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Category archives for Cultures

In Jakarta, a Piece of Paradise in Every Home.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Walking into Banteng Square one Sunday morning in December, music from a sea of songbirds filled the air. All along the pathways, under every tree, and lounging in the grass, were men and their birds. It was lovely, odd, and soon to be unsettling. Birdsong soon gave way to the yells and screams of men.…

The Cowboy Trade Builds a Bridge of Friendship Between a Russian and an American

Yury Rybakov hadn’t ridden a horse before. Nor had he herded cattle or thrown a lariat. But he had the cowboy bug and wanted me to teach him a thing or two. I was spending the week on Angus Shestakovo Ranch, where Yury worked. I agreed to help, but warned that learning the cowboy trade doesn’t happen overnight.…

Uncharted Arctic waters: A new opportunity for exploitation, or conservation?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When thick sheets of sea ice began melting in the Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway, a few years ago, a new expanse of sparkling blue sea opened up. As climate change continues to drive ice melt here on the previously untouched waters of the North Barents Sea, what many ocean conservationists…

The Recovery of Tromelin Island

Islands can have strange histories but few are more obscure than that of Tromelin Island of the Îles Éparses in the Western Indian Ocean.

Living on a Tropical Island—and an Asbestos Wasteland

BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. It’s in the field where people plant cassava. Broken pieces of asbestos sheeting litter the ground, and children use them to make toys and skateboards. All of this in an environment already littered with scrap metal, industrial waste, and oil…

Putting TED2016’s Biggest Ideas to Work for Archaeology

The cross-pollination of ideas that happens at TED is priceless, and as the recipient of this year’s TED Prize, several talks inspired new ideas about my own big project.

Quick Take: Nature Protects People

By Kathy Baughman McLeod, Managing Director, Coastal Risk & Resilience, The Nature Conservancy This week, I’m in South Florida with partners from local government, the private sector and the international community to highlight the vital role that nature plays in protecting people in Miami-Dade County and coastal communities around the world. Miami-Dade is one of…

Russian Cowboys Learn to Ride Western

American cowboy Shane Stotler points out his truck window at a herd of cattle just cresting a hill on the horizon. Normally, he’d be out there riding with the Russian workers he’s been hired to train by Miratorg, Russia’s largest cattle operation. Instead, he’s waited for me at ranch headquarters so we can drive out…

Notes from the Field: Reporting on ‘Island Time’

After three dizzying days at sea, I was relieved to step off the boat in Tarawa, Kiribati. I’d just spent six weeks on the remote Pacific island of Banaba–a place so isolated that currently there is no phone, internet, or mail service. Being off the grid for more than a month was difficult for me,…

Community-Supported Fisheries: A better way to buy fish?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino It’s about five o’clock on an unusually warm Wednesday evening when I’m driving back home from a friend’s house a few towns over. When I’m nearly home, I pass a particularly pretty strip of beaches and marinas somewhere on Long Island’s North Shore. Some combination of the salty ocean breeze, softly…

Sumatra’s Orang-utans: Chocolate’s Road to Freedom

We arrive at the release site and head straight over to see Chocolate who has been in a holding cage for two weeks now, and is fully recovered from the arduous overland trek to get here. I couldn’t believe how confident he had become.

So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?

The latest in the Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Series, in which Kike profiles interesting information, research and thoughts on using drones, UAVs and remotely piloted vehicles for journalism and photography.     The combination of light (photo), drawings (gram) and measurements (metry) are known as photogrammetry. Until recently, photogrammetry was a very specific niche within the…

Climate, Movement, and the Spread of Disease

“Diseases track human migrations all throughout history,” says Amy Winter. What will that mean as people move to adapt to the changing climate?

Marshall Islanders Reflect On A Dark Legacy of Nuclear Testing

The Republic of the Marshall Islands have been making ripples in global news lately. Fresh off a strong gathering at COP 21 in Paris, where the Honorable Tony de Brum (ex. Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Marshall Islands) rallied with other global leaders to advocate for more stringent policies for combating climate change, the…

“A House Without Snakes” Premieres at Top Documentary Film Festival

It’s been more than two years since I drafted my application for the Fulbright-National Geographic Fellowship. I remember how a friend told me about the application a week or two before it was due, and I submitted everything in a last-minute frenzy of writing. Little did I know that I would actually receive the fellowship…