A Savanna Life in a Technological World

The View from Meadows, Brooks and Groves

Help. I’m too Closely Connected to My Land.

Help. I’m too Closely Connected to My Land.

In my ecological education, I have been the student, my mortgage the master. A hard, hard master. Many people in our society have a land relationship like a sexless marriage. No connection. Ships passing in the night. But what about those of us who have […]

Ranching vs Hunting-Gathering, Part I

Ranching vs Hunting-Gathering, Part I

We were born into this world with an expectation. Natural selection gave it to us. Our world is very different than the one we expected. This distance is a canyon that gets perceptibly wider and deeper all the time. It grows by sudden big events […]

I Have a Red Pill, an Antidote for that Other Red Pill You Took

I Have a Red Pill, an Antidote for that Other Red Pill You Took

On the twentieth anniversary of the movie The Matrix, I might have to remind you that the movie was about a main character given a ‘red pill’ that allowed him to see the truth, that humans were controlled by a bunch of robots which created […]

Vegetarianism and Veganism (Part 1 I’m sure)

Vegetarianism and Veganism (Part 1 I’m sure)

I would never tell someone what they should eat. I consider propaganda of that nature to be intrusive, condescending, and dangerous. Trying to modify someone’s diet is a pernicious form of colonialism, or an abrogation of ones liberty as a free individual. That being said […]

The Ecology of Suffering (and joy, I guess)

The Ecology of Suffering (and joy, I guess)

Buddhist teaching says that life is suffering. That overstates the point a little bit (for a good reason) but it is true. Buddhist teaching goes on to say that we suffer because we ‘desire.’ There I disagree. I think there is a much more fundamental […]

Paleoecology and Agronomy Part II

Paleoecology and Agronomy Part II

In our interactions with the ecosystem we need a healthy dose of humility. Paleoecology can provide that humility. There are many organisms that have this survival thing down much better than we do. Let’s figure out how they do that. I was surprised by how […]

Paleoecology is More Important than Agronomy. And Everything Else.

Paleoecology is More Important than Agronomy. And Everything Else.

The other day I heard Darren Naish and John conway, of the excellent Tetrapod Zoology Podcast, stumble over the question of why Paleontology is important. This was apparently a spill over from a whole panel of experts stumbling over this question at the Pop Paleo […]

Wolves

Wolves

An understanding of the paleoecology can shed new light on our current political debate and open up new options for win/win solutions. In other words, my opinions about wolves will make everyone on all sides of the political spectrum angry. Before I do that, I […]

Disturbing. Or is it?

Disturbing. Or is it?

Words are so useful because they point to Truth. But if they don’t point to Truth, they point away from Truth. As such I think it is time that we ecologists have a sit down with the word “disturbance” and ask, ‘what have you done […]

Taxonomy Needs a Complete Reorganization (and other surefire ways of creating viral Facebook content)

Taxonomy Needs a Complete Reorganization (and other surefire ways of creating viral Facebook content)

Both Separate and Connected. But how? I love to beat up on taxonomists because they tend to be constitutionally opposite of me. I see taxonomists as the accountants of the biological sciences, obsessed with making up rules out of thin air and trying to make […]


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Heavy Fuel Loads, The Fires in Ventura County, and the Brave New Normal

Heavy Fuel Loads, The Fires in Ventura County, and the Brave New Normal

With the fires in Ventura County, I think we can call it official; our heavy fuel loads have come home to roost. A week ago I could convince myself, while drinking a beer and listening to rain patter on the roof, that the fires that […]

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

Friends and Family, The three of us Chisholm-Harts are spending our Thanksgiving eve thinking about what we are grateful for. Obviously all of you are top of mind.  We are settling into our temporary digs in Petaluma, Abel is busy practicing his walking and Hanna […]

We Lost Our Stuff in the Fire. What Did We Gain?

We Lost Our Stuff in the Fire. What Did We Gain?

On Monday the 9th, in the first round of wildfires in Sonoma County, the tiny handmade house that my wife and I have lived in for the last six years burnt to the ground. We were married in the front yard. Our one year old […]