New environmental journal: Ecocene

Always nice to see the emergence of a new environmental publication. This one is called Ecocene and is published by the Cappadocia University Environmental Humanities Center. The inaugural issue is free to download — see below: The idea with our first special issue is to inaugurate not just the journal but the kind of key …

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St. Louis Blues: The Broken Heart of America

The cover of The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson features a nearly complete St. Louis Arch, known as the Gateway to the West. It was completed about six years before my family moved to St. Louis and my memories of it consist of squeezing into an egg-shaped elevator and tilting our way up …

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Writing for deer; writing for animals

Summer in Ashland, Oregon, means fawns following their mothers through the streets of our small town. The local deer are, sadly, a contentious issue. Many residents resent their appetites for rose bushes and other flora. Others have accused deer of assault (typically a mother deer’s instinct to protect her fawn). But a major reason we …

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New writing opportunity: The Moth Nature Writing Prize

This is exciting! The Moth Magazine has announced its inaugural Moth Nature Writing Prize, featuring Richard Mabey as judge: The Prize will be awarded to an unpublished piece of writing – prose fiction, non-fiction or poetry – which best combines exceptional literary merit with an exploration of the writer’s relationship with the natural world. The …

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Learning to love weeds: Beyond the War on Invasive Species

Dandelions. Bull thistle. Kudzu. Japanese knotweed. Himalayan blackberry. From front lawns to woodlands, these are among the most despised of plant species. Species that, we are told, are hell-bent on taking over every square inch of soil, crowding out native species, ruining ecosystems, giving gardeners ulcers. But what if everything we know about weeds is …

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Review: In The Art of Earth Architecture everything old is new again

As an architectural enthusiast, I have long admired Louis Khan. When I first visited San Diego years ago, I made sure to visit The Salk Institute. To see how concrete was used as both structure and frame, guiding my eyes toward the ocean. Kahn inspired me to dream about one day building a home made …

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Bird by Word: Two reviews of American Birds: A Literary Companion

As I finished reading American Birds: A Literary Companion I realized that there were two reviews I could write: the “typical American birder” review and the “atypical vegan birder” review. And that, in the end, I needed to write both reviews. Let’s begin with the “typical American birder” review. In this review, I admire the …

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In Floating Coast, stories of survival, sadness and madness

The Bering Strait is probably best known these days for the 50-mile thin stretch of Pacific Ocean that separates Russia from the United States. But it is also one of the most ecologically abundant waters in the world, attracting whales and seabirds from around the world. As well as people who come to hunt these …

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In Animal City our painful past is still painfully present

If I asked you to picture a “cow town,” you would probably picture a small town, surrounded by pasture, set far away from the big city. Yet in the 1800s, cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco were also cow towns. It was not unusual to see herds of cows squeezed through downtown streets, …

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