Category: Communities

Stories on communities and culture, past and present

Highway injustice in Denver’s Latino neighborhoods

Highway injustice in Denver’s Latino neighborhoods

A rendition of the highway cover alternative for I-70 in Denver that would add a new park space near Swansea Elementary School. (Courtesy Colorado Department of Transportation)

One of Colorado’s most congested highways, I-70 East badly needs repairs or replacement. But the six-lane highway also cuts off Latino neighborhoods’ access to other parts of the city, and its air pollution contributes to some of Denver’s highest rates of asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Neighborhood residents fear that plans to replace it with a larger, partially belowground highway could just exacerbate their problems. What’s more, they claim planners are ignoring a cheaper, community-friendly alternative.

“Highway injustice in Denver’s Latino neighborhoods”

High Country News, December 21, 2015

Logging On and Off

Logging On and Off

Sawmills in Colorado and Wyoming are amid a resurgence and putting beetle-killed trees to use, likely reducing fire risks in the process. But the mills remain hampered by a lack of raw materials while management on national forests limits logging of big trees and focuses on forest health.

My November 2014 story, “Rocky Mountain sawmills rebound,” for High Country News, looks at how mills have revived and whether the industry’s needs can align with those of the forests.

Clint Georg, at Saratoga Forest Management's sawmill
Clint Georg, at Saratoga Forest Management’s sawmill, which reopened in 2013 after a 10-year closure. (Joshua Zaffos)

 

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Dams & Other Obstacles on the Mekong

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

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.

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Sifting Through Soapstone

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.

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