Paid Not to Drill? Not So Fast

In 2010, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa became the first national leader in the world to rule out drilling for oil in a major petroleum field for ecological reasons. Less than five years later, however, he has backtracked on his promise, and the future of the environmentally important Yasuni National Park is up in the air, as the debate rages on.

Secret Tapes Reveal Contamination a Big Joke to Big Oil

A 2014 ruling that all but absolved Chevron for one of the worst oil spills in South American history is being challenged in a New York appeals court. Video tapes showing Chevron officials laughing at the environmental destruction they caused in the rainforest—tapes that were not permitted as evidence in the 2014 trial—may be the long-sought “smoking gun.”

The Plague of Tokenism

From time to time, WhoWhatWhy will bring you unusual perspectives you probably won’t find elsewhere. You may agree or disagree, but you can be sure it’ll be thought-provoking. This piece from Victor Wallis, who teaches history and politics at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, argues that putting forth a token person or effort to mark progress in issues of gender, race or environment may hamper advancement.

Radioactive Eye Glasses…Silverware…Zippers…Hip Joints… Anyone?

Every ten years or so, the nuclear establishment trots out a proposal to offload some of its so-called low-level waste—radioactive metals, concrete, soil, plastics, and other materials—onto the public. In the past, this idea was met with outrage and was stopped. But as the nation’s nuclear garbage pile continues to grow, the pressure to release some of it into commerce—and thus our daily lives—mounts.

Can a Small Community Throw a Monkey Wrench into the Global Fracking Machine?

What do you do when you don’t trust the state or federal government to protect your community from a powerful industry that you believe threatens your health, your quality of life, and your financial future? One option: Make what the industry does a crime. Here, we look at one small community that is taking a stand—and hoping a symbolic step becomes a catalyst for bigger things.