Praying for rain

Etched into the face of a red sandstone cliff in the arid highlands of northwestern New Mexico is an unlikely image: a delicately outlined fish. Dozens of petroglyphs surround it, carved centuries ago by the ancestors of the pueblo tribes who still live in the region. They depict antelopes, humans, supernatural beings, spirals and other… » Read More

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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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The Loophole: How American forests fuel the EU’s appetite for ‘green’ energy

The smoke billows like cream in coffee off Lebanon Church road, above the pine stands and winter fallow, a sharp palette of blue and green and white. Heavy with trees and scraps from the surrounding forests of Northampton County, the trucks come and go all day long, downshifting here just before the Methodist  church and… » Read More

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‘Every Day You Become More Desperate’

José Ramón Campos López, a 40-year-old farmer from San Carlos Lempa, El Salvador, stares out at his two acres of land. It’s August, harvest time. The field should be full of tall, vibrant corn stalks. Instead, it’s full of weeds, but for a small patch of corn on the edge of the plot that managed… » Read More

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Climate change threatens Montana’s barley farmers – and possibly your beer

The heat last summer in Montana was brutal and unprecedented. Dry winds fanned wildfires across one million acres, ravaging grasslands in the eastern part of the state and scorching the timbered mountains west of the continental divide. In the tiny town of Power, which sits in the foothills of the Rockies, smack in the middle… » Read More

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Can New Mexico’s ancient irrigation canals survive a changing climate?

Water murmurs and flows through a narrow earthen canal that winds along the cottonwood-lined edge of Santa Cruz Farm. Located in the tiny burg of Santa Cruz de la Cañada in northern New Mexico, the farm produces prolifically, despite being just three and a half acres. The owner, 63-year-old Don Bustos, grows tender salad greens,… » Read More

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Uprooting FDR’s ‘Great Wall of Trees’

Surely the end was nigh. Up and down the Great Plains, from the Texas panhandle to the Dakota prairies, dust stripped the paint from their barns, the wheat from their fields, the money — what pitiful amount was left — from their pockets. “Today is just common hell, death and destruction to every growing thing,”… » Read More

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