Lives on the Line

Last Saturday, in the Preah Vihear forest reserve in northern Cambodia, forest ranger Sieng Darong and police officer Sab Yoh confiscated some chainsaws from an illegal logging site. For them, it was routine work. Both had patrolled Cambodian forests for years, and were familiar with the country’s epidemic of illegal logging and wildlife poaching. That night, they […]

So Hard Core

Many years ago, before I was a science writer, but after I tried being a scientist, I spent some time in the outdoor industry. It’s a weird phrase, I know, but it covers anything related to activities like skiing, backpacking, kayaking and generally avoiding getting a real job. We did a lot of guiding and working at summer camps while […]

The dark crystal

The electronics of the future could be made of a material you leave in your toilet. If you’re up on your electronics of the future, you’ll recall that they were supposed to be made of graphene. Remember graphene? It was supposed to be better than silicon, because it lets electrons go really fast. That’s great, […]

The Children of Floods

This picture I took last week may look like nothing but chaos and you may be right. It was a flash flood in southern Utah and I was safely standing on a ledge above it. I was absorbed by the galling roar and the smell of the desert funneled by intense rainwater to a single […]

Animals in their Seasons

Bowhunting season in Western Colorado opened yesterday, which means the rut is underway, the next season coming into view. By the time you see this, I will be sitting in the quiet of the woods with my 12 year old boy listening for bugling elk, their haunting, whale-like calls rising through dusk aspens and sea-green […]

Guest Post: Postcard from El Salvador

Agricultural engineer Irene Varela is a compelling presence. Six farmers are gathered on the patio of a church library in Santiago Texacuangos in El Salvador, about an hour outside the country’s capital for a workshop she’s leading. “What’s the soil like when you have worms?” Varela asks in Spanish. “Moist,” says one famer. “Rich,” says […]

Painting Fire With Fire

The Carlton Complex, the largest wildfire in the history of Washington state, started on July 14, 2014 in the foothills of the North Cascades. When it was finally extinguished, almost 40 days later, it had burned more than 250 homes and disrupted thousands of lives in Okanogan County, a rural county on the northern edge of the […]

I Have A Few Questions For These Trees

Last week, in a charming story for the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance reported that the citizens of Melbourne, Australia, have been sending fan mail to their trees. Yes, people are emailing trees—and once in a while, the trees are emailing back. (“Hello,” wrote one willow peppermint, “I am not a Mr. or a Mrs., as I have what’s called perfect […]