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 Puerto Rico a Global Model for Disaster Recovery?

In the Wake of Three Hurricanes—And Centuries of Exploitation—Islanders Turned to One Another for Relief

When Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on September 18, 2022, the U.S. colony had still not fully recovered from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in 2017. Collapsed bridges had not been …

The Colorado? Call It the California River

The Golden State’s Power Should Be Used Not to Protect Its Water, But to Solve Western Water Problems

Why do we still call it the Colorado?

Sure, the river begins in the Colorado Rockies. But in law and practice, the waterway making headlines is clearly the California River. And …

River Blues

Penelope Dullaghan is an artist and illustrator based in Indianapolis. She works in children’s publishing, editorial, and advertising. In her work she employs a range of mediums, including printmaking, paint, …

You Really Should Be Having a Glacier-Induced Meltdown

The COVID Lockdown and My Work Studying These Rapidly Diminishing Sheets of Ice Proves We Can Prevent the Worst of Climate Change

We’ve all heard the tragic stories of glaciers in peril: pieces of ice, the size of continents, breaking off of Antarctica or melting away in the Arctic Ocean near the …

What Can We Learn From the Failings of William Mulholland? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Can We Learn From the Failings of William Mulholland?

The ‘Father of Los Angeles’ Was a Link in a Chain of Theft and Loss—And Its Consequences Ripple Into the Present

For much of my life I have been in conversation with a man who died 86 years ago.  He was born in Dublin in 1855 and grew up poor, with …