Our Planet

Vertical farming can produce as much as traditional farming while using less water and less energy—if executed correctly.

Empty Office Buildings Are Being Turned Into Vertical Farms

With office usage hovering near 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels, cities are putting the underutilized space to new use growing food

Plastics typically contain chemical additives like metals and dyes, which can leach out and affect organisms nearby.

Microplastic Exposure Makes Microbes More Virulent

Laboratory research shows that someway, somehow, PVC plastic breeds antimicrobial resistance

Apparatus for administering nitrous oxide and other anesthetic gases

These Objects Tell the Story of Human-Driven Climate Change

Smithsonian curators dig into the collections to find artifacts that illustrate how we arrived at this moment

A bandicoot uses its nose to sniff out subterranean insects, leaving behind shallow holes known as “snout pokes.”

The Unlikely Survival Story of Australia's Bandicoots

The defenseless marsupial was nearly wiped out by invasive species. Now rescuers are pinning hopes on a remnant island population

Crowds gather for the summer solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

Nine Ways People Celebrate the Summer Solstice Around the World

Across the Northern Hemisphere, worshippers of the longest day of the year build bonfires, plunge into the ocean and visit prehistoric monuments

Mount Etna erupts in July 2021.

Secrets Still Smolder at One of the World's Most Active Volcanoes

A century after one of Mount Etna's many notable eruptions, scientists are more eager than ever to study the peak's frequent bursts of fiery fury

An observation point at Meteor Crater in Arizona

Seven Ways to Explore Space Without Leaving Earth

From astronaut training sites to working spaceports, these spots across the United States put a terrestrial spin on space travel

Cleanup crews pressure-wash crude oil off the shoreline after the Exxon Valdez spilled more than ten million gallons into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists began taking annual photos the following year to document the intertidal zone’s recovery.

Why Have Alaskans Been Photographing This Volkswagen Beetle-Sized Boulder for 33 Years?

A scientist began taking shots after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and volunteers have since taken over

Bush fires rage through Canberra, Australia, on January 18, 2003.

The World’s First Wildfire Tornado Blazed a Path of Destruction Through Australia

A warming atmosphere due to climate change is increasing the chances similar natural disasters will occur again

Sassafras leaves begin to grow. Both 19th-century Ohio farmer Thomas Mikesell and current Ohio State University ecologist Kellen Calinger-Yoak recorded important details about the plant.

What a 19th-Century Farmer’s Forgotten Notes Reveal About Growing Seasons

The documents provide evidence of climate change's effect on hardwood trees in Ohio

At the time it was signed, the Montreal Protocol was seen as a good thing for the planet. A new study shows it was even better than anyone first realized.

By Fighting the Ozone Hole, We Helped Curb Climate Change

With the Montreal Protocol, life on Earth dodged a bullet we didn’t even know was headed our way

Range anxiety is still a major hurdle for prospective EV buyers.

What Will It Take to Charge Electric Vehicles Faster?

To get more EVs on the road, these scientists are working to charge a car in the same time that it takes to fuel up at a gas station

One-third of the world’s population can’t see the starry band of light in the night sky that makes up the Milky Way (above). The new show “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky” at the National Museum of Natural History looks at the devastating impacts of artificial light.

Planet Positive

Why It’s Time for a Worldwide Lights-Out Program

A new Smithsonian exhibition delves into the issue of light pollution, with easy solutions offering an immediate change

The Smithsonian's podcast Sidedoor uncovers the climate change insights hidden in old paintings (above: Shivalal, Maharana Fateh Singh Crossing a River During the Monsoon (detail), c. 1893).

What Centuries-Old Indian Court Paintings Tell Us About Climate Change

This month’s Smithsonian podcasts include a deep dive into India’s monsoon weather patterns and discussion of animals in flight

A revolutionary new tool, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA, will monitor the chemistry and changing dynamics of major pollutants (above: an Arizona power generating station).

This Eye in the Sky Promises Major Insights Into the Air We Breathe

The satellite mission TEMPO will detect pollutants at a neighborhood scale across the nation

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Our Sustainable Future

Our Sustainable Future

The latest on how climate change affects life on Earth today and on what solutions scientists, including those at the Smithsonian, are innovating

"AquaReinas," or costumed mermaid messengers with the Mermaid Society of Texas, participate in the 2022 Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest parade in San Marcos, Texas.

Planet Positive

The Texas City Where Mermaids Inspire River Conservation

“Aquamaids” were once the stars at an amusement park in San Marcos. Now, they are making a comeback to help the environment

Technician Yesmarie De La Flor prepares cultures of probiotics in the Smithsonian Marine Station’s microbiology laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida. These probiotics were used for testing on diseased corals.

Probiotics May Help Corals Fight a Dangerous Disease Off Florida’s Coast

The new treatment shows promise in lab experiments

A sadhill crane flies over the San Luis Valley.

Planet Positive

Planet Positive

From stories about rebounding species to dispatches about green innovations, <em>Smithsonian</em> magazine shares environmental practices that are working.

Researchers hike near a creek that formed after a glacier retreated.

As Glaciers Retreat, New Streams Offer Homes for Salmon

After the waterways form, insects move in, alders and willows spring up, and spawning fish arrive in thousands

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