Viewing: ecocide

Jul 24

July 24, 2017

Sparrow with nest, Birds of Buzzard's Roost, William Watson Woollen, 1907.

Control Leads to Chaos: As Proven by Sparrows

“What is the nature of a species that knowingly and without good reason exterminates another? How long will man persist in the belief that he is the master of the Earth rather than one of its guests? When will he learn that he is but one form of life among countless thousands, each one of which is in some way related to and dependent on all others? How long can he survive if he does not?” George L. Small, The…

Posted in Science

Jul 6

July 6, 2017

A Sumerian Palace and the "A" cemetery at Kish, Mesopotamia, Ernest Mackay, 1929.

The First Civilization Discovers the Limits of Control

It must have seemed to the people of Sumer at it’s height that an end would never come, that so much power and progress couldn’t be brought down by something as simple as salty soil.

Posted in Sociology

Jun 19

June 19, 2017

Iron and Steel--Pittsburgh, Joseph Pennell, published in the International Studio, 1897.

Control Freaks: Humanity’s Bad Habit

I’ve been ruminating on control: rolling the word around my mouth, giving it a good chew, seeing what spills out. It feels like a master word for our species, one that explains so much of our destructive habits, our worst impulses.

Posted in Sociology

May 4

May 4, 2017

Illustration from My Fourth Tour in Western Australia, Albert Calvert, illustrated by Walker Hodgson, 1897.

Swallowed by Dust

Here’s the story of an entire desert town where people not only swallowed dust, they were swallowed by it.

Posted in Sociology

Mar 29

March 29, 2017

Squelette de chauve-souris, Émile Deyrolle (1838-1917)

A-Z Modern Bestiary: Behold the Bat

Usually we humans possess more warm and fuzzy feelings towards our fellow mammals than other forms of life, but bats have suffered a bad repute. Whether it’s their nocturnal lifestyle, or erratic flight movements, or leathery wings, or the stories of vampire bats, there are many people who are disgusted by the mere idea of bats.

Posted in Modern Bestiary

Mar 11

March 11, 2017

McConnel's whiskey ad

What Whiskey, Angels, and Ecology Share

In the world of whiskey distilling, after adolescent whiskey has been sealed in its oak cask to mature about 2% of the whiskey has vanished by the time it’s reopened. The truth that every whiskey maker knows is this: you must accept the loss of some quantity in order to gain in quality.

Posted in Sociology

May 6

May 6, 2015

Snow goose, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, Quebec, taken by Simon Pierre Barrette, 2010.

The Berkeley Pit: Murders Most Fowl

In all the annals of tragedy, the demise of one migrating flock of snow geese may seem of not much consequence, but our story exemplifies this universal truth: there is no waste, only a changing of form.

Posted in Science

May 1

May 1, 2015

Morning in a Pine Forest, Ivan Shishkin, 1889.

A-Z Modern Bestiary: Bears in the Balance

Bears are individuals with great curiosity and keen faculties, and they act for all sorts of reasons that we can only guess at. Ultimately, in the words of notable bear behaviorist Else Poulsen, “bears do things for bear reasons.”

Posted in Modern Bestiary

Apr 25

April 25, 2014

Waste Collects on the Shores of Timor-Leste, Martine Perret, UN Photo, 2008

Plastic Pollution: Time to Kick the Habit

Our smallest actions accumulate to create our society’s impact on the ecological world. In this way, the changes we make in our own individual lives matter greatly. Saying no to plastic, whether it be bags, bottles, toys, or containers, will ensure a healthier future for all of life.

Posted in Sociology

Feb 21

February 21, 2014

Rocky Mountain River, Jessie Huffaker, 2014

When Wolves Return the Waters are Changed

Human driven extermination of the wolves in the United States is a tragically poignant example of our society’s ignorance regarding the fragile balance of ecological communities, and especially how one single species can have a essential role in maintaining the entirety of the ecosystem’s health and diversity.

Posted in Science