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Category archives for Cultures

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…

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…

The Lost History of South Africa

The strange creature is half antelope and half bird. Painted in jet black, frozen in flight on the wall, the animal has the hind legs and tail of a buck, and the magnificent wings of a raven that spread out from its shoulders. Above the flying figure, a long scaly reptile with crocodile-like ridges stretches…

The Wild Space of the Skyrian Horse

I sleep on the sun-warmed roof of  the house. As I wake periodically through the night, gently and instinctively awoken by rustling, I notice the moon’s progress across the sky. For the first time I am fully aware of how the night sky changes overhead, the simple revelation of something I already know: the planet…

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…

Giant Underwater Cave Was Hiding Oldest Human Skeleton in the Americas

In a pitch black, 140-foot-deep underwater cave, three divers make a stunning 13,000-year-old discovery: the oldest complete human skeleton ever found in the Americas. In this video, see the ancient remains, venture through the remarkable deep-water chamber, and see how a skeleton belonging to a teenage girl from the last ice age lead scientists to a major revelation about the earliest Americans.

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…

Celebrating Mexican Cuisine from Maya Forest to Chef’s Plate

By Rane Cortéz, Chief of Party, Mexico REDD+ Program, The Nature Conservancy “You said this was only nine kilometers?” I asked our guide as we emerged from the steamy Mayan jungle into the late afternoon sun. “Nine kilometers through the forest. Now we just have to ride back to the village—but it’s on the road,…

Ross Sea MPA creation means the last pristine place in the ocean is finally protected

The pursuit to establish a marine protected area in Antarctica brought me to the Ross Sea four times. It brought my wife, and eventually my daughter, whom we named after a penguin. – John Weller

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…