Monthly Archives: March 2011


Tragic waste: some thoughts on the s-word

Michael Pollan notes in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Mealsthat industrial agriculture has taken an elegant solution—crops feed animals, whose manure in turn fertilizes crops—and “divide[d] it into two new problems: a fertility problem on the farm… … Continue reading

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March Madness: mountain laurels, plastic ducks, and ‘roid rage

Jeff Meikle), the changing definition of childhood, the history of American environmentalism, and more. He writes well and often amusingly, but the overall message of his book is dire: we are almost literally drowning in waste, and we don’t really … Continue reading

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Lenten reflections: dead trees, bafflement, and submission

Fittingly, this Ash Wednesday began with a vigorous north wind, the kind that knocks dead branches out of trees and can make you a little leery about walking outdoors. It blew me back to the moment that I first got … Continue reading

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Maps and mobility: living in, not on, the land

I was surprised, while reading Rebecca Solnit’s fascinating Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, to realize that I probably know substantially more about the history of Texas than I do about the history of my native San Francisco. Of course, … Continue reading

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