Category: conservation

“Gaze Upon This World” is now an ORION Father’s Day feature.

Thanks to the good folks at ORION Magazine for featuring my essay about my late father, “Gaze Upon This World,” online as a Father’s Day special, with an updated introduction from me. Previously print-only, this piece (workshopped with Scott Russell Sanders at the 2016 Bread Loaf/Orion Environmental Writers Workshop) is now online. They’ve also been […]

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Barns and Edens: metaphors and the virus.

Like soap punctures the fatty envelope around its own RNA strand, coronavirus punctures our human envelopes of comfort and forces rethinking, in so many ways. One is metaphor (x “is” y) and simile (x is “like or as” y), which guides us – for better or worse – in comparing unlike things, and thus helps […]

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Protection. Rebellion. Incarnation.

Easter Sunday, 2019. Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square. Extinction Rebellion and Brexit and Eucharist. Two hundred years on from Shelley’s “Mask of Anarchy” and Keats’ Odes. What if this is the site of Incarnation, here and now? parliament square easter sunday Carn, the root: meat, flesh. Incarnation: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. […]

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Putting our hands on it.

Today in Internet horror: rare Argentine dolphin dies after being passed around by a selfie-taking crowd. Sticky and sandy and dry and eager, eager, seeking hands, all over that moist skin, sucking its moisture away in curiosity or excitement or wonder or unexamined narcissistic need, suspending it out of the sea until it heats and […]

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Yo, Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived [….] Our life is frittered away by detail […] Simplify, simplify.”  […]

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Dandelion wars.

It’s that time again: the latest round of the anti-weed, lawn-spraying wars.  In our town, this plays out not only in individual lawns but on the campus of our college, which routinely comes under fire from lots in the community and some on the faculty for its annual spraying (usually around Memorial Day.)  I am […]

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In the country of frac-sand mining.

Yesterday, I took an all-day bus tour (sponsored by and including many Allamakee County Protectors) to see frac-sand mining up close in Trempeleau and Chippewa Counties, Wisconsin.  In our group were filmmakers, writers, lawyers, water-quality specialists, Winneshiek County Protectors, journalists, farmers, geologists, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a long-distance hiker, and ordinary citizens from […]

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