Top headlines

Lead story

Chernobyl. Deepwater Horizon. Fukushima. Love Canal. Big environmental disasters are seared into our collective memory, thanks to media coverage, books and movies.

But the vast majority of environmental harm remains hidden or forgotten. That’s because it’s often easier for businesses, residents and politicians to look the other way.

According to Indiana University anthropologist Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, this can lead to what’s called “collective forgetting.” She writes about the artists and activists who are calling attention to toxic legacies in order to “push back against denial, habituation and amnesia.”

[ Miss us on Sundays? Get a selection of our best and most popular stories (or try our other weekly emails). ]

Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

Activists in Newark, N.J., offer tours that teach visitors about the city’s legacy of industrial pollution and environmental racism. Charles Rotkin/Corbis via Getty Images

The importance of shining a light on hidden toxic histories

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid, Indiana University

Societies celebrate heroes and commemorate tragedies. But why is there so little public acknowledgment of environmental disasters?

Politics + Society

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy


Trending on site

Today's graphic 📈