A small community lies high in the mountains in a state we’ll leave unnamed. Until last year, it had an economy based on the all-too familiar story: Tourism in the high winter and summer months and second-home owners. Healthy hay farms and orchards completed the mix with the farms, in particular, setting a high standard: geometric fields, freshly painted houses and well-maintained tools.
The weather folks said the low tonight is supposed to be 21 degrees below zero. The last six weeks have been tough like that. I bought a new stove for the yurt, but ordered the wrong pipe three different times. Again, I fall asleep staring at the tape that covers the hole in the wall where the stovepipe should be.
Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I lived in a small apartment in New Haven, Connecticut. I had a chair, a bed, a lamp and some books, and that was about it. I particularly lacked items for my kitchen, and I needed to eat, so I began searching for cooking utensils.
At the age of 18, Yvon Chouinard founded a small blacksmithing company that would later, almost by accident, grow into Patagonia, Inc., an innovative, environmentally conscious outdoor retailer. Yvon’s love of nature developed as a child and at the age of 14, while training to be a falconer, he began a momentously successful rock-climbing career that took him all over the world.
In un quarto di secolo di avventate prodezze, ho avuto talmente tante esperienze che mi hanno avvicinato alla morte che ho accettato il fatto che un giorno morirò anch'io. Non mi preoccupo troppo della faccenda. Tutte le forme di vita hanno un inizio e una fine – e lo stesso vale per ogni tipo di sforzo umano.
A un recente forum sulla sostenibilità aziendale, ho notato che tutte le presentazioni erano in qualche modo legate all'innovazione. Nuove tecnologie per energie rinnovabili, per un packaging più efficace, per ridurre i trasporti, per ridurre le sostanze tossiche, per ridurre l’utilizzo dell’acqua, per il riciclaggio di materiali.
China’s Pearl River runs black from indigo dye discharged by denim factories in Xintang, Guangzhou – the “Blue Jeans Capital of the World.” A satellite photo from a well-known environmental group shows it quite clearly. The wastewater from dyeing 200 million pairs of blue jeans a year flows mostly untreated from the denim factories into the river.
In 1871, on his first walk into Hetch Hetchy Valley, John Muir was struck, as all visitors after him would be, by its uncanny resemblance to Yosemite. Both valleys, Muir noted, run generally east to west, with a northward bend in the middle. At Hetch Hetchy’s western end stand massive spires resembling the Cathedral Rocks of Yosemite.
It’s that special time of year: chestnuts roasting on an open fire, festive lights, family and friends ... plus shop-’til-you drop stress, billions in credit-card debt and 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bags sent to the dump.
“It’s hot!” As I slog my way up another step, sunscreen drips down my forehead and stings my eyes. I’m battling my skins, which keep sliding backwards as I focus on staying upright. The snow beneath my skis is slicker by the minute. The sun and the snow fuse in radiating heat waves.
When I began considering dam removal, the Elwha River quickly emerged at the top of my list. The river flows through the heart of Olympic National Park. It once hosted the most prolific salmon runs in the Northwest. And the tiny amount of electricity from the dams could easily be replaced from other sources.
Within minutes of the Edwards Dam removal in 1999, Nate Gray, a Maine Department of Marine Resources scientist, could see fish trying to get through the breach. They were shad, now able to travel up the Kennebec River for the first time in 162 years.
Thomas O’Keefe, American Whitewater’s Pacific Northwest stewardship director, stood on the banks of the White Salmon River in Washington State. The scheduled explosion was running late. As Tom looked downstream, he could see what was left of the river after 100 years – shallow pools of water starved of sediment for the past century.
Rebecca Miles and her family grew up harvesting their own food in North Central Idaho. They weren’t back-to-the-landers or urban DIYers. They were members of the Nez Perce tribe, where self-reliance and stewardship have been passed down for generations.
Matilija Coalition founder Paul Jenkin’s quest to tear down a dam began not on a river, but on the beach at Surfer’s Point in Ventura, California, where ocean waves threatened to devour a new bike path, and talk of building a half-mile seawall to protect it was growing louder.
While we believe that actions usually speak louder than words, we also value the power of story telling and the clarity and intimacy that good environmental writing can bring to our community. Our environmental feature stories are such testaments, reflections, rants and raves. Colleagues, activists and friends are here, lending their voices to our stubborn and ongoing work for wilderness preservation.