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 […]

Learning from Rafe

On May 28, on the northwestern outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, biologist Rafe Sagarin went for an evening bike ride. He intended to spend the night at the nearby Biosphere 2 facility, where he hoped to one day build a living model of the Gulf of California. He was, as always, full of plans and ideas—for himself, for his […]

Guest Post: Praised Be

“I have an idea,” said my friend Chris. We often walk and talk briskly together in the California beach town where we live. Not long before, we’d talked about how the Earth’s huge population is a major contributor to global warming. So I was only slightly amazed when she followed up with, “I think we […]

Island Bears

My fascination with bears began on a family road trip from Wisconsin to Yellowstone. To pass the time, my parents and I took turns reading from a book whose title now escapes me. Was it “Bear Attacks”? Or “When Man Becomes Prey”? Well, you get the gist. It was gruesome and terrifying, a delicious read […]

The Tyranny of Planned Obsolescence

The post has taken me entirely too much time to write. Not because I’m procrastinating or writing slowly, but because I’m being held hostage by the spinning beach ball of death. I bought my current iMac in early 2011, which means that enough time has elapsed that the Apple Care warranty I purchased with it […]