As we humans are so busy abusing each other, the constant din of battle seems to drown out an even bigger one: over the survival of life on this planet.
In 2017, Mother Nature took another beating. However, as people in Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, and — currently — in California can attest, nature also hit back.
The low point this year was probably the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and the systematic dismantling of the EPA. However, many other stories did not get nearly enough attention.
Below is a selection of WhoWhatWhy’s coverage that we think deserves a second look.
Will Activists Be Able to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline?
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will enrich investors, but it may permanently scar the Appalachian Trail and jeopardize the health, safety, and peace of mind of the region’s most vulnerable residents.
When Toxic Politics Clash With Toxic Chemicals
For 40 years, the federal government has failed to protect the public from toxic chemicals. Last year, a bipartisan Congress passed a law to change that state of affairs. Public health advocates worry that the Trump administration is now undermining it.
Can the EPA Survive Trump & Congress?
With draconian budget cuts, behavior causing committed staff to leave, and the passage of laws that would make it impossible for an agency to function under any administration, are Trump and Congress trying to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency?
House Tax Bill Throttles Renewable Energy, Hugs Big Oil
The House of Representatives votes on Thursday to approve its tax bill, which slashes tax benefits for wind, solar, and electric vehicles, and retains billions in tax benefits for fossil fuels.
A Sad Countdown: Scientists Watch a Species Go Extinct
Conservationists thought they were close to saving a species on the brink of extinction — until their plan took a devastating turn.
Plastic Ocean: From Thriving Ecosystem to Trash Dumpster
Newborn babies have never touched plastic, but studies of umbilical cords show its chemical residue can be found in them. Like a dangerously virulent virus, plastics have made their way into almost everything — into the oceans, into the fish, into us.
Cities, States and Kids Sue to Stop Climate Change
The courts have the power to set a deadline for federal agencies to slash carbon emissions. Or make Big Oil liable for climate damages. Could Hurricane Harvey be a factor in their decision?
China Invests Big Bucks in Green Energy While US Goes Dirty
Both China and the US are about to change course on how they produce energy. While the incoming Trump administration wants to refocus on fossil fuels, China is investing hundreds of billions of dollars into clean energy, which could give it a major competitive advantage down the road.
Kentucky Coal’s Adapt-or-Perish Moment
Can a solar farm bloom in the devastation left by an abandoned strip mine? Developments in Kentucky are putting a new face on the energy future of Appalachia — even as the Trump administration looks to turn the clock back to the 19th century.
Conflict of Interest Questions Dog Former EPA Official
A former EPA official involved in a controversial study of the health effects of Monsanto’s glyphosate is being taken to court by public interest advocates who want to know more about his ties to the company and the chemical industry.