On My Way to Burning Man

I’ve just returned from Burning Man, a Mad Max bacchanalia in the desert of western Nevada. I went to see what my civilization was up to, what fiery pinnacle we’ve invented. I also wanted to see it in context, which is why my time at this 69,000-person conflagration was only part of a larger journey. […]

The Urban Ocean

Where do you fall on the issue of wind farms at sea? Tidal energy generators? Artificial reefs? Mooring fields? Glass bottles? Old piers? Shipwrecks? Are they junk to be cleared away or are they habitat to be protected? How are they to be categorized, and at what stage in their “useful” lives do they become […]

Extinction Debt

There’s been a lot of road kill on my drive to work and back in Western Colorado, mostly prairie dogs and rabbits, and young magpies trying to learn how fast they have to fly to get out of the way. I find myself slowing and dodging for the live ones who continue shooting across my […]

Coming Home From Saudi Arabia

It was water that impressed me first when I got back to the U.S. I spent the month of June in Saudi Arabia, teaching teenage girls about writing and science. On the van ride home from the airport the other day, I couldn’t believe the trees. I’d forgotten about trees. The highways are lined with […]

The Secret Lives of Animals

A bear broke into my wife’s old teardrop trailer in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. It must have been yearling by the bite marks in bean cans, and the smallness of its hips where it busted out the door-window and dragged itself inside. The bear didn’t find much, leaving […]

A stark introduction to geologic time

When I was a kid, my mom would measure time for me in units of Sesame Street. During a road trip when I’d inevitably ask, “Are we there yet?” she might answer, we’ll be there in two Sesame Streets. For a kid, two hours can seem like forever. We imagine the world through the lens of […]