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My Journalistic Works

As a journalist, I write about the environment and how science shapes our understanding of it. Below is a sample of my work. I write news, features, profiles and op-eds. My words have been published in Mongabay, Deccan Herald, Hakai Magazine, Audubon Magazine, Science, Nature and other outlets.

Selected Works

Culture and conservation thrive as Great Lakes tribes bring back native wild rice

In the late summer of 2023, thick stands of wild rice stood tall and shimmered gold in some of Lac du Flambeau’s lakes. The plant has been virtually absent in these lakes for decades, so for Joe Graveen, the sight of grain-filled stalks was a thing of joy, he says. As the wild rice program manager for the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a tribal band in northern Wisconsin, Graveen was seeing the fruits (or grains, literally) of hard work he and his tribe’s members had put

What principles should define natural climate solutions? A new study has some answers

Following a litany of conferences and calls that stress the urgency to address climate change, there’s growing interest and investments in nature to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, farmlands and oceans, could remove at least 10 gigatons of CO per year by 2050, according to a 2021 report. Besides cooling our planet, these interventions can prevent floods and droughts, conserve biodiversity and, in some cases,

Logging, road construction continue to fuel forest loss in Papua New Guinea

Plonked between the formidable Owen Stanley mountains to its west and the Solomon Sea to the east lies Oro, a remote province in Papua New Guinea east of the capital Port Moresby. Lush, green tropical rainforests, with their famed canopies, blanket the land while rivers and streams glitter in hues of turquoise and emerald—a landscape found across much of Papua New Guinea (PNG), where 71.8% of land still harbored primary forest in 2022, according to data from monitoring platform Global Forest Wat

Big promises to Indigenous groups from new global nature fund — but will it deliver?

VANCOUVER — The devastating wildfires in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, in mid-August, forced the province into a state of emergency and gloom. But just a few days later, as the smoky skies of Vancouver began to clear up, environmentalists found a reason to cheer.

About 1,500 delegates representing environmental ministries, youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society gathered in the coastal city to promise a slew of actions to save the planet’s biodiversity. One of them came

Expected ship traffic to LNG Canada port could see whale deaths also rise

In September 2022, researchers at BC Whales, a Canadian research nonprofit studying cetaceans in the north of British Columbia province, gasped when they saw a drone image of a humpback whale known as Moon. Each summer, she regularly visited the many meandering waterways in the region with her calves, along with hundreds of other humpbacks, feeding in the food-rich, tranquil waters. But this time, she looked different.

Moon’s spine was crooked and her back half was paralyzed, probably after bei

How to make the leap into industry after a PhD

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Spoorthy Raman is a freelance science and environment journalist in St. John’s, Canada.

Landing that first job in industry requires planning, homework and networking — and a bit of soul-searching.

Melanie Zeppel stepped off the academic path to become a data scientist in industry. Credit: Stephen Jackson

Plant physiologist Melanie Zeppel had heard that hard work, a good publication list and securing highly competitive postdoctoral

Progress is slow on Africa’s Great Green Wall, but some bright spots bloom

The southern fringes of the Sahara are dynamic. As rainfall varies, land patches on the edge chop and change between green and arid brown. Human activities, like overgrazing, deforestation or poor irrigation, further degrade some of the already arid parts of the Sahel, resulting in desertification. As the planet heats up, changes in rainfall patterns can cause longer dry spells on the southern boundaries of the Sahara, stretching the desert further down, and affecting nearly a million people and

Volunteers, First Nations work to bring back a disappearing oak prairie

On the eastern edge of Victoria, British Columbia, abutting the Salish Sea, sits Uplands Park, spanning about 30 hectares, or 74 acres, amid the bustling municipality of Oak Bay. Although an urban park, it lacks manicured lawns, ornamental flowers or asphalted walkways — quintessential elements of modern-day urban parks.

Instead, the landscape is sprinkled with stunted, gnarled and crooked oak trees. A few shrubs of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor), and som

What it means to practise values-based research

Max Liboiron’s academic career criss-crossed science a few times before finding an interdisciplinary home in geography. Growing up in the rural hamlet of Lac la Biche in northeastern Alberta, Canada, where university education wasn’t common, Liboiron dreamt of being a scientist. But in 1998, when they began undergraduate science studies, they became disillusioned with their university’s push towards industrial applications of science and so gravitated towards fine arts instead. After earning a b

Tourism boom in Kerala’s Western Ghats threatens to wipe out habitat of endemic frog species

Nestled within the lofty Cardamom Hills, which forms part of the Western Ghats Unesco World Heritage Site, lies the picturesque town of Munnar in Kerala. Lush green tea gardens carpet the rolling hills of the Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, interspersed by coffee and cardamom plantations. Groves of eucalyptus, black wattle and acacia – trees grown for firewood and timber – are peppered within these plantations.

Patches of shola forests – stunted tropical montane forests which once covere

Shining the Light on Baby Crabs

It’s a gray summer evening on Galiano Island, a long strip of land about 1.5 kilometers across at its narrowest. Home to nearly 1,400 people, it is one of the 200-odd islands and islets in the Gulf Islands archipelago dotting the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and the mainland coast. The air here at the wooden pier in Whaler Bay on the island’s southeast end is heavy and moist, tinged with a whiff of boat fuel and old wood, and infused with sea salt. Amid a lineup of moto

Indigenous funding model is a win-win for ecosystems and local economies in Canada

• First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii of Canada, have successfully invested in conservation initiatives that have benefited ecosystems while also increasing communities’ well-being over the past 15 years, a recent report shows.
• Twenty-seven First Nations spent nearly C$109 million ($79 million) toward 439 environmental and economic development projects in their territories, inclu

Mining the sea floor: Implications for biodiversity

An air of urgency permeates the offices of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the international agency in Kingston, Jamaica, tasked with regulating mining-related activities on the ocean floor. Overlooking the Caribbean Sea through their windows, representatives from the 168 member states are scrambling to finalize the Mining Code, a rule book that will govern the commercial extraction of deep sea minerals.

For over a decade, different organs of the ISA have been working toward framing r

As sea lice feast away on dwindling salmon, First Nations decide the fate of salmon farms

VANCOUVER, Canada — Alongside the millions of Atlantic Salmon clustered in the open net pens that dot the waterways around Broughton Archipelago’s over 200 islands, sea lice, a tadpole-shaped parasite, feast on the fish.

In the zeal to establish a salmon market northwest of Vancouver, Canada, many aquaculture companies set up open net pens—cage-like structures where a layer of fishnet separates the farmed salmon from those in the wild—in the 1980s. They were also, however, creating conducive co

How Air-Conditioning Creates a Climate Conundrum

Summer is here in North America, which means in many places it’s too hot for comfort. To escape the sweltering heat, birds pant, take a dip in the water, and hide from the sun. Humans have an additional edge over biology: air-conditioning. With access to electricity, we are able to alter the air temperature itself.

Air-conditioning is expensive: It costs U.S. homeowners a whopping $29 billion each year. But it saves lives. In summer 2021, a heatwave sent the mercury soaring to record temperatur

Lead Bullets Are Stunting the Bald Eagle's Recovery

The Bald Eagle’s comeback is one of America’s most famous conservation success stories. From an all-time low of 417 pairs throughout the United States in 1963, the species numbers 71,467 pairs as of 2021. The primary reason for the bird’s turnaround was the crucial 1972 ban of the pesticide DDT. The birds have bounced back so strongly that the government is even considering upping the amount of Bald Eagles that industry can accidentally kill without penalty.

But despite the boom in their number