The farmworkers in California’s fire zones

In August, 2020, a flurry of dry lightning strikes sparked over 900 fires across California. “You could smell the smoke and everything,” says Benjamín, a pseudonym for an undocumented farmworker. “It was very close.” Benjamín milked cows during the graveyard shift at Bucher Farms, a dairy farm and vineyard in Sonoma County, and he lived… » Read More

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One Alaska bay is booming with salmon, for now

On a mid-July afternoon, when the tide was starting to come in on the Naknek River, the Bandle family’s commercial fishing nets lay stretched across the beach, waiting for the water to rise. With the fishing crew on break, Sharon Bandle emerged from a tar-paper-sided cabin that serves as kitchen and bunkhouse with a plate… » Read More

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Farming boom threatens Biden’s climate and conservation ambitions

On a sunny, sultry summer day, Joe Blastick, a land steward with The Nature Conservancy, scans the hilly pastures north of Clear Lake, South Dakota, and rattles off the names of plants he sees. Silver leaf scurf pea, purple prairie clover, green needle grass, and dozens of others blend into a cacophony of color and… » Read More

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Can rock dust be a climate fix for agriculture?

On a hot and humid August day near Geneva, New York, Garrett Boudinot stands in a field of hemp, the green stalks towering a foot or more over his 6-foot, 4-inch frame. Today, the mustached Cornell University research assistant will harvest six acres of the crop, weigh it in red plastic garbage bins, and continue… » Read More

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USDA wants to make farms climate-friendly. Will it work?

What if all it took to make a dent in agriculture’s contribution to climate change was to pay farmers not to farm? That’s the theory behind the recent expansion of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a decades-old initiative that has emerged as a central tool in the Biden administration’s effort to achieve net-zero emissions in… » Read More

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As halibut decline, Alaska Native fishers square off against industrial fleets

Each year in mid-June, Father John, dressed in long black robes, heads to the small boat harbor on St. Paul, a tiny island of 500 souls in the middle of the Bering Sea. It’s the start of the fishing season, and the Blessing of the Fleet is a community affair, an opportunity to give best… » Read More

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The tasting menu at the end of the world

In mid-August, as a largely uneventful tropical storm named Fausto was starting to wind down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Baja California, a plume of moisture it spun off had metastasized into dry thunderstorms that were rolling across northern California, more than 700 miles away. Recently flattened by a record-setting heat wave, the region… » Read More

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The water war in Indian Wells Valley

John Conaway has lived in and around the town of Ridgecrest since before it was much of a town. In 1967, when he moved his young family to the remote Southern California community, Ridgecrest had been incorporated for only a few years. “It was all dirt roads,” he says. “No stop signs, no nothing.” Mostly,… » Read More

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