Juggling Interactions

There’s a lot of talk these days about supporting biodiversity, but what does that really mean? Once, my personal understanding of biodiversity involved a focus on the big, noticeable species – the endangered animals like whales and polar bears and elephants, as if biodiversity was the same as protecting threatened species. It’s much more than…

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Jurassic Garden

There’s a lot of evidence that gardening with plant species native to one’s area can promote a healthier ecosystem for plants, insects, animals and birds. But how do we even go about planting a truly native garden, and what are the challenges involved? A few years ago, I walked around the hedgerows and fields of…

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Silly Bees

Every year, solitary carpenter bees make themselves at home in our wood window casings. I can see their little bee butts working away in there. The question is, what to do about it? Now, I admit, the drainage holes in the windows look mighty inviting. But because the windows open and shut, any growing bees…

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Legacy Dilemmas

What do we do when times change and the heirlooms that were once prized have fallen, not just out of fashion, but out of legality? In the wake of more and more countries banning the trade in ivory, what is the burden of family legacy? We were cleaning out the attic of our house the…

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Garden of Extinction

A botanical garden in Cape Town, South Africa, is devoted to plants that no longer exist in the wild. A reminder and warning sign of what we stand to lose forever.

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Pieces in the Mosaic

Over the past few decades, we’ve grown used to campaigns imploring us to save one animal or another. Usually the photogenic or impressive species. Save The Whale, Save The Panda, and so on. Shortly after the United States’ Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, a case came along about a modest creature, the Tennessee…

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Failed Elver Balance

As the season comes to an end for harvesting the young American eel known as elver, I thought I would revisit a topic I’ve often written about on ChampagneWhisky. The American eel was once a remarkably abundant marine animal along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. Along with its close cousins, the…

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Up Close and Personal

It’s generally acknowledged that we are now officially in the midst of a major phase of extinction when it comes to plant and animal life on our home planet. Whether it’s called the Sixth, the Holocene or the Anthropocene Extinction, this wave of die-offs is the biggest in almost 70 million years, when three-quarters of…

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Making Choices

I was doing some early morning grocery shopping this morning, and I was buying avocados. Above the avocado bin were two types of produce bags: a roll of the thin plastic bags, and a stack of bags made of recycled paper. This might seem like a tangential story to begin a post about World Pangolin…

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Fading Indelibility

Old habits die hard. So, it turns out, do new ones. Back when I was living in Japan, I had a friend who was born near Tokyo in the 1950s. His family wasn’t poor, but with the scarcity of protein that Japan faced for many years after World War II, he grew up eating whale…

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