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April 9, 2012
R.I.P. Peter B. Lord - 31-Metcalf06_117

Environment reporter Peter Lord died on April 4. I am grateful for the years I worked with him on the Advisory Board of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island. I will miss him. His newspaper, the Providence Journal, wrote...

March 30, 2012
A tribute to environmental writer Peter Lord - Metcalf 2007 w Rawson and Lord

My colleague and friend, Peter B. Lord, has been fighting brain cancer. He is only 60 years old and was working full-tilt at the Providence Journal last May when he had his first seizure. Brain tumors are like this. They come out of nowhere, it seems.

Pete deserves a tribute. And I wish I...

March 26, 2012

Median per-capita income* in the United States: $52,673

Mitt Romney’s income: 21.7 million in 2010. (He and his wife, Ann, donated 16 percent, about 3.5 million, of their income to charity.)

Former Senator...

March 16, 2012
The narrower, yet expanding, environment beat - scaled.Pleasure Beach water sky

When I look back on my first years covering the environment in the 1990s, it looks like a lost era of innocence.

When I began covering the environment beat for a daily newspaper, my focus was government enforcement and efforts to reverse damage.  The Clean Air Act of the first Bush...

March 13, 2012
The wilderness narrative - scaled.PrezziesfromBond

Wilderness essayists, flock to this contest, which I help to judge.

The Waterman Fund seeks the submission of essays about life in the mountains of the northeastern U.S. for its annual Waterman Fund Alpine Essay Contest.

Wildness! Are you finding it where you least expect? Did you...

February 21, 2012

Peter H. Gleick, an esteemed climate scientist whose specialty is water, admitted this week that he had pretended he was someone else to receive documents from the conservative Heartland Institute. He said in a...

January 20, 2012
Little House writing process, redux - (Laura ca 1917-1918) RWL-136

My heroine is Laura Ingalls Wilder. She's not the woman I thought she was. Still a great woman, but a much different one than I thought.

As I work through the drafts of my book on the literary collaboration between Laura and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, I realize that I am coming...

January 10, 2012
Shutting off the lights at work - Turn It Off

The courage to change should begin from the top—with the boss: Turn off the lights. Shut down the computer monitors. Print on both sides of the paper. Stop buying bottled water. Just acting different could cut energy use in offices by 4 to 75 percent, Shui Bin writes in a...

December 31, 2011

On Mount Washington, New Hampshire:

October 2011

Average monthly snowfall (1971-2000): 14 inches

Actual snowfall in October: 20.7


November 2011

Average monthly snowfall: 40.4

Actual snowfall: 18.6


December 2011:


December 28, 2011
What to do with the card I sent - scaled.Mattabesett Tr Asylum Res lowres

All the green gurus advise against sending holiday cards, but I sent two different ones out this season. I think that paper correspondence remains one of the great domestic arts. One of my cards was a 5-by-7-inch postcard thanking some of the people I worked with in 2011. It showed the above...

December 14, 2011

During this high-travel pre-holiday season, consider some surprising findings on the carbon footprint of traveling, courtesy of Matthew McDermott of Planet Green/TLC:

* For long distances, buses emit less carbon than trains. Trains still are pretty good choices, and as long as they aren...

November 15, 2011
Most Significant: How Long They Stayed - 1024px-Occupy_Wall_Street_Day_7_September_23_2011_Shankbone_3

What amazes me the most about the Occupy Wall Street protest is how long the city allowed it to go on peacefully. I guess I was cynical, believing that any day from September 16 on, the police would move in on Zuccotti Park, dispersing the camped protesters. But as the weeks dragged on, and the...

October 23, 2011
Top strange facts learned in Miami - Wading_IMG_7596

Low water flows—from Everglades National Park interpretor Alan Scott:

Water flow in the Everglades is only one-sixth what it used to be 100 years ago.

Development has halted water flow south of the gigantic Lake Okeechobee, which is supposed to feed the...

October 8, 2011
Rest stops close and cars clog mountain lots - scaled.MassPike closed rest stop

I drove up to New Hampshire's White Mountains on Saturday of Columbus Day weekend. At the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center in Crawford Notch, I gave a talk about why the trails in the Whites tend to go straight up the mountains. On the drive up I stopped at the rest stop in...

Nipmuck Trail Marathon - NIPMUCK Chris aid station

This shows me near the Nipmuck Trail crossing in Ashford, Connecticut, working at an aid station for runners. The race was the Nip Muck Marathon, as they call it. Inspiring as always. I did not get onto the trails as much as I normally do this year. But that will change. I'll be wearing the...

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