Viewing: ecology

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

Apr 9

April 9, 2017

Illustration for edition of the Brothers Grimm Fairytales, Albert Weisgerber, Germany, circa 1900.

Nature in the City

We seem to think that nature is absent here in the city, built as it is by human hands for human wants and needs, no other life forms invited to the party unless planted in a pot or kept on leash. Yet, despite the lack of invitation, our cities still teem with non-human life.

Posted in Modern Bestiary, Science

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

Aug 13

August 13, 2014

The Angry Sea, James McNeill Whistler, 1884.

In Praise of the Pacific

Staring out into the endless blue water of the Pacific can be both alluring and frightening, especially when I remember that humankind descended from ancient creatures who managed to survive and evolve in that salty, fluxing, fierce, and deep expanse.

Posted in Psychology, Science

Jul 9

July 9, 2014

Dung beetles, from Fabre's Book of Insects, Mrs. Rodolph Stawell, 1921.

Delving into Dirt: From Stardust to Soil

Dust, soil, earth, grime, silt, loam, muck, mud, gunk, filth, grit. The synonyms for dirt are many, and few carry a positive meaning. If something is dirty, it is in need of cleaning. If you’re dishing the dirt, then someone’s dark secrets are being aired. If you’re having dirty thoughts, please, keep them to yourself. But dusty, dirty, mucky material creates structure and contains nourishment, allowing life to flourish…

Posted in Science

May 2

May 2, 2014

Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, In the Province of Eiri Suruga, Katsushika Hokusaicirca, 1830

Air: Illuminating the Invisible

Air is most often described as “empty”, as if because this sea of elements cannot be seen by humans eyes there is nothing to see, no substance. But the very fact that you’re alive at this moment is proof that the air is not only far from empty, but is teeming with unseen life, microscopic particles, cosmic dust, chemicals, and elemental forces.

Posted in Science

Mar 16

March 16, 2014

Mom Gazes at Arizona Sunset, Jessie Huffaker, 2014

Reality is the Story We Tell Ourselves

Humankind has always created stories that seek to explain the meaning of existence and our species place within the community of life. Just peek into the world of mythology to witness the sheer variety of narratives cultures have created to make sense of life. Stories that explain what the world is, and how and why it came to be, create the very lens through which a person perceives the world, and it ultimately constructs their reality.

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