Most popular stories of 2020

Our 5 most read stories of 2020

Revisit the stories and words that most resonated with our readers.

It's always something of a mystery to see what most touches readers. Black food sovereignty, DuPont's pollution, fracking and horses—this year's most read stories from our newsroom reflect true diversity in the world of environmental health.


We were delighted to see that whether essay, straight science reporting, explainer piece, or investigative feature, our work can reach millions.

Don't miss out, see what others have been reading. Below are our top five most read stories from the past year.

1. We don't farm because it's trendy; we farm as resistance, for healing and sovereignty

For more than 150 years, from the rural South to northern cities, Black people have used farming to build self-determined communities and resist oppressive structures that tear them down.

2. A lasting legacy: DuPont, C8 contamination and the community of Parkersburg left to grapple with the consequences

"We all have stories of friends and family, neighbors, dying too young or being diagnosed with various medical problems"

3. Coronavirus, climate change, and the environment

A conversation on COVID-19 with the director of Harvard University's Center of Climate, Health and the Global Environment.

4. Fracking linked to rare birth defect in horses: Study

A new study has uncovered a link between fracking chemicals in farm water and a rare birth defect in horses—which researchers say could serve as a warning about fracking and human infant health.

5. Organic diets quickly reduce the amount of glyphosate in people’s bodies

A new study found levels of the widespread herbicide and its breakdown products reduced, on average, more than 70 percent in both adults and children after just six days of eating organic.

Banner photo: Tracy Danzey grew up in polluted Parkersburg, West Virginia. (Courtesy Seth Freeman Photography)

‘We’ve lost a year’: Political turmoil delays UK-Sahara energy link

An £18bn project to connect Britain with a huge wind and solar farm in the Sahara through an undersea cable has been delayed by at least a year because of political ructions in Westminster.

Sunrise in the woods

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Carbon removal is coming to fossil fuel country. Can it bring jobs and climate action?

Scientists have debated whether a new technology is a critical climate solution or would carry unacceptable risks. A project in Wyoming’s coal region could begin to provide answers.

'Agrovoltacis' in Israel's desert used to fight hunger

A unique project on a small piece of land in the desert of Israel could be a game-changer in the fight against world hunger and the consequences of climate change.

The COP15 UN conference in Montreal will be a massive moment for nature

One of the most important events for life on Earth, ever, is about to begin. This week and next, delegates from more than 190 countries will come together in Montreal, Canada, for a conference known as COP15, or the UN Biodiversity Conference, to hash out a plan to halt the decline of ecosystems, wildlife, and the life-supporting services they provide.

I lived through a year of 'weather whiplash' in our weird, warming world

After praying for rain for weeks, the US state that saw some of the year's biggest wildfires in 2022 found itself soon suffering a deadly deluge. Scientists say it could be part of a disturbing new normal.

Seaside homeowners may struggle to get insured due to climate change

Homeowners in Dublin's seaside towns have been warned that they will struggle to secure property insurance due to the impact of climate change.

America’s staggering food waste problem

We often toss food without thinking, but the waste has stakes for the environment, global food insecurity and for our wallets.

From our Newsroom
Europe forest

EU’s new climate change plan will cause biodiversity loss and deforestation: Analysis

In a plan full of sustainable efforts, the incentivizing of biomass burning has climate experts concerned.

United Nations climate change

Op-ed: It’s time to re-think the United Nations’ COP climate negotiations

Instead of focusing on negotiations, let the main event be information sharing, financing and partnerships that produce faster technological change.

population environmental

Op-ed: What the media gets wrong about the new world population numbers

The last time that we lived within the productivity limits of our planet was about 50 years ago — that is a problem.

katharine hayhoe

Peter Dykstra: Journalists I’m thankful for

My third annual list of the over-achieving and under-thanked.

sperm count decline shanna swan

A new analysis shows a “crisis” of male reproductive health

Global average sperm count is declining at a quicker pace than previously known, chemical exposure is a suspected culprit.

WATCH: The latest evidence of widespread sperm count decline

WATCH: The latest evidence of widespread sperm count decline

"Pregnant women, and men planning to conceive a pregnancy, have a responsibility to protect the reproductive health of the offspring they are creating."

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