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environment

Earth in the Balance

Nature, we learn, seeks to establish and maintain equilibrium. According to a study published late last year in Nature, Earth did just that, though not by design. It just so happens that the year 2020 marked the point at which anthropogenic mass (the mass of manmade inanimate objects) equaled Earth’s total biomass (the total mass of all living taxa, including the mass of humans and our livestock).

Illustration by Chris Haughton

Mapping: It’s Not Easy Being Green

Note: All figures rounded to the nearest whole integer.Sources:U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA 430-R-18-003: Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2016 (2018): Table ES-4.Department for Business, Energy & I [...]

A water-taxi driver crosses the Tonle Sap lake, heading toward the mainland from the floating  village of Akol. (Luc Forsyth/Ruom)

The Giving Flood

Lake Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s “beating heart,” is threatened by the competing needs of a rapidly developing nation. Can a new kind of conservation save it?

Sunrise over the Loup River, one of Nebraska’s major waterways that locals believe is threatened by Keystone XL.

Line in the Sand

Now that Senate Democrats have defeated legislation that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans are promising to push the project through when they take control of the Senate next year. But this fight isn't always along predictable party lines. Reporting from Nebraska, a state at the heart of the pipeline's path, Elliott D. Woods explains why.

Edward Sawicki on his ancestral farm in the hamlet of Ogonki, Poland.

Unlikely Dissidents

Shale gas has unlocked what may be the biggest fossil-fuel rush of the early twenty-first century. It has been called a path to energy independence and industrial revival, less polluting than coal. No other energy topic has garnered so much media attention in the last few years.

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