Author Archives: Emily

The aftermath: toxics all around

[Featured image: Debris from Hurricane Katrina] Wind, water and structural damage from one hurricane after the other are headline news. While the damage to homes, water systems, electrical grids and food outlets are an immediate concern for survivors, what happens when the water recedes and the clean-up begins? Depending on the location, along with the […]

Thank You Dr. Needleman

With over 80,000 chemicals on the market, we live in an increasingly synthetic chemical world. So it’s easy to forget the handful of toxic naturally occurring chemicals; particularly elemental chemicals like lead. Nestled into the earth’s crust, sequestered away as life took shape, and eventually discovered by ever-innovative humans.   Fascinated by the pliability of the […]

Could Natural Defenses Help Cure Antibiotic Resistance?

[First posted on Island Press Blog] Untreatable gonorrhea is now a reality—and a sign of a growing threat to public health. Last month, the World Health Organization reported that some strains of the sexually transmitted disease are completely resistant to antibiotics. That means that unless something changes, when the inevitable college student ends up at Student Health […]

In Artificial Intelligence We Trust?

We are technological toddlers. Over the past century, while we transformed our environment to better suit our needs, we blissfully ignored the havoc we created: industrial chemicals that brought good things into our lives now contaminate every nook and cranny on earth; we simplified our food into sugar, salt and fats wrapped up in cellophane […]

Protect Sustainable Agriculture from Budget Cuts

[First published in Worcester Telegram] Many of us in Western Massachusetts are fortunate to live in an agricultural bubble, surrounded by farms offering organic strawberries, broccoli and, well … too much kale. But as Representative McGovern knows, this isn’t reality for the rest of the country. Most food grown in the U.S. doesn’t come from Community […]

Bacteriophages to the Rescue

[First published in The Scientist] Earlier this year I gave a presentation to public-health students undergraduates about options for controlling pests and pathogens that didn’t depend on industrial-age chemicals such as antibiotics and pesticides. When I asked if they’d ever heard of phage therapy—the use of bacteria-attacking viruses to fight infection—I was met with blank stares. […]

Fireworks “fun” facts or not so?

[Cover image source: Dave on Flickr] Who doesn’t love fireworks? (Aside from our dog, our kids when they were little, and apparently birds – although no surprise there really). It’s also likely that those who are responsible for ensuring water quality have mixed feelings when the sparks start flying. I don’t want to be the kill-joy, but […]