore, who became governor of West Virginia in 1969, lashed out afterward — not at the dam’s owners or negligent inspectors, but at the national coverage of the disaster. “The only real sad part about it is that the state of West Virginia took a terrible beating which far overshadowed the beating which the individuals that lost their lives took,” he told the New York Times.

History repeated itself in October 2000, when 100 miles of Ohio River tributaries were blackened by another mine-waste dam failure in Martin County, just over the border in Kentucky.

Such failures offered fair warning for the hundreds of coal ash waste sites nationwide. In the first years of the 21st century, dozens of reporters in places such as Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Norfolk, Virginia, asked questions about local coal ash sites. Jeff Goodell’s 2006 book Big Coal mentions coal ash hazards and stands as an epic predictive work on every facet of coal’s current plight.

When a dam gave way at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil plant just before Christmas 2008, images of homes and farmland spending the holidays beneath 5.4 million cubic yards (4.1 million cubic meters) of coal ash drew a national response. Dams would be inspected, risky facilities would be shut down, and the EPA and Congress would kick butt and take names. Or so the public was promised.  

In 2009, the EPA did issue a lengthy list of other power plants with coal ash dumps vulnerable to a similar disaster. Duke Power had 10 of the 44 facilities on that list, including the Dan River plant in Eden, North Carolina. The news hit home, and was duly reported. Company representatives assured locals that they had adequately inspected their coal ash dams. “We are confident based on our monitoring, maintenance and inspections, that each of our ash basin dams have the structural integrity necessary to protect the public and environment,” Jason Walls, a Duke spokesman, told the Charlotte Business Journal at the time.

Sometimes people affected by looming environmental disasters beat reporters to the story. In 1968, Pearl Woodrum of Saunders, West Virginia, wrote to then-governor Hulett C. Smith, requesting an inspection of the coal mine slurry ponds in the hills above her home.

Coal slurry is a mix of pulverized coal, dust and water — a by-product of processing coal that is stored, often on-site, in artificial ponds held back by earthen dams. A similar impoundment to those above Woodrum’s home failed two years prior in Aberfan, a Welsh mining town. Black muck cascaded down a hillside and into town, killing 144 and engulfing a school full of kids and teachers. Woodrum saw the same potential danger for her community.

But she was ignored. The coal slurry dams along nearby Buffalo Creek held until February 1972, when a deluge soaked the earthen dams and filled the toxic reservoirs behind them. The dams gave way, and the resulting cataclysm killed 125 and left nearly all of the valley’s 5,000 residents homeless.

Arch Moore, who became governor of West Virginia in 1969, lashed out afterward — not at the dam’s owners or negligent inspectors, but at the national coverage of the disaster. “The only real sad part about it is that the state of West Virginia took a terrible beating which far overshadowed the beating which the individuals that lost their lives took,” he told the New York Times.

History repeated itself in October 2000, when 100 miles of Ohio River tributaries were blackened by another mine-waste dam failure in Martin County, just over the border in Kentucky.

Such failures offered fair warning for the hundreds of coal ash waste sites nationwide. In the first years of the 21st century, dozens of reporters in places such as Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Norfolk, Virginia, asked questions about local coal ash sites. Jeff Goodell’s 2006 book Big Coal mentions coal ash hazards and stands as an epic predictive work on every facet of coal’s current plight.

 

Hazardous Coal Waste Dams

About

The U.S. EPA rates coal ash ponds according to a National Inventory of Dams criteria that categorizes the ponds by the damage that would occur in the event of a dam failure. (Last updated: December 2014.)

Significant Hazard

Failure or mis-operation of these damns would probably not result in loss of human life, but could cause economic loss, damage the environment,disrupt lifeline facilities, or create other concerns.

High Hazard

Failure or mis-operation of these dams will probably cause loss of human life. (Designations of * are based on state determinations. EPA considers the hazard potential of these dams to be significant.)

Map courtesy of Earthjustice​.

When a dam gave way at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil plant just before Christmas 2008, images of homes and farmland spending the holidays beneath 5.4 million cubic yards (4.1 million cubic meters) of coal ash drew a national response. Dams would be inspected, risky facilities would be shut down, and the EPA and Congress would kick butt and take names. Or so the public was promised.  

In 2009, the EPA did issue a lengthy list of other power plants with coal ash dumps vulnerable to a similar disaster. Duke Power had 10 of the 44 facilities on that list, including the Dan River plant in Eden, North Carolina. The news hit home, and was duly reported. Company representatives assured locals that they had adequately inspected their coal ash dams. “We are confident based on our monitoring, maintenance and inspections, that each of our ash basin dams have the structural integrity necessary to protect the public and environment,” Jason Walls, a Duke spokesman, told the Charlotte Business Journal at the time.

Amy Adams, North Carolina program manager for Appalachian Voices, holds up a hand with wet coal ash on it from a spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River plant in Eden, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Amy Adams, North Carolina program manager for Appalachian Voices, holds up a hand with wet coal ash on it from a spill at Duke Energy’s Dan River plant in Eden, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

For five years, they did. Then in early 2014, the Dan River impoundment gave way, sending nearly 40,000 tons (36,000 metric tons) of ash and wastewater downstream and through Danville, Virginia. Duke Power faced heavy fines and said it will excavate most of its coal ash impoundments, sending the waste to landfills instead.

Tightened EPA regulations on coal ash storage were finally announced in December 2014, six years after the Kingston spill. Environmentalists have called the rules inadequate, but many in Congress think they’re draconian and have tried to undo them.

The Hanford nuclear weapons complex, in the high desert of south-central Washington state, served a vital role in 20th century history. And it left such a mess that cleaning it up may last until almost the 22nd century.

Hanford’s labs and factories produced weapons-grade plutonium and fueled the Manhattan Project. The cities that sprang up to house its workforce were company towns, and the company was the United States during the Cold War. Hanford’s products were patriotism, secrecy and the most destructive weapons in human history.

No one gave much thought to the fourth Hanford product: highly toxic waste whose cleanup is budgeted at more than US$100 billion — and not due for completion for decades to come.

Karen Dorn Steele

Karen Dorn Steele was a reporter for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, a nearly three-hour drive northeast of Hanford. She had reported on proposals to store high-level nuclear waste at the sprawling facility along the Columbia River. In late 1984, after receiving a phone call from a worker at Hanford’s Plutonium Uranium Extraction Plant, she met Tom Bailie, a third-generation farmer whose cornfields were 11 miles downwind from Hanford’s plutonium factory. Bailie’s family and his farming neighbors included a high number of cancer victims. Their livestock had deformities that resembled those in southern Utah, downwind from a Nevada nuclear weapons test site. In 1985, Dorn Steele got the story of the Hanford “downwinders” on the front page of the Spokesman-Review and began to dig deeper, filing what turned out to be a massive series of Freedom of Information Act requests on “missing unaccounted for” plutonium, or misplaced plutonium.

Wading through what she calls the “trial and error” process of filing FOIA requests amid a jungle of classified documents, she exposed “Green Run,” a massive and intentional release of radioactive iodine in 1949 at Hanford, back when intentional radioactive releases were considered more of a curiosity than a threat.

Slowly, the veil of secrecy lifted at Hanford.

Image copyright The Spokesman Review.

Image copyright The Spokesman Review.

Initial reports estimated that nearly a half-trillion gallons (2 trillion liters) of liquid chemical and radioactive waste had been poured into the desert ground. ABC News, The New York Times and other national media followed the lead of Dorn Steele and The Spokesman-Review. Others followed, too: Dorn Steele told the Spokane-based Center for Justice about a visit the FBI made to her newsroom, ostensibly digging for missing-plutonium facts. Hanford supporters lobbed suggestions that she had a hidden agenda, and an unpatriotic one at that.

By 1989, the Cold War and the need for nuclear weapons were ebbing. The Hanford story took an odd and costly turn. Instead of facing irrelevance from the “peace dividend” predicted by President George H.W. Bush, Hanford thrived on cleaning up its own mess with a jobs boom. For a time in the 1990s, the area experienced a real estate boom. Cleanup costs to date have been roughly US$50 billion. Current estimates are for at least US$115 billion more, for another half century, before Hanford can be considered clean. Recent reports say the cleanup may be a decade or more behind schedule.

 

Number of Superfund Sites in the U.S.

Active Sites

Proposed Sites

Deleted Sites

Dorn Steele isn’t sure whether she helped take down the nuclear complex or give it a rebirth. But with humility, she says simply, “It turned out to be a major story.”

Karen Dorn Steele still lives in Spokane, but in 2009, she took a buyout as part of the downsizing of The Spokesman-Review. As for Hanford, a portion of the site is now managed by the National Park Service in the newly created Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The environmental nightmare and bottomless financial pit is now a tourist destination.

Global Cooling

In the 1970s, though certainly not the consensus view in the scientific community, some scientists examined the prospects for “global cooling” as a result of atmospheric aerosols potentially blocking sunlight’s path to Earth. Some journalists took the bait. Time, Newsweek, and even “The most trusted man in America,” CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, ran stories suggesting that glaciers would overrun Canada in the coming decades and global food production would be drastically reduced. A TV documentary narrated by everyone’s favorite half-human science officer, Leonard Nimoy, suggested that every American city would have winters like Buffalo, New York.

Image copyright The Pittsburgh Press, via Google News. Published February 28, 1974.

Image copyright The Pittsburgh Press, via Google News. Published February 28, 1974.

But when scientists dug further, there was little evidence for the global cooling theory, and nearly everyone moved on. Pundits and political operatives who oppose climate action or deny the existence of climate change still flog the global cooling stories in an attempt to undermine the credibility of all climate science.

Killer Concordes

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the notion of supersonic passenger aircraft was a huge technological masterwork to some, and an Earth-killer to others.

“It now seems clear that very high speeds at out-of-sight altitudes could drastically upset the whole planet’s ecological balance,” warned Time magazine in one of two stories it published predicting mayhem from the big aircraft. Supersonic transport critics, including entertainer Arthur Godfrey and then–EPA chief Russell Train, worried that supersonic aircraft would produce enough nitrogen oxides to destroy the planet’s protective ozone layer. Others said the plane’s sonic booms would initiate massive bird kills and fray human nerves.

 

Top Speed of Select Aircraft

  • SR-71 Blackbird (Military) – 2,200 MPH (3,500 KPH) 100%
  • F-15 Eagle (Military) – 1,650 MPH (2,660 KPH) 75%
  • Concorde – 1,354 MPH (2,179 KPH) 62%
  • Cessna Citation X (Private Jet) – 700 MPH (1,100 KPH) 32%
  • Airbus A380 (Passenger Jet) – 676 MPH (1,088 KPH) 30%
Those protests, plus relative indifference by U.S. airlines, high fuel costs, and a ban on supersonic travel over U.S. land, killed the domestic SST program. But France and Britain launched the Concorde, and the Soviet Union developed the Tupolev Tu-144. SSTs were airborne from 1976 to 2003 — doomed by their unprofitability, not environmental devastation. The feared impacts never happened. We went on to find better ways to kill birds and destroy the ozone layer.

Flint

In order to perform a heroic act of journalism, Curt Guyette had to leave journalism (at least as we normally define it). Guyette was fired from his job at Detroit’s Metro Times when he spoke publicly about the paper being put up for sale. He became an investigative reporter for an advocacy group, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Michigan chapter. His initial reporting on water-system woes in both Detroit and the crumbling city of Flint drew, in his own words, “little attention” outside Michigan.

Curt Guyette

In 2015, Guyette and volunteers went door to door in Flint, collecting water samples to test the city’s newer, money-saving water supply from the Flint River. Soon after the switchover, Flint residents began reporting a battery of health concerns. Meanwhile, pediatrician Mona Hana-Attisha tested blood-lead levels in Flint residents. When both efforts found off-the-charts results, state and federal environmental officials and Michigan governor Rick Snyder were slow to respond and, many have said, dismissive of what Flint residents were dealing with. By December 2015 the story had gotten some national traction. By mid-January 2016, Flint was under a federal emergency declaration, and drinking water was being hand-delivered. More recently, news outlets such as Reuters and USA Today have reported that Flint is just the start and that many more communities across the U.S. are dealing with lead poisoning.

Ocean Acidification

When human activity changes the chemistry of the oceans that cover most of the planet, it probably should get your attention. The one-two punch of sea level rise and ocean acidification is already underway. As carbon dioxide is absorbed into the seas, the pH of seawater drops. Impacts to mollusks and other species are already apparent in some ocean areas and estuaries, notably the Pacific Northwest. In 2013, Craig Welch and Steve Ringman of The Seattle Times published “Sea Change,” a multipart multimedia series on the consequences to marine environments everywhere.

“No one can predict exactly how things will look — the seas are too complex for that,” wrote Welch. But the project’s overall tone is that, well, we’re screwed. The series won multiple reporting awards, but our oceans continue to acidify.

Bee-Killing Chemicals

The alarming decline in all sorts of pollinators — bees, butterflies, bats and more — has multiple sources and suspects: habitat loss, parasitic insects and, for bats in North America, a fast-spreading and untreatable fungus that smothers the faces and wings of affected animals. But for honeybees, much scientific attention has turned to neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonics became wildly popular over the past two decades for use on food crops, flowering plants, lawns and other vegetation. They’re believed to be free of many of the human health risks associated with more conventional pesticides.

Nearly a decade before concerns grew elsewhere, French journalists were raising the red flag. A neonicotinoid called imidacloprid, marketed by chemical company Bayer under the brand name Gaucho, was introduced in France in 1994. When beekeepers reported a precipitous decline in their hives over the next several years, the national press picked up on it.

French journalists were taking a closer look at how neonicotinoid pesticides affected bees long before the issue was much of a news or policy issue in North America. Photo © iStockphoto.com/heibaihui

French journalists were taking a closer look at how neonicotinoid pesticides affected bees long before the issue was much of a news or policy issue in North America. Photo © iStockphoto.com/heibaihui

“Whole colonies had disappeared from our apiaries,” a beekeeper told Vincent Tardieu of the French newspaper Le Monde a few days after Gaucho was applied to sunflowers frequented by honeybees. “I did not see dead bees around the hives, but I found drunk and groggy bees in sunflowers. They had lost their sense of direction and seemed unable to return.”

Studies confirmed the phenomenon of disoriented bees unable to return to the hive, though Bayer and others disputed the findings and still do. France and eventually the entire EU began restricting neonicotinoids before the chemicals were much of a news or policy focus in North America. Today the EPA has placed a moratorium on new neonics, and a patchwork of bans or restrictions stretches from cities such as Portland, Oregon, to the Canadian province of Ontario, to garden-supply retailers such as Lowe’s. Yet the use of neonics and the bee decline continue.

The passing science fad of “global cooling” notwithstanding, predictive stories on climate change have been too numerous to mention. Philip Shabecoff and Walter Sullivan of The New York Times were among the early adopters.

But the most curious climate change prediction came from a late 1950s CBS TV science series sponsored by Bell Labs. “The Unchained Goddess” warned that fossil fuel burning could engulf coastal cities and change “life itself.” The series was produced by Frank Capra, who also produced “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Image copyright The New York Times. Published August 22, 1981.

The presenters were University of Southern California professor Frank Baxter and actor Richard Carlson. Baxter played the scientist, although his day job was teaching English Lit. Carlson played the curious citizen; his most famous prior brush with science was starring in “The Creature From the Black Lagoon.”

The warnings on climate — Baxter’s nearly 60 years ago but others dating back to at least the early 1900s — have just begun to budge the needle of human concern and action. It’s still not unusual for journalists, scientists and others to be derided for doing their professional version of stating the obvious when they write about climate change, even when a torrent of research and on-the-ground evidence confirms it. Things like extinction, acidification, and the melting of ice caps and glaciers are either permanent, or they might as well be. There won’t be any do-overs if these warnings are ignored.

Both environmental reporting and the science that backs it up are now old enough to have a history — and that history is overwhelmingly strong. When published warnings get ignored, the damages can often be measured in destroyed ecosystems, lost lives, impaired health and billions of dollars of costs. Which means that paying attention to the warnings we receive today could make a big difference tomorrow.

This list, of course, only scratches the surface of past environmental warnings from dogged journalists and media outlets. We invite you to share your own suggestions for environmental reporting we should be heeding or should have heeded by using the hashtag #FOREWARNED and tagging @ensiamedia on social media. Shining a light on stories that affect people’s lives in such dramatic ways is more important now than ever.


 

Credits

Edge is the multimedia storytelling platform of Ensia, an independent, nonprofit magazine presenting new perspectives on environmental challenges and solutions to a global audience.

Story – Peter Dykstra
Peter Dykstra is based in Conyers, Georgia, and has been a contributor to Public Radio International’s Living On Earth, publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate (2011–2014), a deputy director at the Pew Charitable Trusts (2009–2011) and an executive producer at CNN (1991–2008).

Development and Design – Dustin Carlson
Dustin Carlson is the lead web developer for Ensia.

Editing and Project Oversight – David Doody
David Doody is the senior editor for Ensia.

Photo Research and Design – Todd Reubold
Todd Reubold is the publisher, director and co-founder of Ensia.

Proofreading – Mary Hoff
Mary Hoff is the editor in chief of Ensia.

Fact Checking – Andrew Urevig
Andrew Urevig is a communications assistant for Ensia.

Design Assistance – Trong Nguyen
Trong Nguyen is a graphic design intern for Ensia.

Photo Credits
New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina – Photo © Alamy.com / EPA/Vincent Laforet
Algae on Lake Erie – Photo © Peter Essick / Aurora Photo
Mountaintop Mining in West Virgina – Photo by Dennis Dimick (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Coal Mine Slurry Ponds – Photo © Jim West / Alamy Stock Photo
Hanford Nuclear Site – Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New York City Blizzard – Photo © iStockphoto.com/brasil2
Purchasing Bottled Water – Photo © EPA/Jeff Kowalsky / Alamy Stock Photo
Melting Glacier – Photo © iStockphoto.com/wanderluster
Media Interview – Photo © iStockphoto.com/microgen 


 

Sign up for Ensia’s newsletter and you’ll be the first to hear about new Edge stories

2 Comments

  1. Theodore Hullar

    Stories of this type (content, strength of science, layman-language, “tipping point” possibilities) can be especially valuable. We’re entering into a “no brain” (not enough knowledge and/or willful disregarding) time. Stories, grounded in the substantive, critically-reviewed science can be especially helpful. Now, more than ever

    Reply
  2. Robert P. Dana

    Well done. But this product is likely to be seen almost exclusively by people like me who already are aware of the problem and concerned about it (I am a biologist). How to get the information out to people with less knowledge and/or strong emotional filters that reject even considering it–in this age of “social media” the old strategy of convincing “opinion leaders” probably isn’t going to work.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This