Jeremy Morris via Unsplash
Alto Crew / Unsplash

Jeremy Morris via Unsplash

California’s dirty little secret: Oil wells in the backyard, Grist, Capital & Main

This story was supported by funds from the Economic Hardship Reporting Project

As a child, Ashley Hernandez remembers pretending that the oil pumpjacks that loomed over her neighborhood were dinosaurs. Other children in her community called them giraffes, or horses. The strange metal animals pecked rhythmically at the earth, sandwiched between homes, next to playgrounds, in the parking lots of grocery stores, sucking the oil from the sediments beneath her neighborhood of Wilmington in southern Los Angeles.

Alto Crew via Unsplash

Points of No Return, Grist

ONA's 2021 Online Journalism Awards

Winner:  Topical reporting (climate change)

Finalist: Feature (small newsroom)

As the world warms, these Earth systems are changing. Could further warming make them spiral out of control?

Understanding the risks of tipping points requires a radical reframing of the climate challenge [...] “If we’re right about the tipping points, they’re not marginal,” Lenton tells Grist. “They’re existential risks.”

Wikimedia Commons
Alexandria Herr

Wikimedia Commons

Mercury in Our Waters: The 10,000-Year Legacy of California’s Gold Rush, KCET / PBS SoCal

“Here we have California, which is thought of as one of the most environmentally forward-thinking states,” said Monohan of the contamination, “yet this is maybe the longest neglected environmental problem in the world. And we’re not even talking about it yet, honestly.” 

Alexandria Herr

The Line 3 pipeline protests are about much more than climate change, Grist

“Wild rice is our life. Where there’s Anishinaabe there’s rice. Where there’s rice there’s Anishinaabe. It’s our most sacred food,” said Anishinaabe activist Winona LaDuke. “It’s who we are.” [...] Now, LaDuke and Bibeau are facing a new battle for the future of wild rice: the so-called Line 3 pipeline.

Audio Journalism

I'm currently contributing freelance production and research to PostScript Media podcasts, including Season 2 of the Big Switch in collaboration with Columbia University. A sample of an episode I helped produce and report is linked below.

Selected writing

I've written about the intersection of climate change and housing, public health, managed retreat, oil and gas extraction, and more. 

Defending Wild Rice, Atmos, September 2021

In a new lawsuit against the DNR, the wild rice itself is striking back.

Could oysters save California from drowning? Grist, Slate, June 2021

The unassuming bivalve could be a key part of helping coastlines adapt to the impacts of climate change.

This Louisiana neighborhood is retreating in the face of climate change, Grist, June 2021

Sometimes, the best way to build back better might be to just pick up and build elsewhere. 

As COVID restrictions lift, green spaces are the front lines in a fight for housing justice, Grist, April 2021

L.A.’s Echo Park was an oasis for the unhoused during the pandemic — until the city forcibly removed them.

After the winter storm, a Texas mobile home community’s nightmare was far from over, Grist, March 2021

“It was a living nightmare for everybody.”

‘Solidarity, not charity’: Mutual aid groups are filling gaps in Texas’ crisis response, Grist, February 2021

"Who better to mobilize the community than people who are already in the community?”

LA’s homeless communities are avoiding cooling centers, and it’s not just because of COVID-19 Grist, August 2020

[...] many more could soon find themselves pinned between heat waves, concerns about the virus, and fears of street sweeps as the pandemic and climate change continue.

An oil well right next to your house? The California Senate says that’s OK. Grist, August 2020

“We’re seeing that these senators are serving the interests of the oil and gas industry and not the public” 

6,000 acres of Minneapolis parks have their own police force Grist, July 2020

Any conversation about defunding or abolishing the police in Minneapolis would be incomplete without a discussion of the Minneapolis parks system, which maintains its very own force of police officers to patrol more than 6,000 acres of park land within the city — one of whom was present at Floyd’s killing.

Still Doubt Online Harassment Is Real? Read SheRatesDogs Bitch, November 2019

Accounts like hers, which serve as a kind of collective testimony, are a critical tool of resistance for women online. The presence of a watchdog, in its own small way, is flipping the script.