Could Cannabis Help the American West Solve Its Thorniest Environmental Issues?

A Growing Industry, and an Entire Region, Wrestle with Questions Around Water, Land Use, and Conservation

The study of cannabis is a personal one for me. Outdoor cannabis production in the rural Western U.S. has its roots in back-to-the-land movements of the 1960s. That’s when counterculture groups began growing cannabis surreptitiously as a source of income, a political statement, and a spiritual practice. I grew up in rural Southern Oregon, the child of hippies from that era. The communities where we lived were, at least in part, founded on and funded by cannabis.

In 2015, the year Oregon legalized recreational cannabis, I was home applying to graduate …

Is Placelessness the Cost of American Freedom?

If We Want to Nurture a Sense of Place in This Country, It Might Help to Know Why We Lost It To Begin With

Forty-four years ago—well before the advent of the contemporary mobile phone, Wi-Fi, and social media technology—fabled futurist Alvin Toffler predicted a “historic decline in the significance of place to human …