Reflection on the anthropocene

P1020871-768x1024I recently wrote a short reflective piece on the anthropocene, prompted by an encounter with an albatross.

“As we approached this beautiful Laysan albatross nesting on the north shore of the island of Kaua’i, he stood to greet us.* He may have been proud of his egg and wanting to show it to us, but it is perhaps more likely that he was familiar with the routine of human visitors and knew that if he didn’t stand someone would soon start fishing around underneath him to check his leg band and inspect his egg. Wanting to get it over and done with, I suspect, he stood as we approached – just long enough for me to snap this photo – and then settled back down on his egg as we passed.”

Read the rest here.

The last snail: conservation and extinction in Hawai’i

As I stood in the presence of this individual, the last of a species, I was reminded of how incredibly ill equipped we are as a culture to make sense of the immensity of the loss that is extinction.
Continue reading The last snail: conservation and extinction in Hawai’i

Living with crows

Conservation in haunted landscapes: In 2002 the last free living Hawaiian crow died. As of this time, the only surviving members/participants of this species have been required to live their lives in captivity, subjects of a long running captive breeding program. While it is hoped that one day soon they will be able to be released back into the forests of Hawaii’s Big Island, before that can happen there is much that needs to be done.

Continue reading Living with crows

Science can’t do it alone: the environment needs humanities too

Here’s a (belated) link to a short piece that I wrote for The Conversation in early October 2012.

The piece is about the emergence of the Environmental Humanities as an interdisciplinary field of scholarship, and the importance of humanities and social science research in deepening our knowledge of, and grappling with, environmental issues.

Albatross, plastic and the undoing of generations

In the middle of the North Pacific Ocean, at the far north west end of the Hawaiian Archipelago, lie a few tiny coral and sand islands encircled by a small reef. These little patches of dry land in the midst of a vast expanse of water and sky are Midway Atoll.
Continue reading Albatross, plastic and the undoing of generations