Orion’s 25 Most-Read Articles of the Decade

The world has changed a lot in the past ten years, and Orion has been there for all of it. From 2010 to the present, we’ve produced over fifty issues full of personal essays and science reporting, poetry and book reviews, photography and art, all responding to the most pressing issues facing the planet. 

We’ve done the math. Here are the 25 most-read Orion articles published within the last decade. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did:​

#1. Deep Intellect by Sy Montgomery (November/December 2011)

When you gaze into the eye of a giant octopus, don’t underestimate what’s going on inside that big, squishy head.

  #2. Defending Darwin by James J. Kupra (March/April 2015) 

A biology professor reflects on teaching evolution in the South.

#3. Dark Ecology by Paul Kingsnorth (January/February 2013) 

 Technology isn’t likely to save us, but neither is environmentalism.
#4. Speaking of Nature by Robin Wall Kimmerer (March/April 2017) 

Finding language that reveals our kinship with the natural world.
#5. State of the Species by Charles C. Mann (November/December 2012) 

Will the unprecedented success of Homo sapiens lead to an unavoidable downfall?

  #6. Landspeak by Robert Macfarlane (May/June 2015) 

The Oxford Junior Dictionary drops acorn, bluebell, fern, and nectar from its entries and adds blog, broadband, celebrity, and chatroom instead.

#7. 9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher by J. Drew Lanham (November/December 2013) 

Number one: Be prepared to be confused with the other black birder. Yes, there are only two of you at the bird festival.
#8. Facing Fear by J.B. MacKinnon (May/June 2015) 

How nature cured one man’s anxious mind.

  #9. How to Queer Ecology by Alex Carr Johnson (March/April 2011) 

Even nature—defined impossibly as the nonhuman—becomes unnatural when it does not fit the desired norm.

#10. Women and Standing Rock by Layli Long Soldier (35th Anniversary Issue)  

Where does the body end and sacred nature begin?

#11. The Island Wolves by Kim Todd (October/November 2017) 

Scientists’ understanding of the balance between predators and prey is upended in a remote ecosystem.

#12. Soldier and the Soil by Barrett Swanson  (35th Anniversary Issue)

An Iraq War veteran’s struggle to cultivate peace, both inside and out.

#13. Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist by Paul Kingsnorth (January/February 2012)

Once noble and redemptive, environmentalism has devolved into an engine of consumerism and a platform for partisanship.

#14. The Only Way to Have a Cow by Bill McKibben (March/April 2010)

What a new meat ethic could mean for the atmosphere.

#15. Wild and Domestic by Wendell Berry (Summer 2018)

Thirty-three common sense statements from America’s poet farmer.

#16. Gods Among Us by Terry Tempest Williams (Autumn 2019)

Humanity is not the center of the universe but part of an expanding, contracting, and uncertain future.

#17. The Fracking of Rachel Carson by Sandra Steingraber (September/October 2012)

Fifty years ago a book changed the way we think about nature—or did it?
#18. Conscience and Resistance by Scott Russell Sanders (Spring 2018)

On reading Thomas Merton in the rain.

#19. Waste Land, Promised Land by Kimberly Meyer (Spring 2018)

Refugee farmers replant home in post-hurricane Houston
#20. Young Readers Ask: Uninhabitable Earth Interview (April 2019)

A seven-year-old asks David Wallace-Wells about climate crisis. 

#21. The People’s Forest by Alexandra Tempus (Autumn 2018)

Their future threatened, the Menominee are turning to their relationship with the land to find the vision to fight climate change.

#22. Between Worlds by Anya Groner (Spring 2019)

As the climate changes, cultural resilience will be defined by a community’s ability to adapt, rather than resist.

#23. Where It Begins by Barbara Kingsolver (November/December 2013)

Knitting as a creation story.

#24. Fear Itself by Melanie Challenger (Spring 2018)

The biological and cultural origins of being scared.

#25. Dear Mr. Abbey by Amy Irvine (Autumn 2018)

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This is a collection of Orion Staff contributions.