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Articles by Erik Ness

Erik Ness writes about science and the environment from Madison, Wis. Among the publications he's written for are Discover, Preservation, Backpacker, Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, MAMM, Wisconsin Trails, Milwaukee Magazine, and The Progressive.

Featured Article

Attention, parents: Now that you’ve seen your kids’ first report cards of the year, it’s time for a little homework of your own. No doubt you’re doing the best you can to ensure your little ones’ eventual membership in Mensa — promoting stimulating dinner conversation, reading a chapter together each night, maybe even playing Mozart during bath time. But wait — there’s more. You’ll find your next assignment in the pages of Colleen Moore’s Silent Scourge: Children, Pollution, and Why Scientists Disagree.

Silent ScourgeBy Colleen MooreOxford University Press, 328 pages, 2003

You probably already know that lead is not an appropriate component of any cerebral calisthenics program. But nor is it the only pollutant that can stunt intellectual development. In Silent Scourge, Moore, a developmental psychologist, reviews the case against lead and five additional types of pollutants — mercury, PCBs, pesticides, noise, and radioactive and chemical wastes.

With the possible exception of noise, most people recognize these pollutants as harmful and wouldn’t actively incorpor... Read more

All Articles

  • Wisconsin anglers band together to protect an elusive fish

    Every winter, on the outskirts of Appleton, Wis., the world’s strangest subdivision suddenly appears. Thousands of shacks, each about the size of a two-hole outhouse, proliferate on the frozen expanse of Lake Winnebago. Dick Koerner in his shack on Lake Winnebago. Photo: Erik Ness. Early in the morning on Feb. 8, Dick Koerner jockeyed his […]

  • The Netherlands tackles nitrogen pollution with a game

    Confess: You’ve played more than one hand of solitaire on company time. Tetris anyone? Maybe you’ve even been a MYSTic or a QUAKEr. If you happen to work for the Dutch Ministry of the Environment, playing computer games is now part of your job description. Or at least playing a computer game — the world’s […]

  • Perrier didn't reckon on an angry citizenry when it looked to expand into the Midwest

    Escape to Wisconsin. Play in our lakes, fish our rivers, and cavort in the famously kitschy water parks of Wisconsin Dells. Just don’t try to take a drop of it home with you. Ninety-nine bottles of water on the wall. This, at least, is the stern message being sent by thousands of Wisconsin citizens to […]

  • What's wrong with those pretty holiday bulbs? Plenty

    Pssst … want to know why the climate conference sputtered at The Hague? Published reports cited disagreements about trees. Well, the trees in question might well have been of the Christmas variety — because, of course, the U.S. delegation needed to return home in time to string up the traditional holiday lights. You heard it […]