Climate + Environment
The Case of the Vanishing Cafeteria Tray
Once a staple of communal dining, food trays are disappearing — along with a harmful human impulse.
Is This the World’s Most Eco-Friendly Landfill?
Once-endangered Pinzgau goats are among the many animals to flourish on Vienna’s “trash mountain,” which heats roughly one-fifth of the city’s homes.
The Little-Known Tool Protecting California Towns from Polluters
Most Californians have never heard of the CalEnviroScreen — even those whose communities it has shielded from ecological disaster.
Nuclear Crocodiles Invade Florida — in a Good Way
A nuclear power plant that became a thriving habitat for endangered crocs shows how conservation can work even in the most human-altered environments.
A new kind of cash crop is turning gusty Iowa into a renewable energy juggernaut — and preserving a rural way of life.
California’s Floodplains Are Coming Back, and So Are Their Salmon
Farmers and ecologists are partnering to restore the state’s natural flooding patterns, allowing native fish to thrive.
A Canadian province and an American state sit side by side in the same ecosystem. On one side of the border, salmon are thriving.
Oregon Is Turning Sewage into an Endless Supply of Green Energy
Converting poop into heat and electricity offers a tantalizing proposition: more waste equals more clean power.
The Eco-Friendlier Future of the Disposable Spork
As cities and countries ban single-use plastics, sustainable alternatives are emerging.
Back from the Brink
A Zambian park has reversed the national extinction of a precious and vulnerable species. Soon, it won’t be alone.
A Diet Rich in Probiotics Could Climate-Proof Coral Reefs
New research shows that the “gut health” microorganisms can enhance the immune systems of living coral.
A Tall, Cool Glass of Air
For drought-stricken places, pulling drinkable water from the atmosphere could become one of the easiest ways to stay hydrated.
France Is Freeing Fruit and Veg from Its Plastic Prison
Under a new law, a large portion of the country’s produce will no longer be sold in single-use plastic containers.
Every Battery Is a Treasure Box
A tsunami of spent EV batteries is coming, and the effort to recover the valuable materials inside them is already underway.
Amsterdam’s Instant Fix for Getting Rid of Junk Mail
By only delivering it to people ask for it, the city is saving thousands of tons of paper per year.
Why Our Staff Is Optimistic about Climate Change
As the world’s biggest climate conference comes to a close, we see reasons for hope on the horizon.
How One Woman Protected Millions of Acres
Kristine Tompkins has conserved more land than any other single individual, calling it “capitalist jiujitsu” for the planet.
‘Green Infrastructure’ for Clean Water Proves Itself in Washington D.C.
The U.S. capital is tackling a sewer overflow problem with a softer solution.
How to Turn a Desert into a Forest
A group of “holistic engineers” wants to return the arid Sinai peninsula to the lush, green landscape it once was.
‘Eco-Score’ Labels Make Shopping More Sustainable
A simple letter-grading system in the U.K. has led to a significant shift towards ecologically greener foods.
‘Community Ownership’ Might Be the Best Way to Fight Deforestation
When forests are managed by the people who live in them, conservation tends to follow.
The Climate-Friendly Refrigerators of Decades Past
As the U.S. phases out hydrofluorocarbons, the next generation of fridges is adopting low-emissions technology that’s nearly a century old.
How America Is Winning the War on Overfishing
Though overfishing remains a global problem, a science-driven approach has led to surprisingly sustainable practices in some countries, including the U.S.
You May Already Be Wearing the World’s Most Sustainable Jeans
A family-owned Italian denim manufacturer is turning one of fashion’s most toxic staples green, one global brand at a time.
Can We Suck Up Enough CO2 to Cool the Planet?
As we speak, giant machines are removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an urgent attempt to slam the brakes on climate change.
Meet the World’s First Carbon-Neutral Soccer Club
An all-vegan stadium. A field fertilized with seaweed. How the owner of the sport’s most sustainable team is cultivating “a new kind of soccer fan.”
Returning 600,000 Acres to Nature, One Piece at a Time
As homeowners, churches and even railway operators “rewild” their land, biodiversity is flocking back to England’s East Anglia region.
France’s ‘Peevolution’ Is Irrigating Farms With Liquid Gold
A century ago, Paris recycled half of its urine. Today, it’s being used as a high-grade fertilizer once again.
Cleaning Up Rivers Is Saving the Oceans
When an architecture student’s dazzling ocean cleanup concept fizzled, she started thinking smaller — and tackled the problem at the source.
When Oil Spills Strike, Call in the Hair Force
Human hair is becoming a major player in ocean cleanups as a free, highly effective resource that never runs out.
Ancient Farming Techniques Are Climate-Proofing Today’s Agriculture
In the Bolivian Andes, the low-water growing practices used by Mayans and Aztecs are making a comeback.
For a Clean Ocean, Just Add Oysters
From picturesque Mediterranean isles to New York’s bustling harbor, strategically placed oyster colonies are depolluting the sea with ease.
Beirut Is Greening the Aftermath of Disaster
One year ago an explosion decimated Beirut. Today, the city is picking up the pieces — and using them to rebuild.
Our Hydrogen-Powered Future Is Unfolding at the Edge of the World
On an island community in the seas north of Scotland, the last frontier in green energy is being realized.
French Cuisine Has Gone Off the Grid
As other businesses go green, food service remains an energy-intensive outlier. Europe’s first solar-powered restaurant wants to change the recipe.
This Is the First Ecosystem With Its Own Insurance Policy
A 100-mile stretch of coral reef in Mexico is now insured just like any other valuable asset. Is this the future of conservation?
World’s Largest Seagrass Project Proves “You Can Actually Restore the Oceans”
A “game changing” 20-year effort suggests that even severely depleted marine ecosystems can be brought back to life.
Louisiana’s Coastal Communities Are Solving Their Own Flooding Crisis
What happens when you let the people most threatened by sea-level rise decide what to do about it?
“Community Choice” Is Getting Renewable Energy to Millions
A novel system gives consumers a green alternative to what their utility companies offer.
Inside the Movement to Clean Up the World’s Most Toxic Sites
A sprawling initiative identifies pollution hotspots so the communities affected by them can act.
Tree-Free Paper Is Saving Forests and Farmers in Washington State
Creating paper from wheat waste gives forests a break — and harvesters a new revenue stream.
Where £100 Can Make You a Solar Entrepreneur
In Bath, England, even the smallest investors can support – and profit from – the city’s green energy boom.
Wales’s “One Planet” Policy Is Transforming Rural Life
By allocating residents their “global fair share” of resources, the government is making development in pristine environments sustainable.
The Island Where Everyone Owns the Wind
On carbon-negative Samsø Island, renewable energy is collectively owned — which means that the greener the island gets, the more everyone benefits.
London Is “Rewilding” and Native Species Are Flocking In
The British capital is resurrecting its long lost natural habitats to foster biodiversity.
A System for Sharing Household Heat Is Growing Beneath France
Green energy is generated at a central location, then shuttled through underground pipes to homes in suburban Paris.
What if Climate Change Isn’t as Polarizing as We Think?
It benefits politicians to portray the issue as deeply divisive, but most voters don’t see it that way.
How Loggers Helped Environmentalists Save a Spectacular Canadian Rainforest
Spanning 16 million acres of wild Pacific coast, the Great Bear Rainforest is a magical place. The partnership that saved it is just as unique.
The Italian Fishermen Who Brought the Sea Back to Life
When overfishing decimated Puglia’s biodiversity, conservationists and fishermen created a marine reserve that turned their catches around.
The New Solar Farm Is a Real Farm, Too
The next generation of solar arrays benefits the earth — right beneath them.
Tasmania’s ‘Super-Kelp’ Is Making CO2 Vanish into the Ocean
These towering seaweed forests are amazing climate change fighters. Now scientists are stepping in to make them even stronger.
Europe Is Going Coal-Free
By the end of this decade, the world’s dirtiest source of energy will have vanished from over a dozen European countries.
Can We All Be Like Texas?
How a conservative, oil-pumping state became one of the world’s biggest generators of wind power.
This ‘Carbon-Negative’ Burger Is Fighting Climate Change
As fake meat floods the market, some fast-food joints are insisting that their ultra-sustainably raised beef is better for the planet.
Abandoned Coal Plants Are a Huge Opportunity
They’re cavernous, solidly built and often on prime urban land. Now, they’re being reborn as everything from charter schools to solar farms.
The No-Waste Goal That Succeeded by Failing
Years ago, the Japanese village of Kamikatsu set the goal of producing zero waste by 2020. They’re not going to make it—and that’s just fine with them.
Mitigating Climate Change: The Game!
Nothing says family fun during the holidays like a good ol’ game night. This season, here’s a game future generations might appreciate too.
In the haze of the California wildfires, a Native American tribe’s independent electricity grid saved the day. Is a new model for energy in America rising from the ashes?
Ban the Bag!
Those ubiquitous flimsy shopping sacks are vanishing from country after country, leaving less plastic in our seas, our trees and our own digestive systems.
Trees Are Healing Our Planet
A recent study found that new forests might be our best shot at saving the world. A global guide to doing it right.
What Baltimore Gets Right about Urban Trees
While other cities plant trees, Baltimore has focused on monitoring and maintaining the ones it already has—and is one of the few cities whose urban forest is expanding.
Let Them Eat Larvae
Farmers are feeding their livestock the larvae of black soldier flies—an abundant, sustainable snack that’s quietly greening the industry, one maggot at a time.
The Necessity of Nuclear
After reading David Byrne’s article suggesting that nuclear power is too risky to be a part of our green energy evolution, I had a few thoughts to share.
Can Lawsuits Save Planet Earth?
These days, the litigators hauling climate change scoundrels into court are doing more than any politician to keep our environment healthy and livable.
More and more institutions and even whole countries are ending their investments in fossil fuels. This is happening. Money talks.
When Politics Fails, Call the Lawyers
It was legal teams—not politicians—that ultimately held the tobacco industry to account. Their next target? Perpetrators of climate change.
Interactive: 30 Years of Suing the Bastards
Early lawsuits like the Exxon Valdez settlement paved the way for the cases now holding climate changers to account. See our timeline of the eco-litigation evolution.
Crushed by negative news?
Sign up for the Reasons to be Cheerful newsletter.