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Articles by Kathryn Schulz

Kathryn Schulz is author of the book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. Her freelance magazine work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Nation, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere. She was previously an editor at Grist.

Featured Article

Photo: limonada via FlickrFirst things first: Don’t ask me how I went from being an editor of Grist to an expert in wrongness.  It’s a long story.  Suffice it to say that in 2006, I left Grist (with much regret) in order to write a book about being wrong.  (That’s the eponymous Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, published earlier this month by Ecco/HarperCollins). 

At first blush, these two jobs don’t seem to have much in common.  Lately, though, I’ve been wondering about the overlap between my identity as an environmentalist and my identity as a wrongologist.  Here’s why: For the past few months, I’ve been conducting a series of Q&As over at Slate — interviews with various interesting, well-known people about their relationship to being wrong.  Not long after the series started, I got an email from a reader: 

You should do an interview about wrong environmental predictions. “Too cheap to meter” — nuclear power — would be a good one.  I’m not volunteering!

I was immediately inclined to agree with my correspondent: I sh... Read more

All Articles

  • Our Poverty & the Environment series comes to an end, but our concern doesn’t

    The sun sets on our poverty series. Photo: Clipart. There’s something a little odd about ending a series on the subject of poverty — as we at Grist are officially doing today — when the issue itself will stubbornly continue to exist. That might seem, at first, like a laughable sentence. Of course poverty will […]

  • Two eco-leaders — one mainstream, one radical — debate the movement’s past and future

    Eric Mann. When Eric Mann first encountered environmentalists, he saw them as a bunch of “arrogant, racist airheads.” When Frances Beinecke first encountered environmentalists, she felt she’d found her cause. Frances Beinecke. Nearly four decades later, both are tireless proponents of environmental sanity, but they work in very different ways. Mann is director of the […]

  • Sierra Club Chronicles

    Turns out, we're not the only game in town paying attention to the intersection of economic and environmental issues (thankfully). So are the folks over at the Sierra Club Chronicles, a monthly TV series featuring community efforts to protect environmental health.

    This month, the series focuses on the fate of DeLisle, Mississippi, home to a Dupont chemical plant. When the plant was first built, it was welcomed by DeLisle's residents, who were hungry for steady work. Twenty-five years later, more than 2,000 current and former residents and employees are suing the company, blaming dioxin and other heavy metals from the plant for the cancer clusters and high illness rates in the area.

    The 30-minute film, "Dioxin, Duplicity, and Dupont," will air this Thursday (March 23) at 8:30 PM Eastern and Pacific on Link TV (DIRECTV channel 375 and Dish Network channel 9410). You can also download the film to Video iPod.

  • Some background and some thank-you’s

    As the lead editor on Poverty & the Environment, I can say that the tough thing about putting together a series like this isn't what goes into it; it's what doesn't go in -- the great stories that wind up on the cutting room floor because you run out of time, or run out of money, or the journalist goes into labor a month early, or your awe-inspiring colleagues finally say, "we'd love to but we've already worked 96 hours this week."

    This chronic editorial dilemma was particularly acute with the current series. Given the subject matter, "embarrassment of riches" is exactly the wrong phrase, but it is certainly (and sadly) the case that there's no shortage of important stories to be told about the relationship between environmental and economic injustice. (That's one reason I encourage all of you to use this discussion forum to share your own ideas and experiences, as well as your reactions to what you read here.)

    We at Grist owe our familiarity with these issues to a great many people who took the time, early on in this process, to talk to us about their work and their vision for this series. That input was so valuable that I want to post some of it here; where we have not been able to incorporate it into the rest of the series, we can at least share it directly with our readers.

    Herewith, then, a very abbreviated list of heartfelt thank-yous, helpful advisors, and important ideas: