After a year of growing boycotts, North Carolina reversed part of its Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, better known as HB 2 or simply the Bathroom Bill, in March 2017. I was there immediately after that decision and took to the streets of North Carolina to see what people were thinking about who gets to use what bathrooms in the state. Here’s what I found:
Twice a week, someone spectacular walks through the door of the Knight Science Journalism office door. As part of the fellowship, we have these seminars twice a week, and Director Deborah Blum has set up a stellar lineup of scientists, authors, journalists, and scholars to come speak with us about their work. It is, as they say, an honor and a privilege.
Renowned linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky was scheduled to come earlier in the semester and then had to cancel due to a cold. Perhaps it was a blessing. The rescheduled day was November 17th, the week following the election that would upset American politics and set the stage for Donald Trump to be our next president.
We had new questions for our visitor. The fellows pooled our inquiries, and with Lauren Whaley and Iván Carillo overseeing audio-video, I sat down in a chair opposite Professor Chomsky to ask him at least a few of our collective questions.
I still can’t quite believe that, come August, I’ll be joining an incredible cohort of journalists for the Knight Science Journalism fellowship at MIT.
Here’s the official announcement, which begins…
The Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, the premier global fellowship program for journalists covering science, technology, health and the environment, is proud to announce that ten journalists, representing five countries, have been selected to join the program’s 34th class of fellows.
Proud that of the ten journalists, three of us are from the Society of Environmental Journalists, including Robert McClure of Investigate West and Rosalia Omungo of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation in Nairobi. Mark Wolverton and I mucked about in a salt marsh last summer when we did the MBL Logan Science Journalism program out of Woods Hole, MA. I plan on [Read more…]
I am a half-daughter of India. I have watched the South Asian nation develop since I first visited Madras as a young girl, my Indian father bringing his fair-skinned American wife and my brother and me from America on multiple trips to visit dozens of relatives along the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
In the forty years since that first visit, the country has undergone a whole-scale transformation. Never have there been so many humans with so much elemental need for healthy food, clean water, and dependable energy systems. How will India bring these basics to her citizenry?
In recent years, I have visited as an environmental journalist and Fulbright scholar to seek out the answer to this question, investigating the state of India’s natural world and exploring how the elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether – are faring. I found a subcontinent in crisis, but I also found individuals and organisations reinventing their landscapes and lives.
Whether they will receive support from the government remains to be seen.
I wrote this almost two years ago, and read it at Matt’s Vermont memorial. I think I’m ready to post it.
“Did you water the plants?”
The g-chats would come from Asia, South America, Africa. I would sigh and smile and type back in that too abrupt chat shorthand. “Yup” and then we’d bounce to some other topic, often dirt-or-word related. Matt Power could be both singularly obsessed and as scattered as the visas in his passport. Did he know that I cared as much about the plants’ survival – the striated leaves of the spider plant in the bay window of the parlor and the abundance of the vegetable-berry-herb-opium poppy garden of the summer – as he did? If I wasn’t on my own travels, I was babying the babies too, giving them water as they soaked up the south sun, all of us awaiting his next return to Hawthorne Street. I lived there with Matt and Jess for five years, from the first day when we sat on the bare floor in the bare limestone (“It’s not a brownstone,” Matt would correct.) eating takeout, as a cast of characters came and went, until I left too. Did he know I loved the plants? Did he know, we all asked last week, when news of his death in Uganda arrived, how much we loved him?
We often step into each other’s lives in quiet, non-monumental ways. [Read more…]
“Ten years ago, I went into the woods I loved to decide whether or not to leave them….”
The brilliant magazine Guernica just came out with a special issue on the Boundaries of Nature. I think about this a lot, perhaps too much. And when the editors approached me about contributing I’d just returned from a trip to my old beloved forest in Oregon, and to a gathering of EcoModernists in Sausalito, and still my mind spun back to clutching falcons in New York City. All wove together into this essay. Thanks, Guernica.