nuclear fusion
Credit: DOE

Some parting thoughts from Peter Dykstra

Some good news — and a goodbye from our favorite columnist.

I’ve been giving some year-end thought to some of the undeniably bright signs amid the relentlessly gloomy news.

Here are three examples.

Fusion

Fusion? How cool is that? The Holy Grail of energy production may actually be taking its first credible steps forward. It’s been 33 years since the last big fusion announcement, and that one turned out to be a whopping, top-to-bottom hoax by a pair of grifting college professors.

This time, with the imprimatur of the U.S. Department of Energy, it seems more real but decades off. And rightfully, not without skeptics. Remember when fracking was hailed as a “bridge fuel?”

Declining denial 

Some key Republicans may be showing signs of melting on the party’s strict and monolithic climate denial. Even Kevin McCarthy, whose brazen chase of the House Speaker’s chair has seen him kowtow to the farthest right elements of the GOP, is said to be open to at least discussing carbon reduction – as long as we can drill, baby drill.

Brain breakthroughs 

There are precious few of us whose families haven’t been touched by Alzheimer’s. Recent headlines suggest breakthroughs in both understanding and treating this scourge (usual skepticism applies).

So, amidst the wildfires. bomb cyclones, cancer clusters and pandemics, the hope is out there. But you can address the problems until somebody figures out what they are.

A goodbye 

It’s been 27 years since Pete Myers co-wrote the book that brought wide attention to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Since then, the news and science sides of his operation have helped bring to light emerging problems like bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, BPA, phthalates, glyphosate and many more, while training a generation of environmental scientists.

EHN’s recent journalism has focused on the spreading problems associated with that “bridge fuel” from fracking, and the enormity of the plastics problem.

This is my last column on my last weekend after eleven and a half years at Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.

These sites were two of Pete Myers’ many brilliant ideas, and they still are. Thanks to Pete, Douglas Fischer and the whole team for allowing me to continue to be hell on wheels for the past 5 and half years. But the world is changing and I’m already a little past the standard retirement age.

I’m proud to have had a hand in hiring Brian Bienkowski, our superb editor. He in turn had a hand in hiring Kristina Marusic, who has turned out to be a star reporter.

Sorry to see me go? I strongly suggest you send a message to these folks by donating to them. If, on the other hand, you’re happy to see the end of my weekend bloviating, I strongly suggest you send a message to these folks by donating to them. The news we deliver and the science behind it is only going to get more important. And more prescient.

I’ll still be doing my public radio stuff with Steve Curwood on Living On Earth, so listen for me there. Or reach me on Twitter, such as it is these days, at @pdykstra or email peterdykstra@comcast.net.

Peter Dykstra, editor, weekend review


Peter Dykstra was our weekend editor and columnist — and one of the funniest and smartest people we know.

While his views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate, or publisher Environmental Health Sciences — his spirit, wit and curiosity do, so this is not the last time you'll see him on our pages.

Global Plastic Treaty
The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution negotiations were held in Nairobi, Kenya last November. (Credit: UNEP/Ahmed Nayim Yussuf)

This will be a big year in shaping the future of chemical recycling

The controversial practice looms large in state environmental laws, federal regulation and global plastic treaty negotiations.

With a presidential election looming, a wave of state-level legislation circulating, an international plastics treaty taking form and fights brewing over proposed facilities, 2024 is set to shape the regulatory future of chemical recycling in the U.S.

Keep reading...Show less
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
Keep reading...Show less
Scientists and expert testimony
Credit: Nosnibor137/BigStock Photo ID: 41646235

Scientists and academics navigate the challenging world of expert testimony

In a recent exploration by Science, Dan Charles delves into the intricate role of scientists serving as expert witnesses in legal disputes, highlighting both the opportunities and challenges this responsibility entails.

Dan Charles reports for Science.

Keep reading...Show less
Defining the Anthropocene
Credit: rolffimages/BigStock Photo ID: 36514816

Defining Anthropocene's start proves challenging

Geologists debate the official start of the Anthropocene, a term describing human impact on the planet, amidst scientific disagreement on its epoch or event classification.

Richard Fisher reports for the BBC.

Keep reading...Show less

More evidence of harmful health effects posed by gas stoves

New research further underscores the significant health risks associated with gas stove usage, especially in poorly ventilated kitchens.

Nate Seltenrich reports for Environmental Health Perspectives.

Keep reading...Show less
Fossil fuels and petrochemicals may be making us sicker, research says

Fossil fuels and petrochemicals may be making us sicker, research says

HOUSTON - Fossil fuel combustion and plastic production has increased more than 15 times since the 1950s and resulting exposure is linked to rising rates of cancer, neurodevelopmental issues and infertility, according to a new report.

Keep reading...Show less

Gulf Coast community battles against LNG industry expansion

In Brownsville, Texas, residents are pushing back against liquefied natural gas projects to protect their health and environment.

Claire Elise Thompson reports for Grist.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
plastic chemical recycling

What is chemical recycling?

While industry claims it could be part of a circular plastics economy, experts say that chemical recycling is extremely damaging to the environment and provides no real benefits.

algoma steel sault pollution

Cleaner steelmaking can’t come fast enough for this Northern Ontario city

Algoma Steel continues to exceed Canada’s standard air pollution limits for cancer-causing compounds and struggles with spills as it pushes toward a “green” makeover.

petrochemical shell pennsylvania plastic

Tracking petrochemical accidents across the US

A new database monitors fires, flares, spills and other accidents at petrochemical plants.

petrochemical houston gulf coast

Lives “devastated’ by petrochemical industry pollution in Texas: Report

New analysis illustrates the climate, environmental, and human rights tolls linked to petrochemical production surrounding the Houston Ship Channel region.

LNG gulf coast

LNG production comes with a price, Gulf Coast communities warn

US takes the global lead on liquid natural gas production and export, as economic promises and environmental worries collide.

LNG gulf coast

La producción de gas natural licuado tiene un precio, advierten las comunidades la Costa del Golfo

Entre promesas económicas y preocupaciones ambientales, Estados Unidos lidera la producción y exportación de gas natural licuado.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.