Near the location of the future Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, a volunteer for the National Wildlife Federation carries a cardboard cutout of a mountain lion known as P-22. Photograph by Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Shutterstock
When we linked to earlier stories about mountain lions in urban California, P-22 was already the it-cat. And the story below, by Emily Witt, shares some anecdotes about P-22’s less fortunate wider family. But mainly it is about one hopeful initiative that P-22 seems to have unwittingly helped make happen:
Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala
Shawn Siepler, the founder of Clean the World, with used hotel soap before it will be recycled for those in need. Todd Anderson for The New York Times
Reusing things versus wasting them has been a major theme in these pages, especially in relation to travel and hospitality. Looking back at posts about washing hands for a cleaner world and then another about soap making for the same, it is not surprising we had already featured Clean The World in a couple earlier posts. Thanks to Victoria M. Walker for this conversation with the founder:
Meet Shawn Siepler, the founder of Clean the World. The nonprofit recycles partially used soap left behind from hotel guests for those in need.
When hotel or motel guests check into their rooms, they expect at the very least to be greeted with a clean space, a made-up bed and in the bathroom, soap.
But what happens when you leave that soap behind? Continue reading
We have featured articles about forests so many times for multiple reasons. Even when we hint that we do so just out of pure love, it is almost always about the value of forests to our future on the planet. As always, when a Yale e360 article can help illuminate further on a topic, here goes:
This map shows the height of forests worldwide. Taller forests typically store more carbon. NASA
Governments are increasingly looking to forests to draw down carbon pollution, but worsening droughts threaten to stunt tree growth, while larger wildfires and insect infestations risk decimating woodlands, two new studies show. Continue reading
The tree houses at Loire Valley Lodges are spread out throughout the forest and each is decorated by a different artist. Joann Pai for The New York Times
After several days of heavier fare, today’s recommended reading leans to the escapist:
Rethinking what the region’s travel should be has meant expanding the focus from fairy tale castle crawls to experiences anchored more firmly in nature, food and the arts.
The Loire Valley is a UNESCO Heritage-protected region, and drew in 9 million yearly visitors to its cultural sites before the pandemic. Joann Pai for The New York Times
On my last prepandemic trip to the Loire Valley, in 2018, I found myself in a familiar place.
Ten years after my first road trip on the region’s castle route, I was back at the 500-year-old Château de Chambord, joining a small group of European and American tourists on a guided tour. Within seconds of convening in the inner courtyard, we were craning our necks to marvel at the structure’s ornamental bell towers as our guide rattled off facts and dates about King Francis I and his former hunting lodge. When she ushered us up to the towers, chiding us for not listening, a feeling of deja-vu washed over me. Continue reading
Puerta del Cielo, Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Greening the production of steel has been the topic of exactly one previous post, which linked to an article by Matthew Hutson from last September that made passing reference to the company featured in the article below. Maybe we are getting closer to critical mass:
Roughly a tenth of global carbon emissions comes from the steel industry. Doing something about that is easier said than done.
In the city of Woburn, Massachusetts, a suburb just north of Boston, a cadre of engineers and scientists in white coats inspected an orderly stack of brick-size, gunmetal-gray steel ingots on a desk inside a neon-illuminated lab space.
What they were looking at was a batch of steel created using an innovative manufacturing method, one that Boston Metal, a company that spun out a decade ago from MIT, hopes will dramatically reshape the way the alloy has been made for centuries. Continue reading
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
The commissioner of the panel said: ‘The ocean is under attack … I cannot say in good conscience that this amount of damage is OK.’ Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters
Desalination, which we celebrated multiple times over the years, might not be all as good we thought it was:
Poseidon Water sought to turn seawater into drinking water but activists said plan would devastate ecosystem on Pacific coast
A California coastal panel on Thursday rejected a longstanding proposal to build a $1.4bn seawater desalination plant to turn Pacific Ocean water into drinking water as the state grapples with persistent drought that is expected to worsen in coming years with climate change. Continue reading
Laguna Lagarto Lodge, Organikos
I came across this graph posted on LinkedIn. More interesting than the graph is the commentary it provoked.
Looking at the affiliations of the commenters it is clear in some cases why, for example dairy farmers, they would have claims contrary to those in the graph.
But read all the comments.
Who are all these people?
Solar and wind power projects have been booming in California, like the Pine Tree Wind Farm and Solar Power Plant in the Tehachapi Mountains, but that doesn’t mean fossil fuels are fading away quickly. Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Recovery from a long-term addiction to fossil fuels was never going to be easy. Necessary? Yes. But it will still be a long haul even with milestones like this one in the western USA. Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this news:
On a mild Sunday afternoon, California set a historic milestone in the quest for clean energy. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and on May 8th, the state produced enough renewable electricity to meet 103% of consumer demand. That broke a record set a week earlier of 99.9%. Continue reading
Laguna Lagarto Lodge, Costa Rica
Illustration by Ian Mackay
Matthew Hutson, who only recently came to my attention, has shared a story about a brief bit of inspired clarity in How I Started to See Trees as Smart that I find compelling. Not everyone can do what he has done to get this clarity, but isn’t that one of the great reasons to respect writers? If the subtitle triggers any bad memories you might have from your own experience with hallucinogens, try to get over it and read on. Reference to The Soul of an Octopus early on will calm any wobblies. The final paragraph, and especially the final sentence, are worth arriving at:
A recent book by the historian Phoebe S. K. Young explores what, exactly, camping is, and how the pursuit intersects with protest culture, homelessness, and identity. Illustration by Sally Deng
We have not featured much on camping recently, but some old favorites come to mind when reading this book review titled The Confounding Politics of Camping in America by Dan Piepenbring:
By the eighteen-seventies, the society pages of Scribner’s Monthly could no longer hide it: the “American pleasure-seeking public” had run out of places to seek their pleasure. Summer after summer, vacationers resigned themselves to “broiling in a roadside farm-house” among the “odor of piggery and soap-suds.” Or they visited costly resort towns, finding “more anxious swarming crowds than those left behind.” Continue reading
San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica