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A Taste of What’s Inside

Activists haul in an illegal gillnet from the Gulf of California.

In “The end of the ‘panda of the sea,’” Ben Goldfarb wrote a gorgeous narrative documenting a controversial band of environmental activists who worked with the Mexican government to try to save the vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California that is going extinct. This was the latest in our partnership with Pacific Standard magazine.

Courtesy of Harper’s Magazine

“Drinking Problems” by Contributing Editor Elizabeth Royte for Harper’s Magazine charts the difficulty when environmental protection conflicts with culture. In Pretty Prairie, Kansas, farm fertilizer had contaminated the area’s groundwater, with the nitrate levels eventually topping 20 parts per million, double the federal limit. For many years, the town was “creative” in its methods to remain compliant with federal nitrate levels as it tried to come up with a viable solution. But it wasn’t simply cost considerations that upheld the status quo. The town’s close relationship with area farmers, who are part of the fabric of the community, also played a big role.

Workers remove a shelterbelt to make room for a highway.

“Uprooting FDR’s ‘Great Wall of Trees’” written by Carson Vaughan for The Weather Channel. Midwestern farmers, seeking to expand their crop lands, are destroying millions of trees that helped protect the region’s soil after the catastrophic Dust Bowl of the 1930s.