The Fires California Grieves—And Needs

In Her Scorched Klamath Mountains Community, a Fire Advisor Contemplates Mortality and Renewal

On a recent Sunday, I lay alone by my favorite hometown swimming hole, taking in the familiar sensations of the South Fork Trinity River. The hot sun, the light up-canyon wind—sending mist over me each time it swirled past the falls—the buzz and clicking of grasshoppers, the distant sound of trucks passing by on the rural highway above. I looked down at my body and thought how remarkable it was that I’m still me, all these decades later, and the rocks and the trail and the river are still here, …

To Beat Climate Change, Rural Towns and Farms Need to Head North | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Beat Climate Change, Rural Towns and Farms Need to Head North

A Policy of ‘Managed Retreat’ Would Move California’s Thirsty Agriculture to a Wetter Part of the State 

Twenty-five years ago, at age 18, I followed my uncle to the top of Mount Lassen for a 10,000-foot view of Northern California’s Fourth of July fireworks. We watched the …

Is Independence Still Worth Celebrating? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Is Independence Still Worth Celebrating?

Contemplating Dependence and Interdependence on the Nation’s Birthday in Remote Independence, California

Why do Californians celebrate Independence Day when we’ve given up on our independence?

That question occurred to me on a recent visit to Independence, California, a settlement of 600 people on …

Small Towns Can Create Big Change | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Small Towns Can Create Big Change

From Banning Private Prisons to Universal Broadband and Pre-K, Necessity and Opportunity Allow California Communities to Punch Above Their Weight

Before answering the question of the evening—“What Makes a Good Small Town?”—the panelists at a Zócalo/California Wellness Foundation event had to choose a definition. What, asked moderator and Los Angeles …

The Next Great California Water War Is Starting Underground, in the Mojave Desert | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Next Great California Water War Is Starting Underground, in the Mojave Desert

Minerals, Nuts, and the Navy Are at the Center of a Novel Fight Over Groundwater, and Its Governance

Can California regions regulate groundwater without destroying their businesses and communities?

That’s the question being posed as regions and localities implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the historic 2014 state …

Where I Go: Seeking Peace on the Upper Slopes of Mount Shasta | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: Seeking Peace on the Upper Slopes of Mount Shasta

How Cycling (and Tandem Biking) Has Made My Rural Northern California 'Neighborhood' Home

“Lonely as God, and white as a winter moon, Mount Shasta starts up sudden and solitary from the heart of the great black forests of Northern California.”
—Joaquin Miller, from …