See it here. This one was fun to report and write, since I talk about my own family and friends who hunt. The bearded fellow is my brother-in-law. My own hunting activities have so far been pretty experimental, and I’ve yet to bag anything myself. I need more target practice before I start shooting at real animals.
Today the New York Times is publishing an op ed that I wrote with The Nature Conservancy’s Peter Kareiva, Stanford’s Joe Mascaro (who is also a character in Rambunctious Garden) and the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Erle Ellis. We argue that the Anthropocene–the epoch marked by widespread human influence–is not by definition a disaster, and that accepting the scope of man’s changes to the Earth can set the stage not for hopelessness, but for a more hopeful environmental movement. I hope it gets people who have been feeling gloomy about Earth thinking, active, even optimistic again. We can make things better, not just less worse.
I am a huge fan of High Country News, the magazine “for people who care about the West.” So I am thrilled to have my first piece there, an essay that springs directly from my experience writing Rambunctious Garden. Once you learn about the dynamism of nature and the massive changes pre-European people made to North America, how does your emotional response to that holy of holies–Old Growth Forest–change? Read here to find out how it changed for me.
I was thrilled to be asked to write a guest post for the fabulous group blog The Last Word on Nothing. I decided to write about my own childhood in second growth forests, and how that may have prepared my mind for the new ideas at play these days in ecology and conservation.
I start with a description of my childhood friend Taya killing a tree. Read the post here.
“It puzzles me that the many large, now extinct mammals of the Pleistocene Epoch have nowhere near the legions of fans claimed by dinosaurs. Mammals win the popularity contests among existing animals, yet few children can rattle off the weights and dietary habits of the gargantuan North American ground sloth Megalonyx jeffersonii or Australia’s massive buck-toothed marsupial Diprotodon optatum. Stegosaurus gets all the love.
“One fanciful explanation is that we have an abiding guilt for having killed them all off in our spear-hurling days. And it seems likely that human hunting played some part in many of these extinctions. In Once and Future Giants, biologist and journalist Sharon Levy lays out the evidence for this theory — and explores what this species drain can teach us now. The patterns and consequences of the Pleistocene die-offs can help us to predict how landscapes will change if we lose big mammals, and help us to spot warning signs of impending extinctions.”
Read more about Levy’s new book on extinct megafauna here.
When the Killing’s Done centers around a real campaign to remove exotic species from California’s Channel Islands. I review the book here.
This is my second Nature story this year to run with a picture of the Channel Island fox. I also talked about the handsome creature in this online story about how network models might help conservationists prevent extinction cascades…by removing key species at key time points. Counter-intuitive but compelling stuff.
A Nature feature from July 2009.
A feature in Nature from February 2009.
A tragicomic memoir for Wired Magazine (May 2008). My dad was an excellent sport about it, by the way.