2023: A Case for Optimism

The beginning of a new year often makes people philosophical, thinking about what has or hasn't worked the year before and what they resolve to improve. Most of this is positive, at least for me. Lately, though, and I imagine also for many, it's getting easier to let those thoughts become tinged with concern for... Continue Reading →

De-Extinction in Your Backyard Laboratory

I’ve been reading a lot lately about de-extinction. Quaggas, Passenger Pigeons, the Thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger - in fact neither a tiger, nor specifically Tasmanian). Not remotely smacking of necromancy, smart geneticists are working diligently to bring these and other species back from the afterlife. In doing so, they expect not only to resurrect the... Continue Reading →

A Little World Within Itself: My First Voyage to the The Galápagos

In 1835, Charles Darwin wrote these worlds in the Voyage of the Beagle: “The archipelago is a little world within itself, or rather a satellite attached to America, whence it has derived a few stray colonists, and has received the general character of its indigenous population.” Chapter XVII: "Galapagos Archipelago" (second edition, 1845), entry for... Continue Reading →

Jackson Wild, CITES & UNDP – Raising the Profile of Wildlife in Peril

Mother and baby lion-tailed macaque. Image: Nagaraj Papanna 2017 A mother lion-tailed macaque cradles her baby against her, undisturbed by the camera crew in close proximity. Polar bears trudge across sludgy ice floes to find ringed seals in winter. A herd of pronghorn antelope bounds across the screen and condors fly high over herds of... Continue Reading →

Earth Systems on Vacation

Cormorants and Pelicans at 2nd Street Pier, Myrtle Beach SC. Image: Eric Dorfman 2021. As I write this, I’m sitting by the side of the Atlantic Ocean, winding up a 2021 Christmas holiday spent at the beach. It’s been a relaxing and tranquil time, looking out over that water, seasonably cold and silty brown, turbid... Continue Reading →

Coronavirus, Regenerative Agriculture and Renewable Energy

I've written recently about our pressing need to think globally about wet markets and the bushmeat trade. Aside from their devastating impact on wildlife, these practices are superhighways for diseases to enter the human population, with catastrophic effects to health and the global economy. While we're currently experiencing this with Covid-19, it's also been the... Continue Reading →

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