Christmas good news tale

A string of kindness and good deeds

An unknown caller from San Anselmo, Calif., rang the other day. I'm not sure what prompted me, but I picked up.


Joan Wienheimer was on the other end. She had heard EHN reporter Kristina Marusic on NPR talking about pollution and mental health. How, she asked, could she get a copy of our investigation on the topic, Pollution's Mental Toll?

I started to rattle off our website, but Joan interrupted: She didn't have a computer. Or an Internet connection. Could she get a paper copy? Or a cassette recording?

At that point Joan had my full attention. Nobody, in my 12 years as an online journalist, has ever asked me to mail a printout of one of our stories.

Joan told me she's 77 years young. Grew up in Pittsburgh, next to a steel mill. Her entire neighborhood used coal for heating. She's had a lifetime of ailments.

Answer to nagging questions

Joan, in our conversation, emphasized over and over how much the reporting meant to her: An answer to so many questions nagging her for years.

Some unseen force, Joan said, prompted her to turn on the radio just as Kristina's segment started – a sentiment I often hear from my mother when life serendipitously offers a blessing.

A string of kindness

After we chatted for 45 minutes and hung up, I sat thinking about the events that brought Joan to me:

  • The librarian in San Anselmo who found my phone number for Joan.
  • The Heinz Endowments, which supported the idea of a Pittsburgh-based reporter focused on regional environmental issues with national relevance.
  • Kristina Marusic, our prize-winning reporter, who tackles her beat with grace, empathy and a bulldog's tenacity. She co-founded the Pittsburgh Media Partnership, a collaboration of regional media, which led to the recent mental health report.
  • The Living on Earth producer who heard our work on local radio and saw a national story.
  • And you, our readers, who give us power.

I look back at the thread connecting all these and marvel. Joan (and my mom) would call this fate. I see a long string of kindness.

As snow starts to fall in Bozeman after weeks of unseasonable warmth and brown, I feel an immense sense of gratitude: All these pieces were in place to get Joan information that offered solace and answers.

Now to get these printouts in the mail.

Subscribe to our "Good News" newsletter: Our gift to you!

Get our Good News newsletter in your inbox - FREE!

Solutions-oriented news and commentary about our health and environment. Delivered Tuesdays.
Better than coffee.

Stopping to marvel at events that connected one reader to our work – and offered insight about her health and environment

Peter Dykstra: American Invasive Species Hall of Fame, part 2

Five more flora and fauna that have left their mark.

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. But here are five more invasive species for the American Invasive Species Hall of Fame.

You can see last week’s first five here.
Keep reading...Show less
Sunrise in the woods

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

Biden releases five-year offshore leasing plan Friday

Biden releases five-year offshore leasing plan Friday

President Biden’s administration opened the door Friday to offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters over the next five years.
Meat, monopolies, mega farms: how the US food system fuels climate crisis
www.theguardian.com

Meat, monopolies, mega farms: how the US food system fuels climate crisis

From a beef-heavy diet to growing crops that don’t feed people – the biggest challenges facing the agriculture industry
Mustafa Santiago Ali:  Supreme Court's Clean Air Act decision weakens EPA, worsens injustice
www.usatoday.com

Mustafa Santiago Ali:  Supreme Court's Clean Air Act decision weakens EPA, worsens injustice

This grievously wrong decision should be understood first and foremost as a clarion call and invitation for action.
Climate data gathering on Everest
Allan Grey/Flickr

Climate data on top of the world: Wyoming students trek to Everest

Five Fremont County college students traveled to world’s highest peak to test climate sensors in partnership with historic all-Black expedition.
From our Newsroom
environmental injustice

Centering biodiversity and social justice in overhauling the global food system

“The food system is the single largest economic sector causing the transgressing of planetary boundaries.”

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.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.