Chasing Nature: The Making of A World Alive

Nature is both pervasive and elusive. It surrounds us, and in subtle and integral ways enriches our lives. But to capture those ways, to communicate the relationships between plants, animals, and their environments, is a profound challenge for the filmmaker. Nature doesn’t wait, pose, or follow scripts. It is as unpredictable and confounding as it is exhilarating. As an art form, natural history cinematography is unique because of the problems and opportunities it creates. In … more

Connections and Celebrations

Why was I here? What was the connection? It was early afternoon on January 26, 1996, Superbowl Saturday, the day of the Santa Barbara Polar Bear. Here was East Beach, Santa Barbara, generally one of the most spectacular beach volleyball locales on the planet. But today, for the Polar Bear, it was wet – not overcast, or drizzly, or misty like a summer fog. It was raining, steady and cold, and I was one of … more

Interpreting Hope, Selling Conservation: The Role of Zoos and Aquariums in Environmental Education

How do you convince people to develop a new relationship with the environment, change their lifestyles, and adopt a different set of values? These are the challenges of environmental education – the lessons beyond natural history and science. Zoos and aquariums- even herbaria and natural history museums – are beginning to recognize their special responsibility to meet these challenges, to broaden their missions beyond husbandry and exhibits, teach environmental stewardship, and engage in environmental politics. … more

The Moment*

Volleyball has always been more than merely a game for me, more than a matter of competition. But it starts there, the intensely personal experience of putting yourself up against yourself and up against someone else. Competition really is the measure of both things: how close you come to your ideals and how you rank relative to the rest of humanity. Whether you choose to compete more with one in mind than the other is … more

LandWatch Monterey County Needs You

Can the urbansprawl of San Jose or Los Angeles happen here? The increase in traffic. The rise in crime. The overcrowding of our schools. The air pollution. The relentless annexation of precious agricultural lands for low density urban uses? Well, consider this: in the next 22 years, Monterey County is projected to grow more than 40%, adding more than 160,000 people to today’s 340,000. Where will these people go? And what kind of communities await … more

Top 10 Monterey Experiences

Monterey is the best of the best that America has to offer. Unbelievable natural beauty meets amazing history. Science infuses art. And the cultural diversity of yesteryear mixes with contemporary times. It is a supernova melting pot: Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Italian fishermen of Cannery Row; Italian, Japanese, Mexican and Central American farmers, farm workers, and vintners of Salinas Valley; world class scientists, artists and educators; Big Sur bohemians; and tourists from all over the … more

Moving Beyond the Dam: A Multi-Project Approach to Solving the Peninsula’s Water Shortage

Cal-Am has lost roughly 70% of its rights to Carmel River water. We have a few more years to come up with alternatives to the water we have lost. If Cal-Am tries to build it independently, without low-interest municipal-bond funding, the costs (to say nothing of the public opposition) would be astronomical. Our water leadership studied the dam proposal in great detail, presented it to the people, and the people said no. The process worked. … more

Top 10 Santa Barbara Experiences

Santa Barbara is the California dream. I’ve been enjoying the city for over 40 years, having attended San Marcos high school in the 1970s, lived in Goleta in the 1980s after graduate school, and visited family and friends in the 1990s and 2000s. Here’s a list of my top 10 Santa Barbara experiences: East Beach volleyball, early morning runs, and sunsets. East Beach is one of the most magical beaches on the planet. It’s not … more

Timmy and Rocky, The Short and Long of It

The news stunned. To a parent, it was horrifying, unimaginable: Dear Ones: I can’t believe I must do this but I must. Tell you that our dear sweet Timmy left this world yesterday, April 25, 2010. Timmy took a hard fall off his skateboard in the wee hours of the morning in Capitola, returning home from a party the night before (but ever mindful not to drink and drive). He hit his head hard, lost … more