In Louisiana’s Fishing Villages, Food and Faith Are Found in the Water

Photographer J. T. Blatty Captures a Vanishing Way of Life in the Bayou

For generations, water has provided everything to the people of southeastern Louisiana’s fishing communities. Their meals. Their livelihoods. Their recreation. Their birthright. Even their faith, as one photograph by J. T. Blatty—showing an archbishop conducting the Blessing of the Fleet—makes clear.

From 2012 to 2017, Blatty, a New Orleans-based photographer, drove to small towns and villages on the bayous to document a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. The causes of this decline include the growth of the city of New Orleans and its levees, the hurricanes, and the …

How Venezuela’s Oil Riches Fueled a Literary Explosion

In the Mid-20th Century, Writers Seized on the Conflicts Laid Bare by Petroleum's Power to Reshape Society

On December 14, 1922, a gusher of petroleum was discovered in Zulia, a rural area of western Venezuela. For nine days the oil showered onto the surrounding farmland, scaring the …

What Saudi Arabia’s Vibrant Art Scene Says About Its Internal Struggles

Artists Are Using Ambiguity to Probe the Fault Line Between Modernity and Conservative Islam

When I first saw Ajlan Gharem’s video, “Paradise Has Many Gates,” at an art studio in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I was amazed.

It opens with a small single-story structure made …

Imagining California Without Oil Refineries

Not Being Gasoline Consumers Has Become Part of Residents' Identity

On the morning of May 31, Robert Hubina hurt his foot, so he skipped surfing to walk on the beach in Ventura, where he saw a dolphin with black tar …

There’s No Such Thing as a Spill-Proof Way to Transport Oil

Even the World’s First Long-Distance Pipeline that Crossed the Alleghenies in 1879 Was Prone to Accidents and Sabotage

To a historian of pipelines, last month’s Santa Barbara oil spill is a reminder that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Since their first introduction in …

At Minus 40 Degrees, It’s Hard to Argue for More Wilderness

Why the Fight Over the Arctic Wildlife Refuge Is as Bitter as Our Alaskan Winters

The value of virgin land on the frontier is based on what it can yield in economic terms. Alaska’s conservationists knew this and wanted to preserve entire landscapes for their …