As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

It’s just past noon on a Wednesday, but the bar at the Ski Inn in Bombay Beach, California, is already packed. The crowd is mostly Canadian, snowbirds escaping to the desert spas and country club communities that dominate this southeastern corner of the state, just 50 miles from Mexico. Bombay Beach is not their destination,… » Read More

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A breathtaking lack of oversight for air emissions from animal farms

Farm pollution typically makes the news only when catastrophe strikes: A hurricane hits North Carolina and washes hog manure into neighboring homes, or the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grows due to fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi. But every day, the largest animal farms release air pollution, including noxious gases from livestock manure,… » Read More

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Are ‘forever chemicals’ in our milk? Nobody really knows.

At Art Schaap’s dairy farm in Clovis, New Mexico, sprinklers draw from deep wells to water green fields of sorghum and corn. Near the milking barn Schaap built almost three decades ago, glossy black-and-white cows lap water from a pipe.  Schaap used to ship thousands of gallons of milk each day to milk co-ops and… » Read More

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Today’s special: Grilled salmon laced with plastic

Nearly 50 years ago, scientists studying the North Atlantic Ocean started noticing that tiny fragments of plastic were turning up in their plankton and seaweed samples. The microparticles, they found, absorbed toxic chemicals and were then eaten by flounder, perch, and other fish. Until recently, though, researchers thought these ingested plastics stayed in a creature’s guts and… » Read More

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For years, complaints about North Carolina’s hog pollution vanished in state bureaucracy

In September 2016, with Tropical Storm Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, Kemp Burdette rented a single-engine plane and flew over Duplin County. Burdette, a riverkeeper with the environmental group Cape Fear River Watch, was worried that some of the local pig farmers might try to drain their manure lagoons before the rains hit, to… » 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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