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)

“Cancer Alley” residents exposed to more than the lifetime exposure limit for cancer-causing compound: Report

"We are sick and tired of being sick and tired."

HOUSTON – Louisiana communities are experiencing up to 1,000 times the lifetime exposure limit for the cancer-causing compound ethylene oxide, according to a new study published in Environmental Science and Technology.

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Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
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Flooding costs US economy hundreds of billions annually

Increasingly severe flooding is costing the U.S. economy between $179.8 and $496 billion each year, according to new data from the Senate Joint Economic Committee.

Andrew Freedman reports for Axios.

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Degrowth movement challenges traditional views on economic growth

Economic growth, long seen as universally beneficial, is increasingly scrutinized by the rising 'degrowth' movement, which argues for reducing consumption to address inequality and environmental damage.

Jennifer Szalai reports for The New York Times.

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European election results could hinder ambitious climate policies

Recent gains by far-right parties in the European Parliament elections may obstruct efforts to implement more ambitious climate policies, though key net-zero commitments are expected to persist.

Carissa Wong reports for Nature.

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Former Australian leaders urge Coalition to exit Paris climate accord
Credit: Michael/Unsplash

Former Australian leaders urge Coalition to exit Paris climate accord

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and Keith Pitt have called for the Coalition to abandon the Paris climate agreement, while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticized opposition leader Peter Dutton for opposing emissions reduction targets.

Karen Middleton reports for The Guardian.

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Burgum shifts from green policies to pro-oil stance amid Trump's campaign
Credit: Pixabay

Burgum shifts from green policies to pro-oil stance amid Trump's campaign

Doug Burgum, North Dakota’s Republican governor, has transitioned from promoting environmentally friendly policies to supporting the oil and gas industry as he aids Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Lisa Friedman reports forThe New York Times.

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From our Newsroom
planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

air pollution pittsburgh

Amidst a controversial international sale, U.S. Steel falls behind in cleaner steelmaking

U.S. Steel’s proposed sale to Nippon Steel stokes concerns over labor rights and national security, all while the company continues to break clean air laws in Western Pennsylvania.

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