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)

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.”

NORTH BRADDOCK, Penn.—On Wednesday evening, 10th grader Abby Wypych stood in front of Woodland Hills School District’s board and urged them to approve a feasibility study on installing solar panels.

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Sunrise in the woods

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roe v. wade

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

Science and the U.S. Supreme Court are on course to become oil and water, much to the joy of Big Oil and to the dread of those who support actions that protect our planet.

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Climate migrants lack a clear path to asylum in the US

People displaced by climate change must show they face violence or persecution in their home countries to enter the U.S. legally. Advocates say it’s time to recognize climate as cause enough.

The problem of global energy inequity, explained by American refrigerators

The average fridge in the US consumes more electricity in a year than an average person in dozens of countries.

Danna Smith: Biden’s executive order on forests fails on climate and environmental justice

Through greater protection of forests from industrial logging, we can make the world greener, cleaner and safer. And we can help restore healthy air, flood protection and other benefits to rural communities of color.

Global heating is cutting sleep across the world, study finds

Data shows people finding it harder to sleep, especially women and older people, with serious health impacts.

From our Newsroom
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

Lake Mead

Dykstra: A corpse in a barrel in a drying reservoir

And other climate change tales for our age

A mother's gift

Gifts from our mothers

What one "big gift" did your mother give you? We want your story.

Bird photography

Earth Day 2022: Amidst the crises, don’t forget the beauty

Words and images from our founder, Pete Myers, on how bird photography keeps him connected to and curious about a planet in peril.

fracking pennsylvania

Public health in Pennsylvania ignored during fracking rush: Report

A new report outlines the alleged missteps in protecting Pennsylvanians from the health impacts of fracking.

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