Journalist and Writer
How does climate change influence where and how we live? I report from communities throughout the United States uprooted by the impacts of a warming world. Taken together, these stories plot a map of America's Great Climate Migration, and chronicle our shifting notions of place, national identity, belonging, and home.
REPARATIONS AS A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
An interview with philosopher Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò on his climate justice-centered framework for ‘remaking the world.’
FINDING HIGHER GROUND
A road trip through the unlikely cradle of America’s Great Climate Migration.
WHEN CLIMATE CHANGE COMES TO YOUR DOORSTEP
We are now at the dawn of America’s Great Climate Migration Era. For now, it is piecemeal, and moves are often temporary. But permanent relocations, by individuals and eventually whole communities, are increasingly becoming unavoidable.
REDRAWING THE FLOOD
Across the country, developers regularly work with FEMA to change flood maps so they can build in risky areas.
ARE WE THINKING ABOUT CLIMATE MIGRATION ALL WRONG?
Splashy predictions might shock and spur action, but they can promote xenophobia and ignore important complexities — like that the majority of climate migrants move within their own countries, often slowly over time, and usually not very far.
MOVING AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUEL: THE PUSH FOR DRILLING SITE SETBACKS
Backed by an emerging academic consensus, political pressure to push oil and gas wells as far as a half-mile from homes and other buildings is peaking
across the country.
THIS LAND IS WHOSE LAND?
Just as surely as migrants are inhumanely deterred at our borders, national identity is tyrannically policed inside them.
WHEN GRASS STOPS GROWING
Americans cannot separate our most pressing crises—the criminalization of migrants, the policing of communities of color, the escalation of climate change—from our nation’s original sin. A review of Dina Gilio-Whitaker's As Long As Grass Grows.
ON MIDDLE AMERICA AND THE STORIES WE CHOOSE TO TELL
Esquire came under fire for putting a straight, white, Trump-supporting Wisconsin teenager on its cover. But that wasn't the real problem.
THE PEOPLE'S FOREST
The Menominee of Wisconsin live on an island of trees in a sea of Holstein-speckled farmland. Their forest is so dense it’s visible from space. But like many islands in the age of climate change, it’s in danger of disappearing.
Forty years ago, an epic flood forced a tiny Midwestern village to pick up and move. The relocation drew national attention, and would end up a model for communities across the country now relocating in the face of climate change.
CLIMATE CHANGE, ON THE GROUND
December 2018/January 2019
This special issue of The Progressive takes us directly to communities around the country and the globe responding to the crisis and making concrete change.
What happens when climate change refugees make their new home in a Midwestern city still haunted by its reputation as ‘the Selma of the North.’
TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE, RETREAT IS NECESSARY
Years after Hurricane Sandy, coastal communities and government agencies alike recognize that rising oceans mean relocating residents. But there is no consensus on how to do so.
THE ERA OF CLIMATE MIGRATION MEETS VIOLENT BORDERS
In an era of militarized borders, how do we understand those forced to flee their homes because of climate change?
MANY HOMES REBUILT AFTER SANDY ARE LIKELY HEADED BACK UNDERWATER
Why is New York City funneling millions into rebuilding areas its own scientists say will soon be flooded by rising seas?
'NOWHERE TO RUN,
NOWHERE TO HIDE'
Back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma have uprooted many within the United States as escalating anti-immigrant rhetoric further blurs the line between who said to belong in America and who does not.
LITTLE ABOUT ME
I grew up on the Wolf River in the northwoods of Wisconsin. Both my grandfathers were Iowa farm boys named Gene. An expansive painting of the Iowa prairie sat on the mantle in my Nana's living room in Madison for years. As a teen I worked in the newsroom with my dad, editor of our local newspaper, who always made sure I knew when a Green Bay Packer player or a character actor in some old movie was from Iowa. Later, on assignment, I spanned the Midwestern countryside covering high school graduations and county fairs and pow wows. At the University of Wisconsin, I studied under prominent environmental historian William Cronon, and began the first of several in-depth reporting projects on issues affecting the Menominee Nation near my hometown. Both offered lessons on colonialism's transformation of the land, and on humankind as part of nature—not separate from it.
These days, I explore the impacts of climate change through this deeply rooted sense of place. How does climate change—a culmination of our collective relationship with the land—influence where and how we live? As I've documented uprooted communities from Staten Island to Dubuque to Houston, I've seen a clear and stunning pattern emerge: America's Great Climate Migration. Now, I'm writing a book about it for St. Martin's Press.
I'm a 2019 Henrich Böll Foundation Transatlantic Media Fellow, a 2018 New Economy Coalition Climate Solutions Fellow, and a 2016-2017 CultureStrike Climate and Environmental Justice Literary Fellow. From 2017 to 2019, I was associate editor at The Progressive. Previously, I was a lead researcher for Naomi Klein on her 2014 bestseller This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate.