New England’s fabled (and much valued) lobstering industry is struggling with all kinds of challenges: an aging workforce, lobster catches that swing from record highs to depressing lows, new regulations, and warming waters caused by climate disruption. So why would a bright young man in Eastport, Maine, commit to a life fishing the seas?
By BEN SPEGGEN
On the Northeastern coast of Italy, not far from such meccas of refinement as Bologna and Florence, an unusual drug treatment community named San Patrignano has grown and thrived for more than 40 years. The program’s methodology? Teach people who are struggling with addiction high-level artisanal skills, and slowly but surely, confidence and pride fill what was once a desperate void.
By LAURA FRASER
In a small, Indigenous community in the mountains of Michoacán, Mexico, a band of determined women led the overthrow of a criminal cartel. Their victory gave the town a new sense of purpose by reviving its traditional livelihood, its capacity for self-government, and its communal spirit.
Story and photography by ANDREW SULLIVAN
Two small-town Cold War facilities—one in Maine, another in South Carolina—each attempted to chart a peacetime future. One became a hub for green and high-tech industry; the other turned into a corrupt, nuclear boondoggle trapped in the past. What made them take such different paths?
By TAYLOR BARNES
The town of John Day sits in the middle of Oregon’s High Desert country, threaded by an abused river, surrounded by a dying timber industry, and getting hotter and drier every year. Enter Nick Green, a new city manager, with grand, out-of-the-box ideas about rural sustainability. Can his vision survive?
by JULIET GRABLE
For a brief time in the mid-1970s, a British economist named E.F. Schumacher changed the conversation across the Western world with a daring book entitled “Small Is Beautiful.” Schumacher argued that the push for endless growth was destroying the foundations of meaningful work, and it was doomed to fail. Although Schumacher died before he could develop his ideas, a center founded in his name has tried to continue his legacy. Might his message be even more timely today?
By BRYCE T. BAUER
Most economic experts say the pandemic didn’t cause today’s supply chain disruptions; it simply brought them to the surface—and made them worse. Meanwhile, Harry Moser has been quietly working, for more than a decade, to bring manufacturing back home, with some stunning successes. Could COVID have finally created “reshoring’s” moment?
By TODD OPPENHEIMER
Nand Kishore Chaudhary has built one of India’s most successful handmade carpet ventures by forging close ties to a community that most businesses on the continent shun: the poor, largely uneducated caste of citizens long referred to as “Untouchables.” To help his business grow, he’s also had to develop an apprenticeship system around India’s chronic battles with child labor. To Chaudhary, navigating these issues is the only way to honor the true meaning of sustainability. During a visit to the Jaipur Rugs company, our correspondent tries to figure out how all these pieces come together.
By CATHRYN JAKOBSON RAMIN
Since 2010, Kelly Carlisle has been breaking new ground—literally— for youngsters in East Oakland and beyond, using an urban farm to inspire them to engage with the world as curious citizens. “Part of my work,” she says, “is to make sure we expand their worldview.”
By WILL CALLAN