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Insisting on Truth – Bhopal and Beyond

“I cut all the pictures out of my textbook…they were so…” My friend Anu doesn’t finish her thought. She doesn’t have to. I know the words that she can use, but they will never fully articulate the horrific, gruesome, tragic images depicting the event of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, considered by many to be the…

Vanishing Act: The Disappearance of Refugee Aid in Belgrade

Of the 6,400 migrants currently in Serbia, over 1,000 are homeless. As winter arrives to the country’s capital, refugee aid is quietly removed from public spaces and these vulnerable migrants must find new ways to survive…

Penang: An unexpected biodiversity destination

Mention that you are heading to Penang and you are inevitably met with the same question: “Penang? Like the curry?” You are forced to face the collective ignorance of your community when you realize that you, your friends, your family, and the guy who talked you into taking a middle seat on a transcontinental flight…

Challenging Perceptions, Part 2

Joburg doesn’t have a stellar reputation, but people like Michael Luptak and the organization he co-founded, Dlala Nje, are trying to change that. The following podcast is a (brief) look at their story.

This Is What a Climate-smart Farm Looks Like 

How One Kenyan Farmer Went From ‘Nothing’ to the Envy of the Neighborhood

Seeds of our Futures, Seeds of our Past

Dear Educators, I hope this message finds you well. I want to thank you for the work you are doing — sharing your knowledge and unyielding energy with your students. You are changing the world. And the world is changing quite a bit around us. While many of us had the opportunity last week to voice…

At a Serbian Salaš, Tradition is Always On The Menu

Most tourists visiting Serbia, if they manage to make it out of Belgrade at all, will likely only see a handful of the country’s other popular cities. Most tourists are missing out. For travelers seeking an experience away from the city lights, Vojvodina’s many salaš destinations offer a quiet escape, and hearty meals, amidst rich…

Tallest trees in the tropics discovered

From a freezing hotel ballroom in Kota Kinabalu, an exciting announcement was made about the sweltering tropical forests in the Heart of Borneo, in an area on the interior of Southeast Asia that straddles the borders of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Using laser-scanning technology known as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), Greg Asner of Stanford University and the…

Where I Was When I Heard the News

My surreal experience of Donald Trump’s election, far away from America When Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, I was sitting in a tin-roofed, dirt-floored cafe on the shore of Lake Victoria, in a bustling Kenyan fishing village called Usenge, waiting for a ferry and watching the sun rise. It should…

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.      

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

I wonder what’s up there?

Five years ago I met an anteater that changed my life. As a first-year grad student, I was in the midst of my academic identity crisis trying to figure out what exactly I was going to study. I joined a team of researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to survey wildlife in…