covid testing

Two things to be thankful for...

2020 is almost gone. And we are lucky to have prescient environmental reporters.

What a dreadful year. But, still, we don't have to venture far to find some silver linings in the toxic clouds.


Environmental journalism rises from humanity's latest ash piles. Our professional cousins, health journalism folks like Laurie Garrett and Maryn McKenna, saw their worst-case pandemic projections borne out, at horrible cost. Of course, vindicating some under-appreciated journalists is not worth 260,000 American lives. However, we should be thankful and recognize the public good that reporters do for our understanding of what may be to come.

Health journalists aren't alone—for decades environmental journalists have, too, sounded the alarm early on coming crises.

Here's short list, the Clean Dozen if you will, which I've arbitrarily limited to Americans whose long careers have served as unfortunately accurate heralds of some deep problems. Please hold your applause until the alphabetical roll call has been completed:

Seth Borenstein: AP's Washington-based science/environment guy is meticulous but hard-hitting, and has been a favored target of climate deniers (although Seth and the AP won't call them "deniers").

Casey Bukro: Started the environment beat at the Chicago Tribune in 1967 and is still active in 2020.

Roger Caras (d. 2001): Ranged from cute animal stories to hard-hitting tales of environmental abuse. He was a broadcast news pioneer at ABC.

Marla Cone: Longtime LA Times beat reporter and first editor of EHN and Daily Climate, she's written for years on toxics from Santa Monica Bay to the supposedly pristine Arctic.

Steve Curwood: Shared a Pulitzer in the 1970's at the Boston Globe, now approaching three decades of hosting/showrunning/fundraising for Living on Earth, the Public Radio newsmag where he lets me blab for five minutes a week.

Tom Horton: Arguably knows more about the science and politics of the Chesapeake Bay than anyone, starting at the Baltimore Sun in 1974.

Jane Kay: Wrote a groundbreaking series for the Arizona Daily Star in the 1980's on TCE contamination; later starred on the beat for both San Francisco papers. Family bonus points: Her brother is legendary AP muckraker Mort Rosenblum.

Paul Nyden (d. 2018): Stood up to the coal industry as a coal-stained wretch at the Charleston Gazette, where he mentored a younger legend, Ken Ward, Jr.

Mark Schleifstein: After Katrina and the disappearance of Louisiana's coastline, his editors stopped deriding his "disaster porn" a few shared Pulitzers ago.

Phil Shabecoff: Early adapter at the New York Times, and later the founder of Greenwire.

Marley Shebala: Quiet, steely muckraker on the Navajo Reservation who's exposed corruption, bringing down two tribal governments.

Bill Weir: ABC Nightline alum who does solid work as the only true full-time national TV climate guy at CNN.

There are, of course, many more, and future lists won't be limited to TV, radio, and newspapers (whatever they are.)

Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor and columnist and can be reached at pdykstra@ehn.org or @pdykstra.

His views do not necessarily represent those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate or publisher, Environmental Health Sciences.

Banner photo credit: COVID testing in New York in April 2020. (Credit: New York National Guard)

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.

Keep reading...Show less
Sunrise in the woods

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

US heatwave brings historically high temperatures to dozens of states

Dozens of states across the US began the weekend grappling with historically high spring temperatures, as a blistering heatwave that has scorched the country’s south and west moves east.

Climate change has made air conditioning a vital necessity. It also heats up the planet

The world is now 1.1 degrees Celsius — 2 degrees Fahrenheit — warmer on average than it was at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. But baked into that seemingly small change in the average is a big increase in dangerous extreme temperatures.

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.

Climate scientists worry as another above-average hurricane season quickly approaches

Researchers are already predicting that the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be above-average. Climate change data shows that more areas are becoming resilient against these stronger, wetter and slower-moving storms.

Portugal “will feel” climate change effects most

The Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, has warned that Portugal is “one of the countries that most feels and will feel” the effects of climate change in Europe.
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.

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