The Precarious Life and Untimely Death of Whooper 4-11

The Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, a patch of restored prairie and wetland in southwestern Indiana, is a a favorite stopover for migratory birds and itinerant birders. On January 3, while driving the grid of ruler-straight county roads around the wetland, a birder saw an unmistakable large, white shape: it was a whooping crane, one of the most endangered birds […]

The Last Word

December 5-9. 2016 At a writing residency in Oregon, Emma finds a bird foot in coyote scat, and then sees death all around her in the forest. When I stopped for lunch, I took out my notebook and wrote, “Thinking mostly about nothing much except how the forest is death, death, life out of death, death accumulated so it […]

Forcing the Issue

One of the best free diversions in London is the Wellcome Collection, the medical museum operated by the Wellcome Trust and supported by the posthumous generosity of Sir Henry Wellcome, the American frontier kid who became a British pharmaceutical tycoon. “Medicine Man,” one of the permanent exhibitions, is drawn from Sir Henry’s own extraordinary collection of memorabilia related to […]

Thankful? Oh, Really?

Ann:  It’s been a fairly dreadful year, personally and nationally, and giving thanks is going to be a stretch.  But even when I was a kid, I was thankless.  When my grandfather said grace at Sunday dinners — “Bless, oh Lord, this food to our use and us to thy service” — I thought the […]

Science Metaphors (cont.): Scale Mismatch

Dear readers, dear friends, As I write this, on the afternoon of November 9, 2016, the future looks very dark. If you respect reason and truth, if you care about the planet we depend on, if you believe that biology is just biology, not destiny, then I expect the future looks dark to you, too. I […]

New Person of LWON: Emma Marris

We’re so pleased that Emma Marris — author, journalist, interesting thinker, and LWON guest poster — has agreed to join us as a regular contributor. Emma is the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, and she’s written for National Geographic, Nature, Slate, and other publications. She recently gave an excellent TED […]

Who Killed the Bramble Cay Melomys?

This summer, the Bramble Cay melomys, a reddish-brown rodent that resembles a large mouse, made international news. In mid-June, the Guardian reported that the melomys, last seen in 2009, had been confirmed extinct in its only known habitat, a tiny, isolated coral outcrop in the narrow strait between Australia and New Guinea. “First mammal species wiped […]

This is the Sound of a Forest Changing

The Alexander Archipelago, a 300-mile-long sweep of islands off the southeastern coast of Alaska, is known for its isolation, its heavy rain, and its thick, ancient forests of hemlock, pine, spruce and yellow-cedar. Yellow-cedar, which John Muir called a “truly noble tree,” has long been prized for its fine-grained, butter-colored wood. But over the past century, as average temperatures have risen, […]