October 4, 2014

A Sanctuary in the Last Crevice of the Cold War: The Natural Oasis of the Korean De-Militarized Zone

I am traveling in the northernmost reaches of South Korea, along the DMZ, and a friend has given me a kind of special task: To visit the area he worked in as a young Lieutenant after entering the army in 1964 for what would become a long and fruitful career. The area was given an American code name, Spoonbill, and the Internet has told me it isn't too far east of the Visitors area of the DMZ. I find myself, after waking up in a Love Motel, which seem to exist almost everywhere in South Korea that you could possibly need a room at good rates, chatting with a group of South Korean soldiers manning a checkpoint on a bridge over the Imjin River at Jangpa-Ri...

March 29, 2014

A Trip on a Dreamliner: The Tesla of the Skies, or is it the Chevy Volt?

I am writing from the economy plus section of a 787-8 Dreamliner (free upgrade because I begged for a window seat), someplace just east of Japan, and this is the second post I have written about it. Something about being on it has inspired me to revisit it, and there are things to be inspired by.

I have been traveling for months, looking for good stories, and most of the stories I have found are more loaded with Fear than Hope. I am seeing a lot of Environmental Alamo's in the Third World, but coming back to the first world, you see that something is happening.. that people are getting the picture, and that action is being taken so our worst fears are not realized environmentally, in part because unlike in the tropics, the volatility of the weather is serving as a huge wake up call to anyone who isn't trying to ignore things. In the tropics, as with a lot of places, the weather is either creating more intense storms, or longer periods of dry clear weather from what I am reading and seeing, and this is something that people can shrug off aside from the storms, but the temperates are not so lucky. I skipped a winter in the northeast United States that was like a winter I did experience in Florida a few years back, the winter of 2009-'10 where every few days a new storm whipped by, the jet stream acted erratic, and record cold temperatures were set. In Alaska and the west, things were warm and dry, and although not as numbing to the soul, everyone could tell something was wrong.

February 1, 2014

The Cutest Things on Earth: The Recovery of the Eastern Pacific Sea Otter

There are times where nature astounds with it's power, with it's grandeur, with it's scale and intricacy. Think storms, sweeping vistas, the size of the Pacific or so many impressive landscapes, and the beauty of a butterfly wing or a banana leaf if you stare close enough. Now you might not expect Grumpy to think this way, but sometimes it astounds in it's cuteness! If Walt Disney or Walter Lantz had tried to come up with the cutest damn thing they could dream up, I am not sure it could come close to a few of Natures more compelling creations, passing perhaps the puppy, kitten, Shamu, Cambodians, baby pandas and seals in the fuzzy whiskery big eyed charmer category, and to make it funnier, what if perhaps the cutest creature ever had the personality of a grumpy drunk or combative crack head, something Dave Chappelle would love to take on...and that personality only made it all the more Daffy Duck lovable. Now throw on an environmental survival story that is really one for the books, a story with bad guys, exotic intrigues and a final surprise so fascinating that you are surprised more people don't know about it...