Category Archives: Stories

Things I have written, and such

‘Sawasdee’ for Students in Need in Thailand

Just a few decades ago, universities in Thailand were reluctant to admit students with disabilities, partly due to a surprising historical legacy of Buddhism.  But with new laws guaranteeing education and access for all children, U.S. and Thai researchers are now looking at how schools are meeting the challenge for a new generation of students. A feature for the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Northern Vision, the magazine of the University of Northern Colorado.

Phuttamonthon Buddhist Park, near Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand.

Phuttamonthon Buddhist Park, near Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand.

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Dams & Other Obstacles on the Mekong

"Life by the Mekong River" by International Rivers (Photo from Xayaburi Dam site, October 2012)

“Life by the Mekong River” by International Rivers (Photo from Xayaburi Dam site, Oct 2012)

With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could alter the river’s ecology and disrupt the food supplies of millions of people in Southeast Asia.

I wrote “Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise,” for Yale Environment 360 in February 2014. The story relies on my travels along the lower river from the mountains of northern Thailand to the delta in Vietnam during fall 2013, and interviews with villagers, activists and environmentalists, and scientists.

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Dams & Other Obstacles on the Mekong

"Life by the Mekong River" by International Rivers (Photo from Xayaburi Dam site, October 2012)

“Life by the Mekong River” by International Rivers (Photo from Xayaburi Dam site, Oct 2012)

With a massive dam under construction in Laos and other dams on the way, the Mekong River is facing a wave of hydroelectric projects that could alter the river’s ecology and disrupt the food supplies of millions of people in Southeast Asia.

I wrote “Life on Mekong Faces Threats As Major Dams Begin to Rise,” for Yale Environment 360 in February 2014. The story relies on my travels along the lower river from the mountains of northern Thailand to the delta in Vietnam during fall 2013, and interviews with villagers, activists and environmentalists, and scientists.

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Khan-servation

OtgoTHsunset

Evening approaches near Toson Hulstai Nature Preserve, eastern Mongolia

Mongolia has the fastest growing economy in the world, fueled by its untapped mineral wealth. But the development threatens the country’s unparalleled wildlife and environment and its singular nomadic traditions, dating back to the empire of Genghis Khan.

In the February/March 2014 issue of Nature Conservancy Magazine, my story, “Giant Steppes,” takes readers to the beautiful yet fragile landscapes of Mongolia and covers how government leaders, wildlife managers, and herders are working to protect the country’s epic grasslands and desert — and its unique culture. Continue reading

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The Power and Energy of Water

"Boulder Power Plant Park" by Jason Bellegarde (via Flickr)

“Boulder Power Plant Park” by Jason Bellegarde (via Flickr)

The energy-water nexus defines the mutual relationship between two essential resources. My Fall 2013 article for Headwaters Magazine, “The Power (and Energy) of Water,” explores how planners and policymakers in Colorado and the West are increasingly evaluating energy sources based on their water use and looking at how their choices can help address growth, climate change and other issues.

 

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Front Range Groundswell

Anti-fracking protest in Boulder (image via Ecowatch)

Anti-fracking protest in Boulder (image via Ecowatch)

The widespread ramp-up of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas has collided with cities’ growth along Colorado’s Front Range, and elevated fears over health and environmental impacts as wellpads are sited near homes and schools.

A protest movement is gaining ground, and citizens aren’t waiting for state or local officials or the courts to hand down tougher rules to stop fracking. My article, “Front Range drilldown,” for High Country News in August 2013, covers the groundswells (energy-based and citizen-powered) ahead of the fall election season when several communities will vote on potential fracking bans.

I also discussed the story with Nelson Harvey of KDNK’s Sounds of the High Country.

 

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The Long Dam Wait

Construction of Moffat Tunnel near Denver, 1936 (Denver Water)

Construction of Moffat Tunnel near Denver, 1936 (Denver Water)

Colorado water managers say they desperately need to shore up supplies and storage in a region growing larger and seemingly drier. But proposals for major storage and pipelines now face high regulatory hurdles, long waits, and ever-escalating costs.

My September 2013 story for the Northern Colorado Business Report looks at water projects stuck in “regulatory limbo,” and how some cities are adjusting their proposals and expectations in response to new administrative and environmental realities.

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The Long Dam Wait

Construction of Moffat Tunnel near Denver, 1936 (Denver Water)

Construction of Moffat Tunnel near Denver, 1936 (Denver Water)

Colorado water managers say they desperately need to shore up supplies and storage in a region growing larger and seemingly drier. But proposals for major storage and pipelines now face high regulatory hurdles, long waits, and ever-escalating costs.

My September 2013 story for the Northern Colorado Business Report looks at water projects stuck in “regulatory limbo,” and how some cities are adjusting their proposals and expectations in response to new administrative and environmental realities.

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Sifting Through Soapstone

Replica of a bison vertebrae pierced by a prehistoric spear point, from Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

Replica of a bison vertebrae pierced by a prehistoric spear point, from Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

Soapstone Prairie holds archaeological clues to the living, eating and travel habits of people since the last Ice Age. And researchers are still unearthing new artifacts and forging theories at the 19,000-acre high-plains natural area outside Fort Collins.

My Spring 2013 story for Fort Collins Magazine, “Sifting Through Soapstone,” covers my travels on the prairie with Colorado State University archaeologist Jason LaBelle, and what Soapstone’s prehistoric treasure trove tells us about how early human settlers migrated across and lived on the North American landscape. Continue reading

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Fracking on the Range

Methane flaring from natural gas well (image via Ecowatch)

Methane flaring from natural gas well (image via Ecowatch)

Oil and gas companies are on a drilling bender across Western public lands but surrounding communities aren’t interested in the hangover.

My story for Sierra Magazine, July/August 2013 issue — “Busting Out of Boom and Bust” — looks at how fracking and drilling has gotten lax oversight on public lands, and how towns across the West are fighting back to protect forests and rangelands, rivers and water supplies. Continue reading

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