A Bird’s Foot: Death in the Forest 

I find a stick and use it to break up the dry twists of coyote scat I have found on the trail. Shit is nature’s obituary page. In each pile are the traces of lives recently lost. In this particular excreta I find a sprinkling of little white brittle bones—bird bones. And then I pull […]

The Great Eucalyptus Debate

The Tasmanian blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus, is a magnificent tree. That is perhaps the only thing that everyone agrees on. It is, as Jake Sigg puts it, “a big, grand, old tree.” Tall, gnarled, stripey-barked, with white flowers like sea anemones, blue gum eucalyptus are characteristic of the San Francisco Bay area, despite being native […]

A Wolf Dies

“The Silver Lake Wolves” sounds like the title of a young adult novel, or possibly an indie rock band with lots of close harmony and beards. Actually, it was the name given by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to a small family of wolves […]

Guest Post: Water in Yomibato

Last November, I went to the Peruvian Amazon on assignment for National Geographic. (The story is out today). I focused on a group of indigenous people, the Matsiguenka, living inside Manu National Park. One of these people is Alejo Machipango, a hunter, farmer, and member of the water committee for the village of Yomibato. Alejo […]

Guest Post: Cinderella and the Cinema Hangover

This weekend, I took my five-year-old daughter to her first movie in the theater, the new Cinderella. We got popcorn and Whoppers and great seats. The lights dropped, the previews and Frozen short ran, and then the film began, plunging us into another world. Two hours later, we were both hungover. This new Cinderella plays […]

What Do We Owe to the Next Species After Us?

  Climate change may not be forever, but it’ll be for a long, long time. Who—or what—will be around thousands or millions of years hence, when the consequences of our casually massive carbon emissions are still playing out? And do we owe them anything? According to philospher William Grove-Fanning, currently at the Environmental Studies Program at […]

Guest Post: Should We Clone Endangered Species?

In 2000, the last Pyrenean ibex died. These were mountain goat-like mammals with fierce black horns that scampered around the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Some cells had been taken from that last animal, and in 2009 the world learned that scientists had been able to clone the creature: a Pyrenean ibex kid was […]