Most popular stories of 2020

Our 5 most read stories of 2020

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)

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

cargo ship emissions
Andrew/Flickr

How do you know a cargo ship is polluting? It makes clouds

Big vessels spew sulfur, which brightens clouds to produce long “ship tracks.” These emissions cause environmental damage—but also help cool the planet.
Sunrise in the woods

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climate impacts emotional devastation
Facebook/Margaret Curtis

The era of climate change has created a new emotion

What word might describe losing your home while staying in one place?

The problem with New York's public power campaign

A socialist strategy would put unions, industrial expertise, and clean energy writ large at the center of the bill.

Al Gore compares ‘climate deniers’ to Uvalde police officers

“They heard the screams, they heard the gunshots, and nobody stepped forward,” he said of law enforcement at the Texas school shooting.

Europe’s not ready for a hotter world

The Continent has a lot of work to do to heat-proof its cities, infrastructure — and mentality.

Can electric vehicle batteries be recycled?

EVS make it possible to partially decarbonize transportation, but the fate of their batteries after use remains an issue.
From our Newsroom
supreme court climate change

Op-ed: Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Decision in West Virginia v. EPA

Danger resides in the majority’s having invoked a sweeping “Major Questions Doctrine” to justify its decision in this relatively narrow case.

children health

Derrick Z. Jackson: Children will suffer the consequences of recent Supreme Court rulings

A rash of recent decisions by the high court will irreparably impact our children's health.

summer reading list

Our annual summer reading list, 2022 edition

Happy 4th of July! Here's some summer reading picks from our staff.

environmental injustice

Centering biodiversity and social justice in overhauling the global food system

“The food system is the single largest economic sector causing the transgressing of planetary boundaries.”

Global Warming: Why the problem is worse – and solutions simpler – than you thought

Global Warming: Why the problem is worse – and solutions simpler – than you thought

Noted ecologist John Harte offers a fresh take on the dire topic of climate change.

Colorado fracking

Colorado is the first state to ban PFAS in oil and gas extraction

The toxic “forever chemicals” are used in fracking wells across the country.

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