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In Good Standing at Standing Rock

I came to learn. About strength of ceremony, compassion and community, and power of peaceful resistance.

Our pledge to you: We will stand up for the ocean – and that means standing up for science

During this bruising presidential campaign, there was an eerie sense that we had moved into a post-truth world, with fake news circulating on Facebook and the veracity of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump continually called into question. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries just declared “post-truth” its 2016 international Word of the Year. But for me personally, facts…

Using Technology to Combat Wildlife Crime

“Wildlife rangers now have the help they’ve desperately needed.” says Colby Loucks, WWF’s wildlife crime technology lead. “This groundbreaking technology allows them to search for poachers 24 hours a day, from up to a mile away, in pitch darkness. It’s upping the game in our fight to stop wildlife crime across the region.”

All Plants Are Medicine; We Just Need To (re)Learn How

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Jeetpal Negi, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Negi bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his…

Lessons learned in tropical tree climbing

Oh yeah, I forgot about that… The beginning of any field study includes at least a few remedial lessons. For weeks before I start climbing, I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic that I have forgotten all my knots. I look over old gear lists trying to figure out what…

Challenging Perceptions: Part 1

Here’s a screenshot my friend sent me before I arrived in Joburg. It sums up what I had heard a few times about the city:  There’s some truth to the narrative that Johannesburg is unsafe. The fences struck me right away. Nearly every house has a fence around it, most topped by barbed (and sometimes…

Saving Rice in Pictures

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      

What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Identity in Serbia and Croatia

There I was: thousands of miles from home, with a total of zero English-speaking relatives, trying to connect with the place where my family originated from… only to find out that I wasn’t even in the right country!

Of course, to anyone familiar with the Balkans, and especially former-Yugoslavia, this story is a common one. Identifying as Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, or Montenegrin may actually have nothing to do with where you grew up. Or where your parents grew up. Or where your grandparents came from originally.

Surveying Canopy Wildlife: A Brief Look at Looking Up

There is more to come in the way of introductions, but here is a quick first look at my project, Looking Up: A Canopy Wildlife Expedition. Throughout the year, I’ll be conducting wildlife surveys in forest canopies of Malaysia and Ecuador. As a scientist, I’m excited to expand my work to new research sites. Camera trapping…

Recent Books Recount Horror of 1928 Lake Okeechobee Hurricane (Part 2)

Eighty-eight years ago, a savage hurricane tore across the Caribbean, killing thousands. Its winds probably reached 160 mph at times. The storm turned and crossed the Bahamas before smashing ashore at West Palm Beach, Florida on September 16-17, 1928. It tore across the Everglades to giant, shallow Lake Okeechobee, where uncounted thousands of migrant workers…

National Geographic Footage Lost at Sea for 3 Years Has Returned Home

In April 2013, two 150 lb. National Geographic Cameras were sucked into the Gulf Stream. Three years and a couple thousand miles later, a tiny dog named Scuba alerted her owner to something she noticed floating in the water. One of the cameras, and all of its footage, had been found.

Prison No Place for Our Dying Species

But on this day, I am on a very different assignment. There is no freedom here, and for the whale shark that swims past me at speed, there is no escape either. This is a marine pen, housing two young sharks, on a small island in the Maluku Sea, Indonesia.

Close Encounter with a Polar Bear

After photographer Cory Richards joined the Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, he spent over a month trying to capture an image of a polar bear from a relatively close distance. On his final attempt, a teammate launched a remote-controlled quadcopter, or drone, and the polar bear ended up right where they wanted him.

Fighting Dynamite With Marine Protection in Borneo

This is the devastation left by blast fishing also called fish bombing, an illegal but rampant form of fishing here in the Coral Triangle. In the practice, a fisherman tosses dynamite, or homemade bombs made from a bottle filled with fertilizer and kerosene lit by a short fuse into the water. The blast kills or stuns all fish within the vicinity, which are easily collected for market. Dangerous to the reef, this method also maims and kills fishermen, and it is not uncommon to see men with fingers or hands missing. What is left behind is a wasteland of flattened coral rubble that can take decades or even centuries to recover.

The Arctic Is Changing … Or Is It?

While the world is captivated by the environmental changes in the far north, the people who live there are eager for changes of another kind.