Failure at the EPA / The agency has left immigrants and minorities to fend for themselves at toxic waste sites across the country. Cover story for Pacific Standard magazine, May 2018 (membership required to access article)
How fishermen and scientists joined forces to bring back Kyoto’s snow crabs / Oceana, December 2017.
The Tree Guardians of Kyoto / The Japanese monastic tradition of forest stewardship goes back centuries. Tricycle, Fall 2017. Reprinted in Utne Reader, Winter 2017.
For Japan’s Eagles, Hope Lies in ‘Rewilding’ Long-Tamed Forests / Although Japan is heavily wooded, many forests are monoculture tree plantations that harbor scant biodiversity. Now, efforts are underway to return these forests to a more natural state in hopes of bringing back golden eagles and other wildlife. Yale Environment 360, June 2017.
In Photos: Blue Carbon Around the World / From Senegal to Indonesia, conservation groups are linking climate change to coastal conservation. Earth Island Journal, April 2017.
Net Loss? Agrochemicals and Insecticide Resistance in the Fight against Malaria/Cover story for the March, 2017 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.
From Patoka to Cannonball, a Journey up the Dakota Access Pipeline/A photo essay on what the Standing Rock water protectors are risking everything to save. With Cyrene Krey. Sierra, December 2016.
African Wetlands Project: A Win for the Climate and the People?/In Senegal and other developing countries, multinational companies are investing in programs to restore mangrove forests and other wetlands that sequester carbon. But critics say these initiatives should not focus on global climate goals at the expense of local peoples’s livelihoods. Yale Environment 360, November 2016.
The Greening of Japanese Politics?/When Greens Japan emerged as a national political organization in July 2012, the timing for success seemed perfect. What happened? Nippon.com, June 2016. (Also in Japanese)
Hard-Pressed Rust Belt Cities Go Green to Aid Urban Revival/Gary, Indiana is joining Detroit and other fading U.S. industrial centers in an effort to turn abandoned neighborhoods and factory sites into gardens, parks, and forests. In addition to the environmental benefits, these greening initiatives may help catalyze an economic recovery. Yale Environment 360, May 2016.
Telling the Story of Fukushima/Five years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the disaster is no longer just a current event — it is also part of Japan’s history. But how should that history be told? Government and civil society groups have different answers, and they are starting to emerge in a battle of museums. Nippon.com, March 2016. (Also in Japanese)
Rethinking Urban Landscapes to Adapt to Rising Sea Levels/An interview with Bay Area landscape architect Kristina Hill for Yale Environment 360, March 2016.
Living in Limbo/Five years after the meltdown in Fukushima, the Japanese government’s efforts to reboot its nuclear energy program is still being met with resistance. Stories from the ground for Earth Island Journal, Spring 2016.
Perennial Grain Research/I talk with the Land Institute’s research director Timothy Crews about the future of farming. Permaculture Magazine, Spring 2016.
In Japan, a David vs Goliath Battle to Preserve Bluefin Tuna/Family fishermen fight to stop overfishing at spawning grounds. Yale Environment 360, January 2016. Republished at Greenbiz.com. An abridged version of this article was published in the Japanese magazine Courrier on March 2016.
Pondering the right to return…and the right not to: Fukushima evacuees in limbo/With Jane Singer. In Global Implications of Development, Disasters and Climate Change. Routledge, Aug. 2015.
Sea Level Rise Threatens Waterfront Development/The Bay Area’s current waterfront building frenzy includes at least $21 billion in housing and commercial construction in low-lying areas that climate scientists say could flood by the end of the century. In a six-month data and mapping project, our team found that some cities are greenlighting waterfront development without planning for the long term or fully accounting for the future cost of reconfiguring large projects to resist flooding. Stories in the summer 2015 edition of the San Francisco Public Press: Major S.F. Bayfront Developments Advance Despite Sea Rise (with Kevin Stark and Michael Stoll), With Dozens of Local and Regional Governments, Baywide Planning is Hard, Four Ways to Guard Against Sea Level Rise, Interactive Map (by Lulu Orozco, Marcea Ennamorato, and Brittany Burson)
Perennial Rice: In search of a greener, hardier staple crop/Yale Environment 360, March 2015.
Shrinking Well: Is Depopulation affecting Japan’s energy and climate goals?/In this joint project for the Japan Times and Climate Confidential, I take a look at the complicated relationship between declining population, energy use, and carbon-dioxide emissions. November 2014.
Saving the “Last Ocean”/Delegates from 24 countries and the EU to debate massive marine preserve to preserve the Antarctic. Earth Island Journal, October 2014.
All Change – For a Transition Town Near You/A look at Japan’s rapidly growing grassroots movement to transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy. Japan Times, March 2014.
Culture and Nature Vie Over Ancient Hinoki/A proposed conservation area seeks to protect the last substantial temperate coniferous forest in Japan, but shrines and temples still want to use its large old trees. Japan Times, February 2014.
Will Japan Prepared Mean Nature Ruined?/A look at how Japan’s new “National Resilience” law could impact the environment. Japan Times, January 2014.
In Japan, Captive Breeding May Help Save the Wild Eel/As eel populations plummet worldwide, Japanese scientists are racing to solve a major challenge for aquaculture – how to replicate the live cycle of eels in captivity and commercially produce a fish that is a prized delicacy on Asian dinner tables. Yale Environment 360, October 2013.
How green is Tohoku’s ‘Green Connections’ project?/The Japan Times, August 2013.
Contaminated Forests: Management After Chernobyl and Fukushima/Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, August 2013.
Insecticides Pit Trees Against Bees/Overhead spraying of neonicotinoids is intended to save pine forests, but how will pollinators be affected? Japan Times, June 2013.
Engineering the Japanese Islands/A conversation with environmental historian Brett Walker. Kyoto Journal #77, May 2013.
In Post-Tsunami Japan, A Push to Rebuild Coast in Concrete/In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, the Japanese government is forgoing and opportunity to sustainably protect its coastline and is instead building towering concrete seawalls and defenses that environmentalists say will inflict serious damage on coastal ecosystems. Yale Environment 360, May 2013. An expanded version of the article was published by The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.
Tohoku coast faces man-made perils in wake of tsunami/Japan Times, March 2013.
Two Years On, Evacuees Seek Justice and a Normal Life/Conversations with Fukushima evacuees. With this side box about parents and caretakers limiting outside play time for kids. Japan Times, March 2013.
A Tale of Two Forests (with Jane Braxton Little)/Addressing postnuclear radiation at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2013 (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Radiant Wildlands (with Jane Braxton Little)/The forests near Fukushima and Chernobyl likely have been changed forever. Earth Island Journal, Spring 2013. (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Fukushima radiation threatens to wreak woodland havoc/A mushroom farmer, his forests, and the cascading effects radioactive fallout is having on ecosystems and the economy. Japan Times, February 17, 2013. (Travel for this story was paid for by a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism.)
Japan’s nuclear dilemma: What to do with all that nuclear waste? /Japanese citizens are balking at the lack of information and supervision of waste stored in public places, such as playgrounds. Christian Science Monitor Weekly, November 2012
Grow Your Own Energy/Like the globalized industrial food system, Japan’s energy system is unsustainable, risky, and controlled by huge corporations. Why not unplug from that quagmire and create something smaller and better one community at a time? Fresh Currents , July 2012. 日本語版：Grow Your Own Energy Japanese Version.doc (downloadable Word document / translation by Naomi Kanaya)
Energy Efficiency/Cutting energy demand eight percent across the board in Japan would eliminate the need for about 13 nuclear reactors. Doing the same with renewable energy would take thirty times the number of photovoltaic panels the country has installed to date, or nearly three-fourths of its untapped geothermal resources. Fresh Currents, July 2012.
Will Fish-Loving Japan Embrace Sustainable Seafood? Yale Environment 360, July 2012.
Yokohama Anti-Nuke Meet Draws Thousands of Activists, Experts/Earth Island Journal, Jan. 2012.
Anti-nuclear movement growing in Asia/Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2012.
As Fukushima Cleanup Begins, Long-term Impacts are Weighed/The Japanese government is launching a large-scale cleanup of the fields, forests, and villages contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But some experts caution that an overly aggressive remediation program could create a host of other environmental problems. Yale Environment 360, January 2012.
Fukushima Health Study Launched/Radiation health experts worldwide weigh in on Fukushima Prefecture’s ambitious project to track the health of those exposed to radioactive fallout from the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2011.
Three Mile Island’s Lessons for Japan/How will Japan’s weak recording and freedom-of-information laws impact our understanding of the Fukushima disaster? Thoughts from former NRC commissioner Peter Bradford. Japan Times, August 2011.
Powering Japan’s Future/An eight-part package for the Japan Times exploring the pros and cons of Japan’s renewable electricity options. Related article on Distribution Gridlock Restricts Renewables. July 2011.
Chemical Aftermath (with Elizabeth Grossman)/Contamination and cleanup following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Environmental Health Perspectives cover story, July 2011. An updated version was published August 15 in the online journal Japan Focus. Chinese version also available.
Lost Causes Get New Hope/On a small round island in the Sea of Japan lives the Oki salamander (Hynobius okiensis), a critically endangered species found nowhere else on Earth. Saving the palm-sized forest dweller from extinction could require habitat restoration, stricter conservation laws, and a revolution in how island residents approach development. Proponents of conservation triage might question the cost—but a new global commitment to zero extinction should give a major boost to the Oki salamander and other species inneed of a lifeline. Science, March 2011.
Nagoya Biodiversity Conference/Sunday special for the Japan Times (8 articles in the package, including this list of key facts and figures and a light take on the conference life), article in the Christian Science Monitor, a series of six blogs for the Earth Island Journal, and an extended magazine piece for the Japan Journal (COP 10 Japan Journal.pdf). October 2010.
Saving the Sarufutsu.pdf/In Sarufutsu, Hokkaido, conservationists and corporate executives have come together to protect one of Japan’s most important wild salmon habitats. Japan Journal, August 2010.
Charcoal and Butterflies.pdf/Japan’s traditional managed woodlands are a biologically rich illustration of how sustained human involvement can foster biodiversity. Japan Journal, April 2010.
The Rice Field is a Stage.pdf /A visit to a rice-farming idyll in Beppu, Oita Prefecture. Japan Journal, March 2010.
Life in the Grasslands.pdf/The fate of Japan’s biodiversity-rich semi-natural grasslands is inextricably linked with the fate of its farmers. Japan Journal, February 2010.
Wood for the Trees
Hayami Ringyo is one of only a handful of forests in Japan that have successfully integrated wilderness into the timber plantation. A profile and interview with Tohru Hayami for the Japan Journal, November 2009.
In Japan’s Managed Landscape, a Struggle to Save the Bears/Although it is a heavily urbanized nation, fully two-thirds of Japan remains forested. Yet many of the forests are timber plantations inhospitable to wildlife, especially black bears, which are struggling to survive in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth. Yale Environment 360, Oct. 29, 2009. An updated and expanded version is in The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, published February 14 2010.
Road Sense/Steering a safe, quiet, and environmentally friendly course along some of Japan’s innovative asphalt roads. Japan Journal, October 2009.
Power for all the people/Yasuyuki Fujimura is inventing refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances that don’t require electricity to run. Profile in the Japan Times “Week Three” Sunday section, October 2009.
Keeping an eye on the environment/The Biodiversity Center is enlisting ordinary citizens to track the impact of global warming on Japan’s plants and animals. Kansai Time Out, September 2009.
Japan’s creeping natural disaster/Age-old farming methods helped to create and support this country’s wealth of plant and animal species. But now, as rural areas empty of people, that rich biodiversity is put at risk. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, Sunday August 2009.
Hydrogen in every home/How the Japanese are trying to slash energy use and CO2 emissions – by installing fuel cells in people’s backyards. With video online. Ode magazine, April 2009.
Oceans awash in toxic seas of plastic/Go down to the beach today and you`ll find plenty of garbage among the sand – but that`s nothing compared with the continent-sized whirlpools of lethal waste out there beyond the horizon. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, March 2009.
Nara’s cute, destructive deer/Though sacred to some, have the ancient capital’s photogenic herds outgrown their habitat? The Japan Times, October 2008.
Natural by design/Biomimicry creates sustainable technology from the fruits of evolution. Cover story for the Time Out section of the Japan Times, August 2008.
Luminescent shrooms cast light on Japan’s forest crisis/The Japan Times, Wednesday, June 2008.
Not-so-welcoming shores/Fewer and fewer loggerhead turtles are reaching their sole spawning ground in the North Pacific. Avenues, Autumn 2007.