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Christine MacDonald

Journalist, author

“Green Going Gone: The Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco”

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RollingStone.com this week published my investigative story examining how U.S.-based agribusiness companies such as Cargill are propelling factory farming across South America setting off a domino effect of deforestation that’s decimating the Gran Chaco Forest.

READ the story

New technology is changing how insurers investigate hail claims

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WFstoryimage800                            Above: hailstorm map from Weather Fusion

GIS mapping—the same technologies that have given us Google-style maps, the GPS in your car, and bike-sharing apps—is also transforming the way many industries get things done.

Read my story in the Dallas Morning News about how GIS maps are changing how insurance claims are paid.

Ice Chaser

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James Balog’s Dramatic Images Document Climate Change


National Geographic photographer James Balog says he was skeptical about climate change until he saw it happening firsthand. Watching once-towering glaciers falling into the sea inspired his most challenging assignment in a storied 30-year career—finding a way to photograph climate change.

In exploring Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey, a breathtaking photographic record of vanishing glaciers, and his award-winning documentary, Chasing Ice, Natural Awakenings asked about the challenges he faced to bring this dramatic evidence of climate change to a world audience.

READ my new article in Natural Awakenings Magazine

(Photo courtesy of James Balog)

Taking a century-old rowhouse “net zero”

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

My latest green building story focuses on a DC rowhouse overhauled for energy efficiency. Then the developer slapped on almost as many solar panels as the roof would hold, turning this architectural relic into a cutting edge “extremely green” home. The new owner may be saying bye-bye to electric bills. Read the story in the Washington Post today!

 

The house scored “net zero” on its energy audit

Share Madness

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Can renting cars by the hour and crashing in strangers’ spare bedrooms really change the economy?

capbikeshare

 

My latest cover story in the Washington City Paper allowed me to call on a couple of years of personal experiences as a “collaborative consumer.” I also got to talk to other people using D.C.’s car and bike shares, Airbnb and eatFeastly hosts, as well as a bunch of pundits who say the burgeoning “sharing economy” is ushering in big changes in the way we live.

 

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Sharing enthusiasts see a future with less pollution, inefficiency, and injustice—not to mention fewer cars. But sharing services aren’t always green (you can, after all, share a private jet). They seem more likely—not less—to accentuate class differences and perpetuate the same bad behavior on commercial, labor, and environmental fronts that everything that came before them did. And while sharing depends on high-tech social media and smartphone apps, in many ways the collaborative world harkens back to the past: to barter systems; the hyper-localism of preautomobile societies; and the almost small-town importance of reputation, which will increasingly follow us around as “data exhaust” that could replace the credit rating. Still, the changes afoot are propelled by decidedly 21st century realities: population growth, booming cities, rising costs, and shrinking personal space.

READ THE STORY

 

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