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Yes, you too can be a Grist fellow. Apply today!

Are you an early-career journalist, storyteller, or multimedia wizard who digs what we do? Then Grist wants you!

We are now accepting applications for the fall 2017 class of the Grist Fellowship Program.

This time around we’re looking for all-stars in two primary areas: environmental justice and video. You’ll find deets on the two fellowship opportunities here.

The Grist Fellowship Program is a paid opportunity to hone your journalistic chops at a national news outlet, deepen your knowledge of environmental issues, and experiment with storytelling. We get to teach you and learn from you and bring your work to our audience. The fellowship lasts six months.

For fellowships that begin in October 2017, please submit applications by July 31, 2017. Full application instructions here.

Good luck!


South Korea turns its back on coal and nuclear power.

In an April 26 directive, President Trump called for a review of 27 national monuments created after 1996, claiming there should be more public input on monument designations.

Public lands experts suggested the order was a ploy to open new turf for energy exploration. They said monuments receive plenty of public comment, both from specialists and average Joes.

The experts appear to be right.

Ahead of a June 10 deadline for the Interior Department’s review of Utah’s Bears Ears — among the newest national monuments, and a particularly contentious one — the department received a flood of nearly 150,000 opinions. The great majority implore the administration to leave Bears Ears and the other monuments be.

Poring over 150,000 missives is a definite tl;dr situation — so we pulled some highlights.

“This monument holds immense meaning for the indigenous peoples in the area and to destroy it would continue the erasure of indigenous beliefs and further the genocide of indigenous cultures,” wrote one commenter.

“The air that I breathed in was so much different from the air that I breathed in when I used to live in Korea,” wrote one respondent reminiscing about a trip to Bears Ears. “The visit reminded why our family had immigrated from Korea in first place [sic].”

But it wasn’t all adulations for our “national treasures.”

One comment labeled the designation of Bears Ears an “unjust and unfair federal land grab” — a sentiment echoed by the oil and gas industry. “Undo everything Obama did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” read another.


“Must we destroy everything?” asked one person, while another chided Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “show some respect for your goddamn country you monkeys.”

And one sly commenter sought to end the discussion on monuments before it began, appealing to Zinke’s unwavering adulation for a former president: “Teddy Roosevelt had the right idea!”


Elon Musk just quit presidential councils over Paris climate treaty rejection.

Some highlights:

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Pittsburgh’s votes went mostly to Hillary Clinton. She won 55.9 percent of votes in Allegheny County. Note that the Paris Agreement encompasses people from nearly 200 countries, not just the city where it was drafted.

“The bottom line is the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

Other countries think U.S. involvement is extremely fair. The United States blows every other country away in terms of per capita emissions.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining an economic advantage over the United States.”

Actually, the economic advantages of combating climate change are well documented. Companies like Exxon, Google, and even Tiffany & Co. asked Trump to stay in the agreement.

And, just for fun, a comment from Scott Pruitt:

“America finally has a leader who answers only to the people.”

Nearly 70 percent of Americans were on board with the Paris Agreement. Only 45 percent voted for Trump.

This story has been updated.


Obama says we’ll have to speed up innovation to avoid eating our way to climate catastrophe.

“There is such a thing as being too late,” he told an audience at a food summit in Milan, Italy. “When it comes to climate change, the hour is almost upon us.”

The global problems of climate change, poverty, and obesity create an imperative for agricultural innovation, Obama said. This was no small-is-beautiful, back-to-the-land, beauty-of-a-single-carrot speech. Instead, Obama argued for sweeping technological progress.

“The path to the sustainable food future will require unleashing the creative power of our best scientists, and engineers, and entrepreneurs,” he said.

In an onstage conversation with his former food czar, Sam Kass, Obama said people in richer countries should also waste less food and eat less meat. But we can’t rely on getting people to change their habits, Obama said. “No matter what, we are going to see an increase in meat consumption, just by virtue of more Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, and others moving into middle-income territory,” he said.

The goal, then, is to produce food, including meat, more efficiently.

To put it less Obama-like: Unleash the scientists! Free the entrepreneurs!


The largest organic dairy farm in America might not be organic.

It’s hard to speak with the boisterous, enthusiastic Lauren McLean and not think of Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s iconic character on Parks and Recreation. (McLean’s kids even make the comparison.) And like her fictional counterpart, McLean also gets things done in her city. Since she joined the Boise city council in 2011, McLean has pushed for land conservation, energy efficiency, and social justice. In 2015, she renewed a $10 million levy that protects 10,000 acres of land for open spaces and clean water sources.

McLean also helps manage LIV District, an initiative that has deployed more than $5 million in public funding to date toward geothermal expansion, stormwater infrastructure, and park entrances for bikes in the Central Addition neighborhood. She has provided permanent housing for some of the city’s homeless population and has cosponsored a Welcome City program that promotes inclusiveness.

Idaho is among the states with the highest per capita percentage of refugee residents, with people from countries like Iraq, Somalia, Bhutan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, and even a small number of Syrians. McLean wants to encourage Boise businesses to embrace diversity and create opportunities for the city’s new residents. “It is important to talk about diversity and development as we figure out ways to integrate women, refugees, and immigrants to really build a diverse workforce here,” she says. Leslie Knope would be proud.

Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.


Britain just went a whole day without burning any coal for electricity.

Two weeks ago, the New York Times took on Bret Stephens — who once called climate change an “imaginary” problem — as an op-ed columnist in an effort to reflect more political perspectives.

His first column came out on Friday, and — surprise — it casts doubt on the certainty of the scientific consensus on climate.

Previously, while some readers had threatened to cancel their subscriptions as a result of his controversial stances on science, Muslims, and campus rape, “relatively few” had done so, wrote Liz Spayd, the Times’ public editor.

The backlash to Spayd’s piece was real. Climatologist Michael Mann canceled his subscription and started the Twitter hashtag #ShowYourCancellation.

“There is no left-leaning or right-leaning climate science, just as there is no Democrat or Republican theory of gravity,” wrote Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in his cancellation letter.

Other scientists joined in:

James Bennet, the paper’s editorial page editor, defended the decision to hire Stephens. We shouldn’t ignore the perspective of the “millions of people who agree with him,” he told HuffPost.

Well, yes — but millions of people have been wrong before. That doesn’t mean alternative facts should be given a platform.

Now that Stephens’ first piece is up, we’ll see if more cancellations follow.


Could we get climate action from … Republicans?

On Feb. 23, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleared out Oceti Sakowin, an encampment of activists attempting to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Police had arrested over 50 people. But the Freshet Collective, an organization that connects demonstrators with legal resources, was ready.

From August to February, Tara Houska made Morton County, North Dakota, her home base. She’s stood on the frontlines and worked with the Freshet Collective to connect Dakota Access demonstrators facing charges with the legal support they need. A citizen of the Couchiching First Nation, Houska has engaged in activism around the country to fight alongside indigenous communities and advocates through her organization, Honor the Earth. Her work has also brought her to the halls of Congress to lobby for indigenous rights, to divestment rallies, and to the Bernie Sanders campaign, where she worked as an adviser on Native American affairs.

For Houska, progress will only come from working all of these channels, and then some. “It’s the ground fight, it’s the court fight,” she says. “We have to do everything we can.”

Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.