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Category archives for Cultures

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.      

Nearly Crushed By a Flipping Iceberg

Frozen in time, Franz Josef Land is one of the last lingering remnants of the truly wild Arctic. The remote and nearly uninhabited 192-island archipelago is renowned for its biodiversity, which includes polar bears, walruses, bowhead whales, belugas, and narwhals. The intensifying impact of climate change, however, nearly turned this serene environment deadly for National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala and his crew.

The legend of Babakoto

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to the rainforests of Andasibe, Madagascar, and learns the legend of Babakoto…the indri lemur.

Anja on fire

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to Anja, Madagascar, to record wild soundscapes. While there he finds a community grappling with how to balance protecting nature with making a living.

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…

Solving Humanity’s Grand Challenges Requires a Healthy Ocean

Human well-being and human rights are inextricably tied to the health of the ocean, yet ocean conservation work is often isolated. Last month, as the United National General Assembly focused on tackling the grand challenges represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both the ocean goal (aka Goal 14, “Life Under Water”) and me, as…

World body that could protect elephants—decides not to

Acutely, an elephant’s problem is ivory. Chronically the problem is shrinking space. Rich or poor, humans seem too much of a good thing. One wonders where this trend of growing human numbers and appetites, afflicting elephants and humans alike, is headed.

Keeping peace with predators can cut livestock deaths

When predator animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolves attack livestock animals like goats, cows and horses, you need to kill off the predators to reduce livestock deaths, right? Wrong.

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.

Our Seed Stories – a Participatory Educational Media Project this School Year

Join me this school year on my journey to India to learn about seed saving, community food systems, and how to cultivate a future for biodiversity!

A Sherlock-Worthy Look at an Ancient Horse Mummy

Tiny marks and deformations reveal clues to the ancient cultures that rode these plains for millennia.

The Last Ice: Stories From Sacred Spaces

From Pacific islands to Arctic coastlines, indigenous people have been listening to and learning from the environment for millennia. Now more than ever, it’s time for everyone to hear what it’s saying.

Life in an Indian Village Through the Eyes of a Child

Evidently, even if you’re from a rural village in the Eastern Himalaya, candy is still the treat of choice for a little girl.

To save African elephants, scientists say ivory sales must stop

While that “regulated” ivory sale idea might sound nice on paper, experts say it has now been officially debunked.

How Climate Change Is Fueling a Food Crisis in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria

The frontline of global warming is on farms. But the story is about much more than hunger. The village of Nowcaca is nestled in the verdant hills of northwestern Mozambique, some 600 miles north of the coastal capital Maputo. A footpath winds through a sea of shoulder-high grasses, leading from a two-lane highway back to…