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)

A poultry plant, years of groundwater contamination and, finally, a court settlement

Residents in Millsboro, Delaware, sued the local Montaire facility, which they suspect is linked to their cancers and other serious health problems.

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Japan’s plan for Fukushima wastewater meets a wall of mistrust in Asia

The government in Tokyo says criticism of its intention to release treated water into the ocean is unscientific. South Korea has called the proposal “utterly intolerable.”
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Could the pandemic prompt an 'epidemic of loss' of women in the sciences?

Even before the pandemic, many female scientists felt unsupported in their fields. Now, some are hitting a breaking point.
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The next level in office amenities: wild horses

The mustangs at a Nevada office park are an example of the outrageous perks that businesses dangle to impress job candidates, but wildlife advocates are pushing back on efforts to market them.
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John Kerry heads to China to talk climate

After contentious talks in Alaska, the visit by President Biden’s climate envoy could signal that the two countries are willing work together on some issues, even as they clash on others.
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This glacier in Alaska is moving 100 times faster than normal

The Muldrow Glacier, on the north side of Mount Denali, is undergoing a rare surge.
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New rule in cycling forbids the tossing of water bottles

Riders’ water bottles are treasured souvenirs among cycling fans. Cyclists are unhappy with a new rule that outlaws tossing them into the crowd.