Ivory Trade Antics

There have been several elephant and ivory-related news items over the past few weeks, including a year-long ban on ivory imports announced by China this week, and the announcement by several Hong Kong retailers that they will no longer be selling elephant products. New regulations have just come into effect in the United States, one…

Read More

Oxbows and Meanders

I found this tangled map, created in 1944, over on the ever-fruitful NASA web site for the Earth Observatory. It shows historical changes along a stretch of the Mississippi River. I stumbled upon it while looking at a small collection of river surveys from 1865, and comparing them to modern Google maps. There was this…

Read More

Tipping the Scales

21 February is World Pangolin Day, and anyone who follows this blog knows I have a soft spot for the scaly anteater that is being rapidly hunted into extinction. The ongoing decimation of the slow and strange pangolin is a grim illustration of the long-lasting impact greed and lack of political willpower can have on…

Read More

Industrial Reforestation

I haven’t yet made peace with the notion of drone swarms in civilian life, whether they are for deliveries or photography or oil pipe monitoring or any number of ostensibly benign and useful activities. I suppose at some point I’ll just get used to them as they multiply, much like I did with the now-ubiquitous…

Read More

Forest Reverence

“A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral.” Theodore Roosevelt Through history, private family ownership of vast land tracts has had both merits and drawbacks. When it comes to forests in the United States, almost 60% is under private ownership, 766 million acres of…

Read More

Yoke of Gold

The history of gold – that is, the history of gold extracted from the planet surface – is inextricably linked with human history. Gold has always been as much a shining harness as a coveted bauble. It has so many qualities we would like to think we ourselves possess: It’s rare but not lonely and…

Read More

Maui Mixology

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the poolside cocktail mixing class at the Hotel Wailea on Maui – the reinforcement of a few basics, maybe a couple of exotic ingredients in a familiar drink. We’d signed up the day before for the mixology class, but by the time it rolled around at 11…

Read More

Watching the Wheels Go Round

What is it about watching the sun come up and watching the sun go down? After all, it’s just a way of watching the planet turn in its usual way, day after day.  At least for me, watching a sunrise, and watching a sunset, never gets old. Each one the fundamentally the same, each one…

Read More