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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Book Review: Phoenix Zones by Hope Ferdowsian

Phoenix Zones: Where Strength Is Born and Resilience Lives by Hope Ferdowsian, MD, is among the many compassionate, powerful, inspiring books the world needs now. This slender book about trauma and healing portrays the lives of human and nonhuman animals from myriad parts of the world, examining the ways in which suffering—and healing—is universal across  borders …

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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 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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Book Review: Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics

A decade ago, not long after moving to Oregon, I traveled to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park where I entered an old-growth coast redwood forest for the first time. To say it was a moving experience is an understatement. The photographs I took were also an understatement; no picture can capture the enormity of these …

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Review: Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country

Funny how a word can change on you. When I moved to Oregon nearly a decade ago, I first heard about the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about the Steens mountain range, and the diversity of bird species that migrate through this region. Back then, Malheur meant wilderness. But in 2016, after group of armed men …

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Braiding Sweetgrass: Finding a way through environmental despair

At the ASLE conference earlier this summer I heard this book referenced in a number of sessions. And now, having read it, I realize why. Braiding Sweetgrass is a rich collection of essays about plants and animals, indigenous and scientific awareness, and our tenuous relationship with nature. But more than that, it is the story …

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