Looking back at environmental loss — and more than a few successes — helps us look ahead to healing the planet.

Sunset over the ocean

Looking back at the year that was, we can’t help but also look forward. That’s what the best of our articles and commentaries did in 2022: They visualized the next steps toward a better future for wildlife, the planet and us.

Of course, sometimes getting to that point means looking at the pain, and there was plenty of that in 2022. But we remain resolute in our beliefs that good people can change the world for the better and that journalism is often the lens through which that echoes and amplifies.

So here are some of our best articles of 2022. They cover heavy topics like the extinction crisis, environmental justice and climate change, but they also celebrate those working to reverse the threats all of us face.

Learning to Love — and Protect — Burned Trees — A much-needed reminder that we don’t have to keep doing things the same way we always have.

solar panels
Native Renewables solar project. (Courtesy of Native Renewables)

Solar Sovereignty: The Promise of Native-Led Renewables — Renewable energy isn’t always easy, which is why we focus on folks who are making a difference, especially for underserved communities.

30 Ways Environmentalists Can Participate in Democracy  — The midterms may be over, but the buildup to 2024 has just begun, and there’s still a lot left to do on all fronts. Environmentalists often bemoan the political process, but we should never underestimate our power and potential.

Left Out to Dry: Wildlife Threatened by Colorado River Basin Water Crisis — One of the biggest crises facing the country right now. It’s easy to ignore wildlife when people are suffering, which is why this look behind the curtain is important.

Collision Course: Will the Plastics Treaty Slow the Plastics Rush? — Plastic pollution threatens us on a cellular level, and plastic production worsens the climate crisis. The United Nations could finally step in to help.

Another Dam(n) Extinction — Sad news, but a call for change. And a warning of what else could come if we’re not watching closely.

10 Ways War Harms Wildlife — With war in Ukraine raging on, we need to look at the effects of violence on the planet.

cargo ship
Photo: USDA (uncredited)

Cargo, With a Side of Hornets, Flies and Crabs — Your online shopping comes with a cost, and not always the one you might expect.

Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs — Hydropower often gets presented as a clean energy solution. It pays to examine those assertions.

On the Clean Water Act’s 50th Birthday, What Should We Celebrate? — One of the country’s milestone environmental laws celebrated an important anniversary this year, which serves as a reminder of what we can accomplish and what we’re still missing.

The Fight for an Invisible Fish — What you can’t see is still worth protecting.

Rainbows from Bunsen Peak, Mammoth Hot Springs. Photo: Neal Herbert/NPS

Environmental Groups: Earn Your Place at Pride — The environmental movement is still too white, too straight, and too willing to overlook its own diversity and equity problems. This op-ed challenges us to be better.

Is the Jaguarundi Extinct in the United States? — Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone. But sometimes there are opportunities to bring it back.

Armadillos Make Great Neighbors — We’re all connected.

Six Ways to Talk About Extinction — The more we talk about it, and the better we talk about it, the more opportunity we’ll have to prevent future loss.

How to Stop Wildlife Trafficking in Its Tracks — An important roadmap for the future.

Thanks for reading in 2022. Thanks, too, for your comments, questions, suggestions, shares and general support. We couldn’t keep running The Revelator without you, our valued readers and writers.

Here’s to more moving forward in 2023 — and beyond.

Creative Commons

John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.

Tara Lohan  

worked as The Revelator's deputy editor from 2018-2024. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis and is working on a book about dam removal.