Black Gold on the Ivory Coast: Part 2

Black Gold on the Ivory Coast: Part 2

An Apocalyptic Landscape and a Desperate Situation   One description of oil exploitation in Nigeria stands out more than others: Present-day oil producers in Africa suffer from the “oil curse” or the “natural resource curse.” Nigeria is the tenth most petroleum-rich...
Black Gold on the Ivory Coast: Part 1

Black Gold on the Ivory Coast: Part 1

A History of Oil Exploitation   The Lyft driver pulled into the green “Rideshare Pickup zone” of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on a late Saturday night. I threw my backpack across the back seat, slid next to it, and confirmed my destination. I knew the...
A Time of Reflection

A Time of Reflection

    The Upper Truckee River is about a ten-minute walk from the back door of my Tahoe home. It meanders across a wide meadow where coyotes pop up like jack-in-the-boxes and descend upon field mice that scurry between blades of wild grass. The river widens,...
Solar Energy Versus Increased Oil Leases in Nevada

Solar Energy Versus Increased Oil Leases in Nevada

Driving south on US Highway 95 toward Tonopah, Nevada, a brilliant light shining above the desert floor catches your eye. Stretching over six hundred and forty feet in the air, a solar tower collects sunlight from over 10,000 mirrors focused on its apex....
The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 3

The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 3

Part 3: Bristol Bay, Trolls, and the Pebble Mine    The third and final post of this blog series focuses on a concentration of wild rivers located in Bristol Bay at the northeastern end of the Alaskan peninsula. This watershed supports the world’s largest...
The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 2

The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 2

Part 2: A Long Stretch of Rough Water.   The West Coast’s wild rivers served as the lifeblood of indigenous tribes for thousands of years before the first settlers arrived. Coastal tribes relied on massive migrations of salmon for subsistence, and mountain tribes...
The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 1

The Murky Future of Our Wild Rivers: 1

Part 1: It’s All About the Fish.   We stood on a sidehill shaded by redwoods and Douglas firs, water cascading down the rugged canyon below. My uncle pointed to a deep pool at the base of a towering waterfall. “Look close—see ‘em?” he whispered. Dark...
A Box of Memories and Remembering “One Small Step”

A Box of Memories and Remembering “One Small Step”

As a ten-year-old science nerd, excitement during the days leading up to July 20, 1969, eclipsed that of the Superbowl, the World Series, or any other normally major event. All of the steps taken by scientists and engineers, and all the daunting hours of work and...
Coastal Sea Life Threatened by Diminishing Kelp Forests

Coastal Sea Life Threatened by Diminishing Kelp Forests

THE WHALE SURFACED AND EXHALED, creating a spout that shot upward into the morning fog. We trekked along a trail following the coastline as the large sea mammal swam and fed within stretches of rich kelp forests. Stopping at bluffs providing closer vantage points, my...
Seas of Isolation

Seas of Isolation

SELF-ISOLATION: those words are now locked into our everyday vocabulary, a result of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. The world is slowly re-opening for business, but for how long is anyone’s guess. Although face-to-face meetings are still avoided, communication...
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