Audrey Schulman

Audrey Schulman is the author of the novels The Cage, Swimming with Jonah, and A House Named Brazil.

A worried mother discovers the secrets of pesticide testing

Three years ago, while my extended family was vacationing at my dad’s cranberry farm, he mentioned that one of his fields would be sprayed that evening. There were five children under 10 in the house, and I was eight months pregnant. The field was 100 feet away. I asked my dad about the pesticides, but he said, “Don’t worry. The government runs tests on the chemicals. They make sure they’re safe.” The truth is plane to see. Photo: iStockphoto. That night, through a closed window, I watched the plane rumble low over the field, the fog behind it drizzling softly …

Seabirds suffer as climate change unravels North Sea food web

Guillemots are disappearing … Photo: Dr. Brian Wilson, Centre for Bioscience ImageBank. On the south side of the isle of Shetland, off the coast of Scotland, there are more than 1,200 guillemot nests. Last spring, all of them were empty. No pear-shaped eggs, no downy chicks, no next generation of guillemots. Elsewhere on Shetland, the scene was even more disheartening: 24,000 nests of another seabird, the arctic tern, were almost entirely empty. A few miles away on the island of Foula, the world’s largest colony of great skuas saw only a few living chicks. British ornithologists have never seen anything …

Global-warming activists can learn from the anti-smoking campaign

Twenty years ago, it seemed that virtually everyone smoked. You couldn’t sit in a restaurant for five minutes without stinking of cigarettes for hours. Now, in state after state, even biker bars are going smoke-free. Clearly, there’s been a dramatic shift in the public’s attitude toward smoking — but it hasn’t been an intellectual shift. Since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of smoking, anyone tapping a cigarette out of a pack knew the possible health consequences. Still, through the combined magic of advertising and denial, for years the strongest image in many people’s minds as they puffed …

A new injection for men could shake up the world of contraceptives

If you plan to have sex anytime soon, let’s hope it’s not in Niger, Africa. According to the nonprofit organization Save the Children, just 4 percent of couples in Niger have access to birth control. Although the situation in this West African country is extreme, more than 125 million couples worldwide — most of them in developing countries — cannot get contraceptives. Some of the children that have resulted from these couplings were wanted and some were not, but one thing is certain: Lack of access to birth control increases the burden on already strained parents and on the global …

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