climate crisis, record-breaking storms, flooding, coastal erosion, oyster reef restoration
Photo credit: Virginia Sea Grant / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED)

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Could Billions of Oysters Protect Us From the Next Big Storm? (Maria)

The author writes, “This year has been a year of record-breaking weather. The summer of 2023 was the hottest in history, followed by September being the warmest on record by a wide margin. In New York, it was also the wettest September in over a century. … Deep in coastal harbors and waterways, an unlikely ally has been hiding all long: oysters. These keystone species have many superpowers — including helping to protect shorelines from storm surge and high tides and reducing the impacts of erosion from intense rain.”

Some Biden Staffers Report a ‘Culture of Silence’ Around Horrors in Gaza (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Days after reporting revealed that State Department officials were cracking down on the use of any language in press materials that called for halting civilian casualties in Gaza, Biden administration staffers reported that a similar ‘culture of silence’ has become pervasive across federal agencies since Hamas attacked Israel. … Despite claims by the White House that it welcomes ‘range of views’ in internal meetings on the crisis in Israel and Palestine, HuffPost reported that numerous staff members have had interactions … that left them feeling as though any criticism of Israel’s U.S.-backed onslaught in Gaza, which has killed roughly 3,450 Palestinians, will not be tolerated.”

The New Economic Security State: How De-risking Will Remake Geopolitics (Sean)

From Foreign Affairs: “In the past decade, economics and national security have collided, turning government inside out and upside down. The definition of security has expanded beyond matters related to warfare and terrorism, as previously disregarded economic and environmental problems such as food insecurity, energy shortages, inflation, and climate change have moved to the ‘very core’ of the official U.S. National Security Strategy.” 

‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Is a Euphemism Used for Genocide Denial (Al)

From Genocide Watch: “‘Ethnic cleansing’ is a term invented by Slobodan Milošević and Serbian propagandists as a euphemism for forced deportation and genocide. It is history’s most successful euphemism used for genocide denial. Milošević is laughing from his grave. ‘Ethnic cleansing’ has become the dominant term used to describe genocidal crimes without using the word ‘genocide.’ It has invaded the legal lexicon, statements by the United Nations, reporting in the press, policy making by governments, and even judgments by the International Court of Justice.”

Tropical Disease Now Endemic in US, CDC Says. Imported Dogs Could Bring Deadlier Form (Mili)

The author writes, “A tropical disease once seen almost exclusively among Americans returning from travel abroad now has a unique U.S. strain. Health officials warn that a related, deadlier parasite seen in other countries could thrive in the U.S. due to these improved climatological conditions for the disease. The parasite known as Leishmania spreads when sandflies, historically found in tropical climes, bite people. … Climate change, some researchers say, may be expanding the geographical reach of sandflies and, consequently, the reach of the disease.”

What Will It Take to Make Traditional Foods Thrive Again? (Laura)

From The Narwhal: “Skeena River sockeye have declined 75 percent since 1913. Woodland caribou have declined by more than half in the past century. But with the right resources, First Nations are bringing ancestral foods back from the brink.”

Amazon Unveils New Human-Shaped Warehouse Robot, More Powerful Drone (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Amazon employees have long worked alongside robots — but the company is now testing a very lifelike, two-legged machine to help its human co-workers with some tasks. Amazon announced Wednesday it had begun testing a bipedal robot in its BFI1 experimental facility in Sumner. The robot is in the very early stages of development, Amazon said, so it’ll be some time before it is on operational warehouse floors. The robot, named Digit, has two arms, two legs, a blue chest and two square lights for eyes. It moves forward and backward, turns around, and bends. It can reach, grab and lift Amazon’s signature yellow totes that hold items as they move through Amazon warehouses.”


Comments are closed.