What's the best story you've read about the environment this year?
December 13, 2018 7:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested both in explorations of problems like climate change and mass extinction, and solutions like renewable energy. Longform articles welcome.
posted by pinochiette to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is going to be subjective based on how "story" is interpreted.

It is easy to quickly do a web search to understand what the physical problems are in terms of climate change and how that may lead to the extinction of many species. So I'll leave you to do that. The trickier problem for me is what motivates humans to do something about it.
Losing Earth NYT story on the beginning and subsequent stalling/politicization of climate change policy in the US.
Denialism is an issue to struggle with here.

Our Renewable Future is a comprehensive but accessible overview of energy technologies, renewable energy possibilities, and the issues that need to be solved for moving towards renewable energy.
For more detail, take a look at the reports at LBNL's site.
Project Drawdown for practical ways to work on climate change and ranked by impact to reducing atmospheric CO2. Most of these are useful to understand for supporting policy changes when electing and communicating with government representatives at any level.
For context of what a 'personal' breakdown of energy consumption for US residents, which ties closely with CO2 since coal and natural gas provide baseload for electricity and transportation is almost exclusive fossil fuel powered, Saul Griffith has a good story.
posted by BeHereNow at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2018

To clarify, I'm looking for specific articles (e.g., in the New Yorker, NYT Magazine, etc). Not looking for general resources. Losing Earth was criticized in the climate world, but would be the type of thing I'm interested in. Thanks!
posted by pinochiette at 8:46 AM on December 13, 2018

New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson, is one of the first novels that I've read that actually made me imagine what climate change's impact would feel like, personally, emotionally, socially, politically.

Much other writing about climate change was as if I was reading about snow, its molecular structure, its formation process; the novel mades me feel how cold snow is.
posted by suedehead at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2018

“What If It’s Already Too Late?”: Being an Activist in the Anthropocene is something I read recently... and then re-read, and then sent around to a bunch of people I know because I found it that compelling and incisive and wanted to be able to talk about it with my friends! The conclusions the author comes to aren't exactly "hopeful" (at least not in the traditional sense of the word), but I actually found the writer's blunt honesty and willingness to stare into the abyss to be oddly comforting. I hope it's along the lines of the kinds of articles you're looking for!

Oh, and there's a follow-up piece, called “Die Early and Often”: Being Attis in the Anthropocene
posted by second banana at 12:33 PM on December 13, 2018

I found this Bill McKibben article in The New Yorker sobering and informative.

This dispatch from the COP24 conference in Poland was also revealing.
posted by zeusianfog at 2:21 PM on December 13, 2018

Have you read about the Insect Apocalypse yet? People have gotten so used to the decline of certain insect species over time, that we barely notice it or care. Now scientists are digging back through data meticulously preserved by self-guided citizen entomologists to understand just what we have lost.
posted by oxisos at 9:20 PM on December 13, 2018

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