“None of this is normal, yet we treat it as if it is,” wrote Sam Keck Scott in his Longreads piece on the disappearing tiger salamander population in California’s Sonoma County. “And it isn’t just Northern California that’s changed — the entire planet has. All the way down to the fish in the sea.”

In her reading list “Low Country, High Water,” Spencer George ponders another crisis — water rise and a drastically changing coastline in the American South. “How do you cope with that reality? How do you love a place that is sinking?” she asks. “I spent my entire life waiting to leave the South, thinking I would only find happiness away from here, but now that it is disappearing I find I cannot look away. I am desperate to find ways to archive my home. To preserve it.”

Gathering perspectives that range from bleak to hopeful, the writing we’ve published and recommended on the climate crisis, wildlife conservation, and other topics is at once urgent yet reflective. This week, in time for Earth Day on April 22, we encourage you to dive into our favorite Longreads essays, reported features, and reading lists, as well as favorites the editors have selected from across the web.

Original Longreads stories

Great American Wasteland

I am of that bit of earth. So I will not let it go. I show up in the small ways I can, which is talking to people, which is why I tell this to you.

California Burning

A year after the Camp Fire, Tessa Love contemplates home, California’s undoing, and what it means to belong.

After Water

The illustrated story of California, and what happens when the water runs out.

The Case for Letting Malibu Burn

Many of California’s native ecosystems evolved to burn. Modern fire suppression creates fuels that lead to catastrophic fires. So why do people insist on rebuilding in the firebelt?

The Poke Paradox

Where culinary bliss meets environmental peril, and how to solve America’s poke problem.

Longreads reading lists

Recent editors’ picks

Boots on the Ground

Zoya Teirstein | Grist | May 17, 2023 | 3,719 words

“As FEMA struggles to keep up with climate disasters, extremist groups see an opportunity.”

The Law of the Sea

Surabhi Ranganathan | The Dial | May 9, 2023 | 5,038 words

“Down in the deep, the legal distinction between land and sea no longer holds.”

Honduran Hydra

Jared Olson | The Baffler | March 21, 2023 | 5,254 words

“The unstoppable Guapinol mine.”

‘This Place Belongs to You’

Brad Rassler | Alta | December 21, 2022 | 5,043 words

“Joshua Tree National Park is synonymous with the desert. Yet record numbers of guests threaten to overwhelm its beauty, wildlife, and small staff.”

How We Came to Know and Fear The Doomsday Glacier

Marissa Grunes | Hakai Magazine | January 3, 2022 | 4,074 words

“It’s the world’s most vulnerable glacier and key to the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, yet we’re only now getting to know Thwaites Glacier.”

The Great Forgetting

Summer Praetorius | Nautilus | December 19, 2022 | 3,975 words

“Earth is losing its memory.”

The Dirty Road to Clean Energy

Antonia Timmerman | Rest of World | November 21, 2022 | 4,064 words

“How China’s electric vehicle boom is ravaging the environment in neighboring Indonesia.”

What If We Cancel the Apocalypse?

Joey Ayoub | New Lines Magazine | November 22, 2022 | 3,451 words

“How the aesthetic, utopian yet pragmatic movement of Solarpunk reimagines a future without a climate catastrophe.”

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