Let Us Celebrate The Lack Of Total Failure

This past Friday evening, when I heard that the 195 nations represented at the COP21 climate meeting in Paris had reached a draft agreement, I was pleasantly surprised. On Saturday morning, when I saw the stronger-than-forecast draft text, I was shocked. And on Saturday afternoon, when the final agreement was signed—signed!—I was thrilled. The Paris agreement won’t singlehandedly head off the worst […]

Redux: Freelancing Still Sucks. Still, Long Live Freelancing.

This post was a response to a column called “Freelancing Sucks,” which was published just about a year ago. Well, freelancing still sucks—and we still need freelancers. Last month, Fast Company senior editor Reyhan Harmanci published a column called “Freelancing Sucks.” She wrote: Everyone knows this: the freelancers, who are forced to beg for months-late checks; the editors, […]

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 […]

Aristotle’s Raven

East Sand Island, a slim strip of sand, sludge, and beachgrass near the mouth of the Columbia River, is home to an estimated 28,000 cormorants. Make that 26,800 cormorants: Since Memorial Day, crews from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services have shot more than 1,200 adult birds and doused more than 5,000 nests with vegetable oil, suffocating developing cormorant […]

The Lady and Le Guin

Late last month, I got to camp with a group of ecologists at the base of Mt. St. Helens, in southwestern Washington state. Some of the scientists had been studying the mountain since shortly after it erupted on May 18, 1980, and they were full of stories about the changes they’d seen over the past thirty-five […]

Redux: Dr. Jim Beam, DDS

REDUX WEEK!  This week, some LWONers choose their favorite posts that some other LWONers wrote. My choice-post is by Michelle.  This post is one of LWON”s public services unto humankind.  It first ran on October 7, 2011.  By re-running it here and now, we can assure that you won’t have to do this dangerous, costly, and […]

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 […]