The trouble with abundance

There are several things you’re likely to notice if you fly over Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago on a clear day. If you’re an alpine junky like me, the first will be the snowcapped mountains that stretch seemingly without end from near the coast to the eastern horizon somewhere in Canada, their white-and-gray-tongued glaciers pouring all […]

Wind, the uninvited houseguest

Perhaps 500 yards from my door—up an icy, winding driveway, a short way down a gravel road, beyond barbed wire fences and snow-skirffed pastures and the wind-twisted trunks of piñon and juniper trees—is a barn that shelters two sailboats in the middle of the Colorado desert. I first spotted them on a walk and stopped […]

Reason for Hope

I joined a film crew several years ago in Chilean Patagonia where we put together a  flick opposing dams along the turquoise rivers of the Aysén region. At the time, stopping the advance of some of the biggest investors in the world seemed impossible. But soon more films were made, protests ignited across the country to save […]

Goodbye, Home

I close on a house this week. I’ve never done this before, not quite sure how the paperwork is supposed to happen. It’s not much of a place really, almost a thousand square feet and a loft with spaces between the planks where my older boy pressed his eye, watching his brother being born on the […]

Why Trump’s Victory is like the End of the Ice Age

  In light of who became president elect last week, I find myself searching for patterns to understand what might be happening, and what’s next. I don’t presume unrelated processes mirror each other, but there are uncanny resemblances. In this case, I believe Trump is the end of the Ice Age. He is — I believe, I hope […]

Guest Post: Cuba’s Stories in Stone

Starting about 135 million years ago, long after the Pangea supercontinent fragmented into shards of planetary crust, one of those geological slivers began noodling toward the north and east. Near the end of the Eocene epoch, it bumped into what is now Florida. With a newborn ocean giving it a shove from behind, it overrode […]

On Being Alone

Something about the way a river trip starts. Gear gets thrown in, arranged, tied down, and when the current picks up and carries you downstream, your sense of time and distance immediately changes. Connection to the other 7 billion or so people on the planet loosens, and connection to something bigger, and in ways smaller, […]

Science Metaphors (cont.): The Anthropocene

On Monday, at an international meeting of geologists in Cape Town, South Africa, the 35 members of the Anthropocene Working Group summarized their seven years of work. Chief among their preliminary findings is that the current human-dominated chapter in our planet’s history, informally known as the Anthropocene, is geologically real. That’s “real” as in “recorded in the earth’s rock layers.” The report is the latest […]