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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A Little Goose Chase

We visited the county of Derbyshire, UK, a few weeks ago, travelling through an area that I suppose in the United States would be considered a fly-over zone. That is, most people from the more popular regions would fly over this region rather than pick it as a destination. We were there with friends, one…

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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…

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Pressing Issues

I was sitting in my office today, wondering – as I sometimes do – how to write about pangolins. As I often do. There was an unaccustomed sound outside, something that broke above the unrelenting rain we’ve had over the past few days. Children’s voices, a lot of them. I stood to look out and…

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Playing Favorites

As with anything else, there tend to be trends and favorites when it comes to endangered animal species. The polar bear, the orang-utan, the rhinoceros, the tiger, the lion are the iconic poster animals of conservation. The animals that draw attention, affection, and donations. We like to identify with our favorites, and like to think…

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The Happy Pangolin

It’s the third annual World Pangolin Day, a time to raise awareness of the strange and wondrous animal that is the single most encountered mammal in the illegal global trade in endangered animals. The odd pangolin, a scaly anteater that looks like a cross between a streamlined badger and a pine cone, is captured and…

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Two Trails

A brisk wind is chasing rain across the sky in quick, sharp intervals, strobe lights of sunshine cutting through. Just enough for a good run under a blue sky, between the raindrops. I had planned to write about spring barley and the malting process that leads to single malt whisky, but before I could even…

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Placing Value

There’s a well-known old American film called It’s A Wonderful Life. It stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a good and generous businessman who finds himself in deep financial trouble. A banker, the infamous cinematic villian named Mr. Potter, reminds a desperate George Bailey that as a last resort, Bailey has a life insurance policy.…

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Unforeseen Gatherings

Walrus Sea ice located along the shallow continental shelf of the Bering Sea usually provides a diving board, a hunting perch and resting place for female walrus and their young. With sea ice retreating into water too deep for hunting, the walrus have had to find safer shores. Around 10,000 of them have gathered on…

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