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Category: Thoughts (page 1 of 2)

Commonplace

Ecotrust, the Portland-based non-profit who have advanced several innovative conservation tools and methodologies over the years, have released a new online magazine, Commonplace.  Commonplace is described as, “a new online and mobile magazine focused on stories from home.”  Particularly if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you will likely find Commonplace worth a look.  The first issue focuses on the sensitive Skeena River basin of British Columbia, currently the focus of the Northern Gateway Project, which would convey tar-sands oil by tanker through the region to the Pacific.

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A Bit of Inspiration

As an avid follower of Rohan Anderson’s Whole Larder Love, I have read his story and understood his motivation for engaging in a lifestyle in which he grows, forages, and locally sources food for himself and his family.  I intellectually grasped his passion and ethos in his approach to a lifestyle that embraces the simplicity and integrity of sourcing one’s own food.  But last night at Portland’s Ned Ludd, Jason from Applied Observation and I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Rohan himself, as well as hear him tell his story in person.  The man has an energy, generosity, and purpose that is difficult to explain and probably impossible to fully grasp unless you meet him in person.  I left the event with a feeling of inspiration that I haven’t experienced in awhile, and I encourage anyone who lives near an upcoming WLL event venue to go meet and chat with Ro yourself.  I took a couple of pics during the evening, but admittedly they were an afterthought on account of the great food (prepared by Ned Ludd from recipes in WLL), introductions, and conversation that accompanied the evening.

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Spring

This past week has been a whirlwind.  I have enjoyed spring break and the beautiful Northwest weather, which came with a puppy…

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We are going to call this little guy Henry.  It just seems to fit, although part of the inspiration for the name (Henry David Thoreau) does not match perfectly at this juncture.  Henry is happily, playfully violent much of the day.  His capacity to be redirected to spare wood in the yard is a work in progress.  He is a shot in the arm, and a breath of fresh air.  And a pain in the  ass.  All at once.  You know what I am talking about.

My adventures in the large, extended National Forest backyard will experience an interruption with the resumption of school.  But the weather demanded a trip to some falls along the Clackamas.  A much needed hike on a brilliant Oregon day.

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We have a chicken coop to fill as well, although this particular structure is likely to be filled with ducks, specifically Khaki Campbells.  I love my ducks…I went to U of O after all.  I was a Duck before I was a Beaver.  Duck eggs are incredible.  If you haven’t tried them, I suggest doing so.  Chicken eggs are literally pale in comparison.

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Graduate school continues.  A sense of irony fills my mind as I contemplate pursuing an online program in pursuit of a Master of Natural Resources.  I am nearly halfway there, and I am thankful to be able to pursue such a degree remotely, but I am in front of a computer quite a lot these days.  I don’t smell like a campfire nearly enough.  Outdoor distractions welcome.

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NPR Remembers Aldo Leopold

NPR ran a nice little story yesterday about perhaps the greatest conservationist in U.S. history, Aldo Leopold.  Have a listen, here.

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now, we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” — A Sand County Almanac

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Bear Country

“While we’re out there, I remember something Andrea said to me in the car, about why Yellowstone is so powerful. ‘Doug’s theory is that the element of risk is what’s important. It’s what makes wilderness wild.’ We’re so quiet I can hear my own quick, scared, rabbity breaths, and as I revel in my own fear I realize they’re right.”

Having lived in Wyoming for the first 18 years of my life, I came to understand the proximity to danger in the wild…rattle snakes, bears, the occasional moose charge.  The concept of “the wild” in Wyoming is very interesting…it is, indisputably, why many people choose to live there, particularly near Yellowstone, about 60 miles from which I was born.

Grizzly bears, for example, have a different status than wolves, to many Wyoming residents.  Some say it is because wolves “kill for sport.”  Or “they are pure evil”.  Something about wolves, and their proximity to the places we choose to live (in the “wild” areas), sets people off in a different way than grizzlies.

Federal vs. state management, ranching (economics), and personal political persuasions regarding both come into play in force when faced with situations both particular and abstract when it comes to the wild.  But I think the simple question is always the same and always relevant…do you want to live in a world that has some wild left?  Or not?

This article from Slate lays out a brilliant case regarding grizzlies in Yellowstone.  It is long, but a must read for those interested in National Parks and management concerns.


Photograph: James Yule

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