A Valuable Reputation
Once upon a time, a pesticide company hired a bunch of scientists to test a chemical in their formula. When one of the scientists discovered that this chemical, called Atrazine, seriously messed up the reproductive organs of frogs, he started to get paranoid that the company, called Syngenta, was out to get him. The scientist started treating phone calls as though they were bugged and had a graduate student send fake emails from his account to disguise his travel plans. Some thought the man was crazy—until documents revealed that the big, bad company really was after him. Rachel Aviv digs deep into the case of Dr. Tyrone Hayes in an attempt to separate fiction from even scarier reality. New Yorker
Russian President Vladimir Putin sure loves his Persian leopards. I mean, the guy opened a breeding and rehabilitation center for the felines back in 2009 and has made a very public point about saving the species. It’s a great story for the host country of the 2014 Winter Olympics—but it’s mostly a mirage. Bill Donahue travels behind the Iron Curtain to reveal how Putin’s politics are actually endangering the leopards by dividing and destroying their habitat. OnEarth
How do you get people interested in a story when your main character is an invisible greenhouse gas? How do you make people sit down to watch a documentary about complicated science and far off projections? Well, the answer to this climate change conundrum may be wrapped up in a single word: celebrities. The Showtime network is working on a star-studded documentary series that has the likes of Matt Damon, Olivia Munn, and Harrison Ford reporting from lands and seas in the climate crosshairs. The show is called Years of Living Dangerously and as Alexis Sobel Fitts explains, the premise behind it might just be crazy enough to work. Columbia Journalism Review
Wolves at the Door
The war over wolves in the West has raged for centuries. Most recently, complaints by hunters and ranchers has led to the delisting of the gray wolf in places like Montana. Now, hunters are permitted to kill five wolves each year at just $19 a pop. Luckily for the species, only 1 percent of hunters fill their tags. Nathan Rott walks us through this complicated intersection of science, fear, and politics. (Note: You may want some headphones if you’re at work. This one’s got that multimedia thing going on.) NPR
In American West, a Battle Unfolds over Bugs, Climate Change, and the Fate of an Iconic Species
After a 30-year effort that’s brought the grizzly bear population back from a mere 136 animals, a proposal is in motion to take the bear off of the Endangered Species List. Yet some scientists argue a delisting would be premature, given that one of the grizzly’s favorite foods, whitebark pine seeds, is dwindling. (Climate change has allowed an influx of pine beetles to decimate high elevation forests and march a little further north each year.) Kate Sheppard hits the mountains to find out how a simple question—is the grizzly recovered or not?—has morphed into a multifaceted debate over ecology, climate change, and government action. Huffington Post
Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This.
Salty sidewalks, salty rivers: Salting your sidewalk may prevent the mailman from breaking his neck, but all that sodium chloride has to go somewhere…like into nearby waterways. And while there are some environmentally conscious alternatives, they too come at a cost. Al Jazeera America
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