Is There Such a Thing as a Sustainable Mining Boom?

An Early-20th-Century Copper Company Has Lessons for the Industry Today

In the Western U.S. and the north of Chile, large-scale mining has produced similar landscapes of extraction: open-pit and underground mines, smelter stacks, and large masonry structures. Transportation networks connected remote places to the world market, while many labor camps evolved into complex and vibrant communities. They also left their footprint on the natural environment: Polluted water and toxic fumes have made many of these sites inhabitable.

No other company left such a strong imprint in the mining regions of the Americas as the Anaconda Copper Mining Company—a “monstruous and complex …

How a 16th-Century Bolivian Silver Mine Invented Modern Capitalism

Potosí’s Coins Ruled the Globe But Their Costs Included Violence and Environmental Destruction

Gold has always attracted special attention for its color, malleability, and resistance to oxidation, but silver has long held a close second place. Its relative abundance in relation to gold …

A Disquieting Look at Life Around the Caspian Sea

Photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews Captures the Geography of the Land and the Practices That Connect People to It

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, nestled between Europe and Asia, and surrounded by five countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Through history, the …

California’s Trees Need to Stop Just Standing There

With Humans Unable to Solve the Golden State's Forest Crisis, Our Woodsy Friends Must Step Up for Themselves

Dear California Trees,

When are you going to stand up and take some responsibility for all the damage you do to this state?

It’s not only the blue-purple blossoms that you jacarandas …

A Killer Weed Finds New Life as Fertilizer, Filter, and Fuel

An Invasive Vine Threatening Nepal's Fragile Ecosystem Becomes Part of the Area's Sustainability Solution

Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, a stretch of grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the humid foothills of the Himalayas, is home to an enormous diversity of plants and animals. A UNESCO …

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 …