Best longreads 2020

Our top 5 long reads of 2020

We've made it to the final week of 2020—a big accomplishment in a year that felt never-ending.

With the holidays here, you may have a little more time to relax. Wondering what to do with that time? We've got you covered.


Kick up your feet, grab a mug of your favorite hot drink and settle in to catch up on our top five long reads of the year. From the ocean floor to the forests of North Carolina to the blustery North, below are our top investigations and features.

1. Unplugged: Abandoned oil and gas wells leave the ocean floor spewing methane

Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling

The Gulf of Mexico is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, and toothless regulation leaves climate warming gas emissions unchecked.

2. How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.

3. ‘Them plants are killing us’: Inside a cross-border battle against cancer and pollution

Air pollution Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Two communities — one in Canada, one in the U.S. — share both a border along the St. Marys River and a toxic legacy that has contributed to high rates of cancer. Now the towns are banding together to fight a ferrochrome plant.

4. Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

Researchers say that more microplastics pollution is getting into farm soil than oceans—and these tiny bits are showing up in our fruits, veggies, and bodies.

5. Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

Hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to US food banks. But an EHN investigation found a lack of oversight that could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year.

Banner photo: The Algoma steel plant after sunset, in Sault Ste., Marie, Ont., on Friday, Jan., 17, 2020. (Credit: Christopher Katsarov Luna/EHN)

In-depth reporting that you may have missed.

Sunrise in the woods

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Does extreme weather threaten the hazardous waste sites that border Lake Michigan?
www.greatlakesnow.org

Does extreme weather threaten the hazardous waste sites that border Lake Michigan?

New report highlights concern that intense storms, high lake levels may put nuclear and contaminated waste storage facilities at risk.
invasive species

Peter Dykstra: American Invasive Species Hall of Fame, part 1

In recent years, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., have done battle over two of the biggest Hall of Fame-less sports juggernauts. Atlanta got the College Football Hall of Fame; Charlotte snagged the NASCAR Hall.

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Biomass energy may soon lose its green label in the EU
theworld.org

Biomass energy may soon lose its green label in the EU

In Europe, wood pellets fire power plants and home furnaces in what’s become a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry. It’s expanded because the European Union labels pellets as renewable. But environmentalists say that the label is misguided.
Op-Ed:  There’s a simple way to unite everyone behind climate justice – and it’s within our power
www.theguardian.com

Op-Ed:  There’s a simple way to unite everyone behind climate justice – and it’s within our power

Cancelling poor nations’ historic debts would allow their governments to channel money into climate adaptation, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot
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Global Warming: Why the problem is worse – and solutions simpler – than you thought

Global Warming: Why the problem is worse – and solutions simpler – than you thought

Noted ecologist John Harte offers a fresh take on the dire topic of climate change.

Colorado fracking

Colorado is the first state to ban PFAS in oil and gas extraction

The toxic “forever chemicals” are used in fracking wells across the country.

gun control

Peter Dykstra: Gun and climate change delusions

Millions here suffer from twin hallucinations: Guns don’t cause our mass shootings, and the climate isn’t changing.

Op-ed: An engine for social justice leads the way to change

Engine for social justice leads to change

Virginia Organizing's 27-year history as a role model for The Daily Climate

Using comedy to combat climate change

Using comedy to combat climate change

The Climate Comedy Cohort aims to help comedians infuse climate activism into their creative work.

roe v. wade

Derrick Z. Jackson: Roe v. Wade draft bodes ill for air, wetlands and the EPA

Justice Alito’s longstanding consistency in wanting to restrict EPA authority makes it transparent where he wants the court to go.

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