The Great Polar Bear Debate

Last month, biologist and National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen shot a video of an ailing polar bear. He shared it online to bring attention to seasonal starvation that is aggravated by climate change. The story got my attention: More than a decade ago, in my first real job as a journalist for a magazine about Northern […]

The Last Word

January 8-12, 2018 Michelle reduxes a post about a word she made up to describe daffodils that bloom during false springs—and wonders what other words the world needs these days. Honestly, all the Snowpocalypses and Snowzillas of recent years are starting to run together. If we’re going to keep naming nature in the Anthropocene, we need to branch out. Erik snorkels on […]

It All Depends Where You Look

Last month, while on assignment in Cozumel for a story on sponges, I went diving on a beautiful reef. It was stunning – a world of color, dreamlike shapes, and life everywhere I looked. Normally, I would have just swam about, marveled at the pretty nature, and come back to my hotel with a fat […]

Redux: Antevernals in the Anthropocene

When Robert Macfarlane recently chose “antevernals” as one of his words of the day, I remembered this post, which I wrote in February 2016. Now we need a word to describe our continent’s increasingly split-screen winters. How about twinter? Or splinter? And climate change isn’t the only phenomenon demanding new vocabulary: I sometimes hear others […]

Adventures of an Occasional Goatherd

Baby, it’s cold outside! So I’m posting a little look-back at some warmer-weather fun on the farm. ————– I love goats. In many ways they’re a lot like dogs, and I love dogs. So, it follows. How are they like dogs? At least the ones I’ve met love attention. They want to be petted and […]

2018: What’s the worst that could happen?

“It is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the odds that all human existence is a simulation “Two tech billionaires [are] secretly engaging scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.” – The Guardian  “What […]

The Historically Slippery Age of Puberty

Puberty is happening earlier now. Girls in the West, particularly those living in poverty, get breast buds a year or two earlier in the 21st Century than they did in the mid-20th Century, and on average the age of menarche—a girl’s first period—has fallen by about 3 ½ months per decade. Boys’ development is accelerating […]

Redux: Fatherhood: the Outline of a Man

This was written for Father’s Day, June 11, 2012.  But it also suits this holiday season when too many people are missing too many other people.  That is, you know who a person is by the shape of the hole they leave when they’re not there. Here you go.  It’s not sad.