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President Donald Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou break ground for a new factory and potential big pollution source on June 28, 2018. Andy Manis / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

When former administrator Scott Pruitt stepped down and Andrew Wheeler took over, few who care about clean air, clean water and climate change actually thought things were going to get dramatically better at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wheeler, after all, came to the job after working as a coal lobbyist and a legislative aide to one of Congress's most notorious climate deniers. Still, given that he'd actually begun his career as a special assistant in the EPA's Pollution Prevention and Toxics Office, it wasn't outlandish to wonder if Wheeler might represent at least some kind of improvement over his predecessor.

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Screenshot / YouTube

By Jeff Turrentine

Navy SEALS are known for their incredible endurance and superior ability to get out of tough, high-stakes situations. But ex-SEAL Ryan Zinke, our current secretary of the Interior, likely won't be able to climb, jump, swim or rappel his way out of the ethics mess he's gotten himself into.

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Waves from the Atlantic Ocean crash against a scenic beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This sandy peninsula is a popular summer vacation destination and is also known for its many Great White sharks. Velvetfish / iStock / Getty Images

By Jason Bittel

On a sunny Saturday in mid-September, 26-year-old Arthur Medici was boogie-boarding in the waves off Wellfleet, Massachusetts, when a great white shark bit his leg. Despite the efforts of a friend who pulled him ashore and the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital, Medici died from his injuries. It's about as tragic a story as you can imagine: a young life cut short due to a freak run-in with a wild animal.

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"Waterlicht," Rotterdam, 2018. Studio Roosegaarde

By Clara Chaisson

The people of Rotterdam know a thing or two about living with water. In fact, it's right there in the name—the Dutch city dates back to the 13th century, when the Rotte River was dammed, making it possible to safely settle nearby.

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Left: Valerie Hegarty. Photo from the Brooklyn Museum, Right: Collection Lannan Foundation © Subhankar Banerjee

By Patrick Rogers

The fact that nature and nation share a common root—the Latin verb nasci, "to be born"—might rate as trivia to most people. But in the context of early American art, at least, the connection has profound cultural meaning. Paintings of natural vistas, from New York's Hudson Valley to the purple mountains and red deserts of the West, became early symbols of a young nation and its so-called manifest destiny. In the minds of many early Americans and pioneers, the land was out there for "us" (as in, men of European decent) to celebrate—but also to conquer. The very idea of American civilization meant destroying some of those beautiful, natural vistas to build the cities, farms, and factories of the future.

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Paul Seheult / Eye Ubiquitous / UIG / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

What do we mean when we say that a city is "healthy"? Do we mean that it's cleaner, safer and less polluted than others? That its economy is booming? That it spends its taxpayers' money wisely, on projects that benefit the many over the few? That it prioritizes the building of community—not just in the social but in the physical sense?

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An Ecuadoran ornithologist with rare images of the blue-throated hillstar. Rodrigo Buendia / AFP / Getty Images

By Jason Bittel

Somehow the striking blue-throated hillstar, a hummingbird with an emerald-feathered head and sapphire splash across its neck, managed to elude us for a very long time. Scientists just recently discovered Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus, describing the species for the first time in The Auk: Ornithological Advances.

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Cows graze on Brown's ranch. Gabe Brown

By Jeff Turrentine

Sometimes enlightenment arrives as a flash of epiphany: a gravity-obeying apple that falls from a tree, for instance, or a blinding light that freezes you in your tracks on the road to Damascus.

Other times, though, it's more of a process. That's how Gabe Brown came to regenerative agriculture. About 20 years ago, Brown nearly lost his 1,760-acre farm outside Bismarck, North Dakota, which he had taken over upon his in-laws' retirement in 1991. Just as his wife's family had done since the 1950s, Brown continued to till, fertilize, graze and chemically treat the land—all of which were considered best practices at the time.

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"Fog x Canopy," the Fens, by Fujiko Nakaya. Melissa Ostrow

By Clara Chaisson

What do you call a sculpture that weighs nearly nothing, never looks the same twice, and vanishes into thin air? Artist Fujiko Nakaya has built a storied five-decade career out of the answer to this seeming riddle: a fog sculpture.

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Before It's Too Late

By Patrick Rogers

After South Beach, Miami's Wynwood neighborhood is the city's epicenter of color and creativity. The low-slung postindustrial landscape just north of Miami's downtown is an Instagrammer's paradise—block after block of warehouses covered with vivid murals by some of the world's greatest street artists, among them Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey and Maya Hayuk. Once plagued by crime and urban decay, Wynwood's streets are now abuzz with energy that spills out from cafés, art galleries and night spots.

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Pexels

By Jason Bittel

Since Hawaii's Kilauea volcano began erupting in early May, we've been mesmerized, month after month, by videos depicting what can happen when molten rock dances through the air, forms gigantic rivers or crashes into a Ford Mustang.

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