Weekend Reader: Award winners, Southern delusions & top news.

SEJ recognizes the year's best in environmental journalism; a few observations from our Weekend Editor on the Solid (and Trumpian) South; and more

The Society of Environmental Journalists annual awards shows the strength and depth of environmental journalism; talk of a Democratic overthrow in the midterm elections is hard to find in the American South.


Forget about that Southern Blue Wave

In the off-year 2017 elections, Doug Jones was just the Dreamland candidate for Southern Democrats' comeback.

Relatively telegenic and a civil rights prosecutor, Jones faced the best odds an Alabama Democrat had in years: His Republican opponent, Roy Moore, had twice been bounced from the Alabama Supreme Court for ignoring Constitutional mandates. And Moore was buried in a dozen complaints that he trolled, stalked, or groped young women decades earlier.

Although Moore denied all accusations, his campaign wallowed in an epic pit of creepiness.

The relatively unassailable Jones managed a 1.7 percent victory for a partial-term Senate seat he'll be hard-pressed to keep in 2020.

One-point-seven percent, over a guy dragging credible child molestation charges to the polls.

Read the full story here.

The best environmental journalism

For almost two decades, the Society of Environmental Journalists has been recognizing the best environmental journalism published in the United States. They announced winners this week for this year's journalism awards. Some of the strong contenders showed both the vibrancy and urgency of environmental reporting.

Among the winners:

"Bombs in Our Backyard" by Abrahm Lustgarten, Lena Groeger, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Sisi Wei, Ashley Gilbertson, Ranjani Chakraborty and Lucas Waldron for ProPublica.

"Toxic Secrets: Pollution, Evasion and Fear in North Jersey" by James M. O'Neill, Scott Fallon, Chris Pedota, Daniel Sforza, Michael Pettigano and Susan Lupow for The Record (Bergen County, NJ) and NorthJersey.com.

"Marshall Islands Project" by Kim Wall, Coleen Jose, Jan Hendrik Hinzel, Brittany Levine, Andrew Freedman and Alex Hazlett for Mashable.

Links and the full list of winners and runners-up are here.

Top weekend news & opinions

Payback? A major past donor to Jeff Sessions's campaigns gets some alleged payback in a dispute with EPA.

From theory to in-your-face: Climate scientist Michael Mann says climate impacts are no longer subtle, they're in our faces. From WBUR's Here & Now.

Two from Alaska on oil damage: From Inside Climate News: Surrounded by oil fields,an Alaskan village fears for its health.

And from the NYT's Henry Fountain: How new oil projects cut scars across Alaskan wilderness.

Shocker! Green energy passes its first trillion-watt milestone as prices drop. (Bloomberg)

Stellar long-read from The Guardian and Keith Kahn-Harris on Denialism: What drives people to reject the truth.

From Wash Post's Capital Weather Gang: California's Carr Fire became one one the biggest fire tornadoes ever measured.

Essay from NPR's Scott Simon: Calling the press the "enemy of the people" is a menacing move.

Climate Denial's evil twin: Climate denial isn't the only anti-science push that won't die: In this NYT op-ed, Melinda Winner Moyer says anti-vaxxers still have an impact on vaccine science.

Grist offers a level-headed assessment of the NYT Sunday Magazine's controversial "autopsy" on how the climate movement blew it in the 1980's.

climatenewsnetwork.net

South Asia’s twin threat: Extreme heat and foul air

Climate change means many health risks. Any one of them raises the danger. What happens when extreme heat meets bad air? South Asia's humid megacities face special jeopardy.

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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.

www.winnipegfreepress.com

Killer whale migration upends Arctic waters

Slipping through the frigid water, the sleek black dorsal fin of a killer whale is iconic; but they're being seen in new parts of the world more frequently, thanks to climate change breaking up sea ice.

www.reuters.com

U.N. delays crucial climate summit for a year, cites pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the United Nations to delay until late 2021 a crucial climate summit that had been scheduled for Britain this year, officials said on Thursday.
crosscut.com

‘Extremophile’ scientist trades Antarctica for COVID-19 research

J.J. Hastings came off the grid into a pandemic. Stranded in Washington, she started swabbing for the virus.
www.dw.com

Plunging solar energy prices spell bright future for clean electricity

Solar energy has fallen in cost faster than experts predicted. How did electricity from photovoltaic panels get so cheap?

Joe Biden and climate change: A chance to make history in the 2020 election

Joe Biden might not have been the climate left's least favorite candidate but he was pretty far down their list. He won without them, but he will need their help to win in November.

www.post-gazette.com

County fines U.S. Steel more than $360K for violations at Clairton plant

The Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday fined U.S. Steel $361,400 for over 300 air pollution and permit violations at the Clairton Coke Works dating back to October.

From our Newsroom

Fracking linked to rare birth defect in horses: Study

The implications for human health are "worrisome," say researchers.

Of water and fever

While we're rightly distracted by fighting a virus, are we ignoring other "just" wars over water?

How an enduring environmental symbol could become COVID-19 buzzkill

The Clearwater has sailed the Hudson River for five decades—teaching children and cleaning up the contaminated river. Much more work remains and the Clearwater is out of action due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus, the planet, and you

How the spread of the deadly virus is impacted by climate change, the environment, and our lifestyles.

On 'Noble' journalists and prizes

This year's Pulitzer winners and finalists feature five – count 'em – five environmental entries.

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