For a complete list of my published writing, click here.
Wildlife & Ecology
Woe is the Smelt: How Farms, Cities, and Trump Threaten a California Ecosystem
Bitterroot | August 2019
Near the concrete banks of the California Aqueduct, a small hangar houses a series of tanks five feet in diameter. One day in July, Tien-Chieh Hung, an aquacultural engineer, peered over the side of one, and shined a flashlight into the depths of its temperature-controlled water. A school of iridescent fish about as long as your pinky finger glided in and out of visibility. “That’s delta smelt,” Hung said, before quickly turning off his light and closing the tank’s fine-mesh cover. “They’re a sensitive fish.”
For Wildlife Lovers, a Kind of Sophie’s Choice: Should we kill sea lions in order to protect salmon?
Sierra | February 2019
”Even the best laws have unintended consequences,” says Chuck Hudson, intergovernmental affairs director for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, a fisheries management agency representing four Native American nations on the Columbia. “Among those consequences is when a law protects one species so much that it conflicts with the Endangered Species Act.”
Reforestation Experts Help Restore a Wild Blanco River
Reporting Texas | November 2017
The flood deforested much of the riverside — uprooting iconic bald cypresses, pecans, sycamores and leaving behind mangled earth and debris. In a single night, it seemed that the ideal Hill Country riverside house with its shaded and manicured riverbank had met its match: a riparian environment in flux.
Food & Agriculture
A Harvest from the Garden of the Sea: FreshCatch Brings the Watery Sense of Place to Our Plates
Edible East Bay | August 2019
As the tide ebbs, O’Hollaren spots the ogo waving in the water in long strands between other favorite edible seaweed species in this “garden of the sea,” to use his favored term for such places with their abundance of raw ingredients. Dwarf rockweed, cat’s tongue, splendid iridescent, sea palm, nori . . . each glistens in the sunlight breaking through the early morning fog. O’Hollaren kneels down to cut the mermaid’s hair. “I want people to taste seaweed in its essence,” says the Ventura-born, Hawai'i-educated coastal forager. “The textures, the flavor, the whole integrity of it in its rawest form.”
Oyster Coast: Threats to our favorite bivalve result in conservation efforts on the half-shell
Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine | January 2019
Our oyster consumption precedes written history — or as Robert Hendrickson, editor of the thick Ocean Almanac, wrote: “Man has played his part in oyster population control since before we made our controversial move from monkeydom.” Perhaps that’s why I feel a sort of primal sense there on Cendejas’ boat, holding my breakfast in my hand as it continues to pump its colorless blood through its three-chambered heart. But oysters don’t come any fresher, so I bring the muddy valve to my lips and knock it back.
Recoupling the Farm and the Environment Around It: Journalist Mark Schapiro on the fight to save our food supply
Sierra | October 2018
A seed is never just a seed, writes Mark Schapiro in his new book, Seeds of Resistance. “Like all environmental stories, start with a seed and you quickly end up in the realms of money and power—who has it, and who’s struggling to gain or regain it.”
Energy, Industry & Climate
Happy Hour Threatened When Needed the Most: Study shows that rising beer prices will add insult to climate change injury
Sierra | December 2018
A report published earlier this fall in Nature Plants suggests that beer—the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world—could see higher prices and lower consumption by the end of the century because of climate change. “Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous—and may even have health benefits,” the study says, “there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury.”
A Quarter of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Come From Public Lands: But Ryan Zinke doesn’t want you to know that
Sierra | December 2018
In 2016, the Obama administration’s interior secretary, Sally Jewell, ordered the USGS to collect data on greenhouse gas emissions associated with the extraction and burning of fossil fuels from federal lands. The agency focused on federal holdings both on- and offshore between 2005 and 2014 and found that an average of 23.7 percent of annual nationwide carbon dioxide emissions stem from energy sector activity in these areas.
Montana’s Paradise Valley is More Valuable Than Gold: Interior Secretary Zinke bans mining on Yellowstone’s doorstep
Sierra | October 2018
Zinke signed the [20-year ban on new mining claims] on Monday at an outdoor ceremony in Paradise Valley, where the Yellowstone River flows through the Absaroka Range on its way to the plains of eastern Montana. The 10,926-foot Emigrant Peak stood half-shrouded in clouds over Zinke’s shoulder as he told local business owners, conservationists, and reporters, “I’m a pro-mining guy. But there’s places to mine and places not to mine.”
Reviews & Q+As
‘The Real Extremists Among Us Destroy Life for Profit’: Conversation: Christopher Ketcham, author of This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West
Earth Island Journal | August 2019
Demanding that federal agencies manage public lands not for the privileged few but rather as the shared Commons, including the wildlife who live there? Calling out public lands grazers for corruption and hypocrisy with an anger reminiscent of a monkey-wrenching Edward Abbey? And even, in Abbey fashion, pouring sand into the gas tanks of an inanimate Caterpillar D9 about to destroy a stretch of pinyon-juniper to replace it with forage grasses for cattle? That’s not extremism, says Ketcham. “That, to me, is justified defense against unjust power.”
The Wild Beauty of Summer Storms: Photographer Mike Olbinski chases extreme weather across the United States
Sierra | December 2018
Mike Olbinski’s 2014 Toyota 4Runner has over 200,000 miles on it and hundreds of small dents in the roof left by hail. Those miles span much of the American Great Plains, between Olbinski’s home in Phoenix over to West Texas, and all the way up to the Dakotas or Montana. The dents come from the weather he chases. A mounted laptop with radar, GPS tracking, and weather models tells him where to go. “You have to go where the storms are,” he says.
A View of the World From a Strand of Omega-3 Molecules: Paul Greenberg’s latest book finds imbalance in the world of omega-3 fatty acids
Sierra | July 2018
Like many people searching for better health and well-being, author and journalist Paul Greenberg found himself drawn to the promise of longevity—not only for himself, but also for the oceans, the fish that reside in them, and by extension, the larger planet that depends on those oceans.