Category: conservation

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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Resilience.

Nine o’clock after my evening writing class in the community arts center and I’m coasting on my bike through the river bottoms, on my way home.  Not a sound but tire-slurp in mud, animals, birds.  Mist rises from the water.  A rustle in the grass becomes a garter snake, a long stripe with a darker […]

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Black Friday.

Black as in Iowa soil, that is — its first couple inches just touched with frost, covering golden potatoes underneath. The cold came at last, the day after Thanksgiving in this unusually warm fall.  Time to harvest everything that was left in the garden — carrots, potatoes, collards, beets — before the ground freezes for […]

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Common ground: politics, water, and life.

Checking my email on what is going to be my last full morning in Alabama for a while, I found some very troubling news: fracking may be coming to our beautiful little corner of northeast Iowa. You might say it’s technically not fracking, since the proposed mine in Allamakee County would be for what’s called […]

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