Stories: Environment

  • When the Rains Slowed: Food Insecurity in Northern Tanzania

    The Maasai Steppe in northeastern Tanzania is bone dry for more months out of the year than those who dwell there are used to. This is a new occurrence. Depending on who you ask in the local Maasai community in Uwiro village, some say the rains started changing in 2001, including several Maasai women who recalled cutting countless trees for...

  • Farmers Try New Food-Growing Strategies to Ensure Food Security, Cope with Climate Change

    Farmers need only survey their parched fields during the ever-intensifying dry seasons here to know climate change is happening. Rain falls less frequently than it did a decade ago because of “destruction of the environment” says Sopian Kinyoge, a 27-year-old farmer. His older sister says rains are more fleeting from “cutting down of the trees.” Alfred...

  • A fome dos Maasai

    Vilarejo de Mkuru, norte da Tanzânia. Tajiri Asais tem onze anos, mas parece ter seis. Ele pesa 21 quilos e mede 1,26 metro. O peso e tamanho médio de um menino dessa idade são 34 quilos e 1,41 centímetros. Todos os dias, Tajiri anda uma hora para chegar até a escola. De café da...

  • Meet Kanchi Tamang, Nepalese Waste Picker

    Kanchi Tamang is a waste-picker in Nepal. A mother and a grandmother, she works long hours in unsafe and unclean conditions for a pittance. After contracting Hepatitis C, then developing painful gallstones, she faces the prospect of medical treatment that will require her to be absent from work and hospital bills that, together with the loss of work income,...

  • A Visit to One Acre Fund in Mlanda, Tanzania

    Tom Murphy took these pictures in Tanzania as a fellow with the International Reporting Project (IRP).  

  • Scarred Landscapes of Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Test Site

    Few know nuclear dangers quite like the Kazakhstanis. While famed for its apple orchards, Kazakhstan has struggled to shake off its image as the Soviet Union’s nuclear bomb testing site. In the northeastern area of Semipalatinsk, the Soviet Union detonated more than 450 nuclear devices until its collapse in 1991. In August, a group of 10 media professionals—supported by...

  • Fifty Years After Above-Ground Blasts, a Sense of Calm at Kazakhstani Nuclear Site

    It’s been a half-century since the last atmospheric nuclear test was conducted at the Semipalatinsk Test Site. In the years since, the grass has grown back to cover craters created by the explosions. There are even some wildflowers. But the desolate beauty and quiet sense of peace here is belied by the reality that approximately 10 percent of...

  • Secrets of Semipalatinsk: How Nuclear Theft Was Averted in Central Asia

    Anastacia Kyseleva saw her first atomic mushroom cloud from the fields near her village. Residents of Kanonerka, located near the Russian border in eastern Kazakhstan, had only heard the mysterious explosions from previous tests at the nearby Soviet nuclear test site of Semipalatinsk. This time, in 1956, soldiers came and ordered everyone outside – a move experts now suspect was made...

  • Why the U.S. Is Building a High-Tech Bubonic Plague Lab in Kazakhstan

    In 1992, Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, a biologist from the Soviet Union, boarded a flight in Almaty, then Kazakhstan's capital, for New York. When Dr. Alibekov—now known as Ken Alibek—sat down with the CIA, he had a terrifying secret to reveal: that bio weapons program the Soviet Union stopped in the 1980's hadn't...

  • Former Soviet Nuclear Test Site Still Holds Mysteries

    The nuclear testing ground of the former Soviet Union is a vast, barren area close to the size of Lake Ontario that continues to hold some amount of security risk. During the Cold War, hundreds of atmospheric and underground atomic weapons tests were conducted here at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in northeastern Kazakhstan, near the Russian border. Nuclear...