Earth Day 2019

Insightful writing on the challenges of climate change, curated by journalist Jeff Goodell.

On Earth Day this year, what I’m thinking about is not the beauty of our planet, or the fragility of it, but how quickly it’s changing.

I’m just back from a two-month-long research trip to Antarctica, where I came face-to-face with Thwaites glacier (AKA The Doomsday Glacier), which is one of the most consequential tipping points in our climate system. What I learned in Antarctica is not just how dramatically humans are reshaping the world by continuing to burn fossil fuels, but also how quickly those changes are happening, even in remote places like Antarctica.

Below are a few stories that highlight those changes, as well as a few stories that discuss what we humans might do about them, should we decide to take dramatic action. What’s at stake is not the Earth—the planet has been through much, much worse in the last 4 billion years. It’s civilization that’s on the line.


Young people are about to utterly transform climate politics.

Alex Steffen • The Nearly Now

We speak, for the sake of brevity, of “the climate movement.” But there is not one climate movement, but several different movements of people who want climate action, and the tensions between them are rising as younger people get more engaged. We can see this best, right now, in the U.S.

Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast

Elizabeth Kolbert • The New Yorker

The New Orleans Lakefront Airport was built by the Louisiana governor Huey P. Long on a tongue of fill that sticks out into Lake Pontchartrain.

Journey to Antarctica: What We Learned in the Ice

Jeff Goodell • Rolling Stone

This is the latest dispatch in a series from Jeff Goodell, who is aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer in Antarctica, investigating the effect of climate change on Thwaites glacier. As I write this, I’m on the bridge of the Nathanial B.

Welcome to the Age of Climate Migration

Jeff Goodell • Rolling Stone

Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas and Louisiana last August, causing $125 billion in damage, dumped more water out of the sky than any storm in U.S. history. By one calculation, roughly a million gallons fell for every person in Texas.

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