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Going Under
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Current Issue

September 1, 2022

HCN prides itself on digging deep, but this month we literally go underground, accompanying Emily Benson into a Wyoming cave, where scientists who study cave formations hope that 100,000-year-old weather data can help us understand climate change. This summer’s flooding damaged property around Yellowstone National Park, but in the long run it might refresh the ecosystem. Despite a recent Supreme Court decision, the Environmental Protection Agency can still shut down polluters. There’s money in restoring landscapes ravaged by extractive industries, while Arizona citizens hope to protect groundwater with the help of a ballot initiative. Have you ever thought the land might be better off under new management — maybe the original management? The LandBack movement has suggestions. On the Navajo Nation, Indigenous farmers like Graham Biyáál are reclaiming traditional growing techniques and preserving seeds and recipes. If Biyáál’s blue cornmeal mush doesn’t fill you up, try visiting California’s Punjabi dhabas. We also review an enchanting new short-story collection and struggle to keep up with Cassie da Costa as she runs her first half marathon.

Feature

How a hidden cave can help scientists understand the climate
How a hidden cave can help scientists understand the climate
Sometimes learning about the past to figure out the future requires crawling beneath tons of rock.

Reportage

Flooding could breathe life into Yellowstone ecosystem
Flooding could breathe life into Yellowstone ecosystem
Although destructive for people, high-water events are a natural part of river systems.
The EPA has more options to rein in climate change than you think
The EPA has more options to rein in climate change than you think
There are still many ways to shut down major polluters — including some options the agency isn’t using.
Can Arizona citizens use the tools of democracy to preserve the state’s dwindling water?
Can Arizona citizens use the tools of democracy to preserve the state’s dwindling water?
How a group of ‘scrappy’ locals are working to create Arizona’s first citizen-initiated groundwater management area.

Editor's Note

Climate and Congress
Climate and Congress
Historic political action, but is it enough?

Facts & Figures

Can ravaged economies be healed with a restoration industry?
Can ravaged economies be healed with a restoration industry?
Cleaning up the West could prove to be as lucrative as the extractive industries that wrecked it.

Essays

The anxiety and satisfaction of race day
The anxiety and satisfaction of race day
A writer traces the motivations that led her to run a half-marathon on the California coast.
On the road, a taste of home
On the road, a taste of home
The Saini family’s Punjabi dhabas serve ‘good vibes only.’

Book Reviews

We are all of us animals
We are all of us animals
Talia Lakshmi Kolluri’s debut collection roars, screeches and stuns.

Photo Essay

Indigenous farmers reclaim time-honored techniques
Indigenous farmers reclaim time-honored techniques
Growing traditions in northern New Mexico.

Perspective

Questions about the LandBack movement, answered
Questions about the LandBack movement, answered
Number one: Why are Indians spray-painting my Starbucks?
The new top ways to go outdoors
The new top ways to go outdoors
If you’re getting out into nature, do right by the land and each other.

Heard Around the West

Irked sea lions and a strange peanut pusher
Irked sea lions and a strange peanut pusher
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Spreading the news
Spreading the news
Tips for readers on sharing High Country News.

Poetry

The Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty
A poem by Dan Beachy-Quick

Letters

Letters to the editor, August 2022
Comments from readers.
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