Our Planet


Bringing Ancient Ways to Our Farmers' Fields


Phenomena, Comment & Notes

Iceberg armadas and flickering climates: how one good idea led to more, and we appreciated anew the world's complexity

Chimney Sweeps Are Plunging Into Their Work Again

With more of us using fireplaces and modern high-efficiency wood stoves, the ancient profession is getting a new lease on soot


Around the Mall & Beyond

Plant and the butterflies will come: This summer the Smithsonian's new garden welcomes its winged visitors


For Our Nuclear Wastes, There's Gridlock on the Way to the Dump

It's not an emergency yet, but we have tons of the stuff, some of it hot, some not so hot, and nobody can agree on where to bury it


Shhhh...Those 'Peculiar People' Are Listening

They're out there in there boondocks, doing their best to record the pure sounds of nature while there are still some quiet places left


Smithsonian Perspectives

Our historic concern for conservation now leads us into many areas related to endangered species and biodiversity

Desert Bloom in Namaqualand, South Africa

Fickle Desert Blooms: Opulent One Year, No-shows the Next

Arid lands mean life on the edge. Adaptations serve flowers well, but deserts are always mosaics of abundance and seeming sterility


However It Began on Earth, Life May Have Been Inevitable

In a universe filled with prebiotic compounds,it may be only a small step for some of them to hook up in ways that lead directly to life

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