The publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 rattled the foundations of religious belief in every corner of the book-reading world. We know a good bit about the debates that ensued because they still flare up wherever there […]
Listening to the Forest
To start with a few words about myself, I am a conservationist serving the rainforests of the Western Ghats in India. It has been my lifelong inquiry to look at how a biome can recover from assault – from colonial-neocolonial-capitalistic-civilizational […]
The Gospel of Progress
Ever since the archaic divergence of humanity from other hominids, our systems of tools and symbols have developed at an accelerating pace. We depend less and less on the physical capacities of our bodies. We operate more and more in […]
Attending to the world
“Attention discourse” is my term for the proliferation of articles, essays, books, and op-eds about attention and distraction in the age of digital media. I don’t mean the label pejoratively. I’ve made my own contributions to the genre, in my […]
Collecting seeds to restore prairie grasslands
Laughter and the chirping of grasshoppers mingled on a mild August morning as several young women, members of the Aaniiih and Nakoda tribes, searched for sweetgrass, running vegetation through their fingers as they tried to determine whether they held satiny sweetgrass or […]
What did we lose when we lost the stars?
Reading Dante’s Divine Comedy poses any number of challenges to modern readers. This should not, I’ll quickly add, deter modern readers from the attempt, which, in my view anyway, will more than repay the effort. In any case, one of these challenges […]
Birdsong as a Compass
The booming call of the Pheasant Coucal is soft and rhythmic on a calm, springtime afternoon. I first noticed it in 2004, when I was eight years old. From the window of our old weatherboard house, I spotted the bird […]
Born to Buy?
With Christmas just behind us, household consumption has hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite the homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, the fact is that Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace or […]