From the sea floor to the courtroom, the fight to save right whales grows urgent

Artie Raslich has been volunteering for seven years with the conservation group Gotham Whale, working on the American Princess, a whale-watching boat based in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. In that time Raslich, a professional photographer, has glimpsed a North Atlantic right whale, the world’s rarest cetacean, only twice. The first time was an unseasonably warm December… » Read More

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How do climate change, migration and a deadly sheep disease alter our understanding of pandemics?

For thousands of years, an unknown virus lingered quietly among the wild ruminants of South Africa. The kudu. The giraffes. The Cape buffalo. Spread by a genus of biting midges called Culicoides, the virus lived in harmony with its hosts, rarely causing disease, until the late 18th century, when farmers began importing purebred merino sheep… » Read More

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Can grazing save endangered grasslands?

On the last weekend in May, in the northeast corner of Oregon, there is a traffic jam of weathered pickups and horse trailers on the Zumwalt Road. Redwing blackbirds trill over the bellowing of hundreds of Angus-cross cattle clustered by corrals, the sign of a spring branding in progress. Half a dozen cowgirls and cowboys… » Read More

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Is carbon farming a climate boon, or boondoggle?

Trey Hill led a small group of fellow farmers to a field outside his office in Rock Hall on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It was a cloudy February day, but the ground was alive with color — purple and red turnip tops mixing exuberantly with green rye, vetch and clover, and beneath it all, rich brown… » Read More

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Are we handling the bee crisis all wrong?

On a crisp June morning at Knoll Farm, high above Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Charlie Nicholson stalked a bumblebee. He tiptoed behind the bee as it buzzed along a row of blueberry bushes, carrying a net that resembled a lacrosse stick. “The trick is to catch the bee without smashing the bush,” he said. “When… » Read More

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An unhealthy alliance between almonds and honeybees

In January, with the almond bloom in California’s orchards a month away, beekeepers across the country were fretting over their hives. A lot of their bees were dead, or sick. Beekeepers reported losing as much as half their hives over the winter.  Jack Brumley, a California beekeeper, said he’d heard of people losing 80 percent… » Read More

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Where corn is king, the stirrings of a renaissance in small grains

To the untrained eye, Jeremy Gustafson’s 1,600-acre farm looks like all the others spread out across Iowa. Gazing at his conventional corn and soybean fields during a visit in June, I was hard-pressed to say where his neighbor’s tightly planted row crops ended and Gustafson’s began. But what distinguished this vast farm in Boone, Iowa,… » Read More

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