Commentary

Commentary from the CHE community on current events, contemporary issues, and scholarly debates.

An aerial photograph shows beachfront damage caused by Hurricane Irma in South Florida.

After the Wind and the Rain: Making Sense of a Record Hurricane Season

Harvey, Irma, Maria. Why has there been so much damage, and what does it mean? A guide for reading helps make sense of disaster.

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A picture of Gregory Cushman

The Fragile Society We’ve Built from Rocks: A Conversation With Gregory Cushman

Fertilizers, computers, gasoline, and other parts of our everyday lives come from irreplaceable deposits found in the Earth. But how long will they last?

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Chicken nuggets against a blue square background imposed in the upper-left corner of an image of a charred industrial kichen after a fire, run through with horizontal red stripes, suggests an image of the U.S. flag.

How’d We Get So Cheap? A Conversation with Bryant Simon

The author of “The Hamlet Fire” discusses a deadly blaze at a chicken-processing facility and the logics of cheapness which provided the kindling.

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A trypctic featuring, left to right, gut bacteria in a petri dish, a photo portrait of Anna Tsing, and a silhouette of a smockstack and smoke.

The Best of End Times: A Conversation with Anna Tsing

The author of “The Mushroom at the End of the World” is back with another exploration of how humans and non-humans will make their lives in the ruins of modernity.

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A large red metal sign, shot from below against a cloudy sky. The title reads "Massacre of Wounded Knee," with the word "Massacre" carved onto a panel added to the top of the sign.

A History Buried at Wounded Knee: A Conversation with Louis Warren

A new history of the Ghost Dance shows Native Americans preparing to live within industrial capitalism and impoverished landscapes without succumbing to assimilation.

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The Monuments We Never Built

Charlottesville reminds us that a full reckoning with our landscapes of commemoration requires we ask not only what stories they tell, but also what stories they don’t.

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An acorn propped up by its root, which stills into a green moss-covered slope.

The Wild Bunch: A Conversation with Curt Meine and Gavin Van Horn

An important new essay collection avoids the old arguments about wilderness and instead offers 26 meditations on living well in our places.

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The (Built) Environmental Revolution: A Conversation with Sarah Williams Goldhagen

We know nature is good for our brains. Can buildings be, too? A preeminent architectural critic calls for a radical shift in how we design the places where we live, work, and play.

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President Lyndon Johnson (left) and Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. Photo by NASA/Apollo 11.

NASA and the Explosive 1960s: A Conversation with Neil Maher

The author of the new book “Apollo in the Age of Aquarius” shows how NASA shaped, and was shaped by, 1960s environmentalism, feminism, conservatism, counterculture, antiwar protests, and the black freedom struggle.

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A portrait of the writer William deBuys. Photo by Ben Moscona.

Hunting a Unicorn: A Conversation with William deBuys

The preeminent environmental writer and conservationist ventures into the mountains of Laos to find one of Earth’s rarest creatures and returns believing well-crafted narratives showcasing the beauty of nature can help to fight the Sixth Extinction.

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