G is for Goddamned Goshawk

I knew something was wrong the moment I opened the orchard gate. My guinea fowl were squawking like crazy, buckwheat!, buckwheat!, and none of my two dozen or so chickens were anywhere in sight. I scanned the area near around poultry barn for signs of a predator, but saw nothing. Until I reached the chicken […]

Aldo Explains it All

You may have heard that conservation biologists are arguing with each other. Some say nature should be protected for humans; others say it should be protected from humans; others say it’s possible to do both. This may sound like an academic debate—and in many ways it is—but it has become a very nasty one, and […]

Guest Post: In Praise of Snow Geese

On New Year’s Day, my friend Randy Roberts and I put on white hazmat suits and went out to shoot snow geese.  We were told that the birds regard a human in a white suit as one of their own and they let you walk freely among them, something hunters supposedly discovered a while back. […]

Holiday Redux: A Bookseller And His Well

 LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in March 2014. In the May issue of the Rotarian Magazine next month you will be able to read the full version of a story I did last year on toxic mine runoff in highland Bolivia. It’s a nice […]

Holiday Redux: The Beauty of Punctuation

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in November 2013. Several years ago, I splurged on a gorgeous red hardcover edition of Strunk and White’s classic book on writing, The Elements of Style. Illustrated by Maira Kalman, the pages are filled with fanciful depictions of punctuation […]

Konrad Steffen’s Desk

Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came out with an even firmer stance on current environmental affairs, including reams of new data from more scientists saying, basically, news is not good. The New York Times called it “the starkest warning yet.” Little new was revealed in the report, rather it deepened the […]

Winter Blooms

Winter is settling in: the air is nippy, branches are bare, and wearing open-toed shoes is now out of the question. During a recent visit to a horticulture centre, though, I was impressed to see that many flowers in their gardens still bloomed. Cheery red blossoms, gold-centered asters, and frilly magenta petals popped against a bleak backdrop […]

What Destruction Has Wrought

On Monday, a slowly-creeping lava flow claimed its first house on the Big Island of Hawaii. The iron-heavy pahoehoe flow crossed the house’s yard and moved through a wall, sending flames into the 1,100-square-foot structure before continuing on to take down a nearby corrugated shed. This flow has been on the move since it first […]