It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during difficult times, but HCN’s March issue finds good reason to hope. Our two feature stories highlight the resilience of both human relationships and damaged ecosystems, with a photo essay about the lessons learned from older lesbian couples, and a wide-ranging survey of “natural regeneration,” the way that native seeds can survive underground, sometimes for centuries, waiting for the right conditions to sprout and flourish. We rediscover the Japanese-language poetry written in the U.S. between the world wars and meet gay men who found new community in the desert. But challenges remain: The toxic levels of PFAS in drinking water are often hidden from consumers, our car culture is killing us and our communities, and first responders are scrambling to keep up as immigration patterns shift and the death toll rises. Meanwhile, activists work tirelessly to find homes for unhoused Indigenous people, while researchers track Pacific lamprey to ensure the survival of an ancient and elusive species.

An artistic depiction of a sagebrush steppe ecosystem. Credit: Alex Boersma

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