Christmas good news tale

A string of kindness and good deeds

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

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.

New reports show forests need far more funding to help the climate, and even then, they can’t do it all
insideclimatenews.org

New reports show forests need far more funding to help the climate, and even then, they can’t do it all

As government leaders and forestry experts gathered in South Korea this week to discuss the state of the world’s forests, new research suggests that ambitious international efforts to curb deforestation are making insufficient progress and the planet’s trees continue to disappear. On Wednesday, an international consortium of researchers released an assessment of the sweeping United […]
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.

How science could aid the US quest for environmental justice
www.nature.com

How science could aid the US quest for environmental justice

Research tools to identify and help protect disadvantaged communities have been in the works for years. Scientists and activists want them put into action.
“The climate wars are over” in Australia? Not even close.
newrepublic.com

“The climate wars are over” in Australia? Not even close.

The conservatives’ defeat is good news, but the incoming Labor Party’s policies show why climate activists can’t relax even under liberal governments.
New Australian PM Anthony Albanese could still disappoint climate activists
newrepublic.com

New Australian PM Anthony Albanese could still disappoint climate activists

The conservatives’ defeat is good news, but the incoming Labor Party’s policies show why climate activists can’t relax even under liberal governments.
gun control

Peter Dykstra: Gun and climate change delusions

We’re at the tail end of the traditionally self-imposed mourning period for the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde.

Keep reading...Show less
Podcast: Indigenous, ingenious and sustainable aquaculture from the distant past to today
news.mongabay.com

Podcast: Indigenous, ingenious and sustainable aquaculture from the distant past to today

On this episode we discuss Indigenous peoples’ long relationship with — and stewardship of — marine environments through the lens of aquaculture. Listen here: Coastal cultures have often enjoyed abundant lifestyles thanks to the wide array of food, fiber, and other useful resources provided by the world’s seas, sounds, estuaries and oceans. Indigenous peoples have […]
Tesla to cut 10% of salaried staff, Musk tells employees
www.nytimes.com

Tesla to cut 10% of salaried staff, Musk tells employees

The electric carmaker has been growing fast in recent years, but Elon Musk, its chief executive, appears to be concerned about a weakening economy.
From our Newsroom
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.

solar power schools

Solar power at Pennsylvania schools doubled during the pandemic

“If this growth continues, schools could set Pennsylvania up as a clean energy leader and not just the fossil fuels we’re known for.”

environmental justice

Op-Ed: Black gold and the color line

How historical racist redlining practices are linked to higher exposures to oil and gas wells.

Our mothers' gifts: Readers respond

Our mothers' gifts: Readers respond

We asked you to share one "big lesson" your mother gave. And you responded

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