Magazine
The Cloning Conundrum
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March 1, 2022

Our March issue confronts some of the West’s greatest challenges, from extinction, fire and the climate crisis to the best way to manage our remaining resources. Our feature story takes a long, thoughtful look at efforts to clone the black-footed ferret, perhaps North America’s most endangered mammal. In Alaska, beavers are thriving where they’ve never been before and transforming the tundra. We bring you a package of stories about the rapidly shrinking Colorado River and how Indigenous people seek more inclusion in its fate, alongside their water rights. In Portland, Oregon, activists demand affordable, carbon-free housing. Our facts and figures shows what happens in cyberspace has real-world environmental impacts. Was the fire that ravaged communities in Boulder County, Colorado, a product of the region’s coal-mining past? In Tacoma, Washington, the Puyallup Nation fights a methane gas project it was never consulted about. Four hunters were charged with trespassing in Wyoming, despite never touching private land. New memoirs draw disturbing parallels between climate change and illness. And two essayists ponder painful questions: How do parents deal with climate grief? And why does violent language still echo through the West’s most peaceful landscapes?

Feature

How to clone a black-footed ferret
How to clone a black-footed ferret
From petri dish to prairie with North America’s most endangered species.
Colorado River, stolen by law
Colorado River, stolen by law
Indigenous nations have been an afterthought in U.S. water policy for over a century. That was all part of the plan.

Reportage

The place that coal built and fire burned
The place that coal built and fire burned
Extractive industry laid the infrastructure for the suburban sprawl that fueled Colorado’s destructive Marshall Fire.
Wolf hazing legalized in Colorado
Wolf hazing legalized in Colorado
Colorado wildlife officials are planning for reintroduction. A wolf pack is complicating their efforts.
Why 4 hunters in Wyoming were charged with trespassing on land they never touched
Why 4 hunters in Wyoming were charged with trespassing on land they never touched
A checkerboard pattern of parcel ownership complicates public land access in the West.
A new tundra, engineered by beavers
A new tundra, engineered by beavers
Once nonexistent in northwest Alaska, beavers are both benefiting from and changing a warming tundra.
Portland community leaders bring the heat to building standards
Portland community leaders bring the heat to building standards
An activist collective says making buildings carbon-free is just the start.
How a Tacoma gas facility started a fight over climate change, sovereignty and human rights
How a Tacoma gas facility started a fight over climate change, sovereignty and human rights
A Washington methane gas project is compounding a crisis of tribal consultation, pension funds and national immigration practices.
Tribes along the Colorado River navigate a stacked settlement process to claim their water rights
Tribes along the Colorado River navigate a stacked settlement process to claim their water rights
The gantlet leaves those nations in an unjust state of limbo.

Editor's Note

Let there be monarchs
Let there be monarchs
Monarch butterfly numbers in California ticked up this winter, but no one is calling it a recovery.

Facts & Figures

The digital world’s real-world impact on the environment
The digital world’s real-world impact on the environment
From data center warehouses to cryptocurrency, technology is another energy hog.

Essays

Hate speech on the Bitterroot
Hate speech on the Bitterroot
How a day on the river made me question my relationship to a place I call home.
When the little owl vanishes
When the little owl vanishes
A writer reflects on parenthood and what to talk about when confronting extinction.

Conversation

Tribes negotiate for a fairer future along the Colorado River
Tribes negotiate for a fairer future along the Colorado River
The Colorado River Interim Guidelines will expire in 2025, and Indigenous officials like Daryl Vigil are pushing to replace them with a more inclusive framework.

Review

Will we share the same dismal fate as glaciers and forests?
Will we share the same dismal fate as glaciers and forests?
Two recent books look at the parallels between human, ecological and societal illness.

Heard Around the West

Odd twins; rescue by owl; dinosaur IPA
Odd twins; rescue by owl; dinosaur IPA
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

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Letters

Letters to the editor, March 2022
Comments from readers.
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