Navigating Nature

A globe-trotting activist communicates science and the environment


Emma Hutchinson

A Solo Woman’s Guide to Travel Safety

As a 20-year-old woman who has traveled alone in Europe and in small groups through South America, Australia, Africa, and the Pacific, I promise it’s worth it. Traveling enriches your life in ways that greatly outweigh the slight hassles that come with transporting yourself overseas and leaving your daily life behind for a few days, weeks, or months. Seeing the world’s most beautiful places and experiencing cultures that are different from your own are privileges that many people will never have. And so here you are, about to embark on a fantastical journey to a far-off place you’ve never been, and you’ve been dreaming about the new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes for months. Don’t get me wrong, the world is your oyster, but there are a few things you should keep in mind as you travel: Continue reading “A Solo Woman’s Guide to Travel Safety”

Canyons of the West (And a Few Odds and Ends)

It’s been a few too many weeks since I last actively participated in the blogosphere (as an excuse, I was finishing up final exams at Stanford) but I had a fabulous spring break last week that I want to write about. We had nine days, so my boyfriend Bryant and I hopped in the car and took off for the Southwest from Palo Alto. Our ultimate destination: the national parks of southern Utah and northern Arizona, none of which I had ever visited before. For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that I was thrilled about exploring this uncharted territory. Continue reading “Canyons of the West (And a Few Odds and Ends)”

A Mexican Valentine’s

Last Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend Bryant and I decided to break from the traditional dinner-date-and-roses thing and give ourselves an adventurous trip instead. Since neither of us had visited Mexico in years, we headed south to Cabo, but not for the sunbathing and relaxed vacation that many go there for (and I’ve enjoyed in the past). We were in Baja California for four days, and our primary motive was to see two magnificent creatures: a whale and a whale shark. Continue reading “A Mexican Valentine’s”

El Niño, From the Mountains to the Sea

In case you don’t know, I’m back in California, enjoying the warm weather and being back on campus. Even though I’m now needing to study a lot more than I was during my traveling episode of 2015, I’m still managing to find time to go on adventures and travel to different parts of the state on the weekends. I’d like to share two of my adventures with you within the context of a phenomenon that has been hitting up the media a lot recently: El Niño. Continue reading “El Niño, From the Mountains to the Sea”

Your Body Wash Is Getting Banned, And That’s a Good Thing


A process allegedly good for your body, in which dead skin is cleared away, leaving only new skin cells to make your face healthier and fresher. But how is exfoliation achieved? Many products use microbeads, tiny plastic beads that create small amounts of friction against the skin to cause exfoliation. But exfoliating products aren’t the only ones with microbeads; you can find these tiny pieces of plastic in shampoo, body wash, and even toothpaste. Continue reading “Your Body Wash Is Getting Banned, And That’s a Good Thing”

Navigating Nature: A Year in Review

It’s been a great first year for Navigating Nature! I started this blog in January 2015 as a small side project to improve my science communication skills, and the response it has received is tremendous. I am so grateful for all the support and interest from not only my friends and family, but other bloggers and science communicators. It’s hard to blog frequently as a full-time student, but all of your encouragement has helped me keep it up.  Continue reading “Navigating Nature: A Year in Review”

The Last Week of European Adventures: Paris, Prague, and Vienna

Even though I finished my final exams in Madrid on December 7th, I wanted to use every one of the 90 days I’m allowed in Europe without a visa as an American citizen, so I decided to bookend my quarter abroad with visits to three more European cities. It was exciting to add three more countries to my list and to experience new cultures, foods, and sights before heading back home. Continue reading “The Last Week of European Adventures: Paris, Prague, and Vienna”

Last Day of COP 21: Emma’s Guide to the Paris Agreement

On the last day of COP 21, and I got to meet two of my environmental heroes, Bill McKibben and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. There were fewer people in the Green Zone, which meant shorter lines for the Creperie inside (my favorite food source during the conference this week), but the space was still buzzing with energy. Later on in the day, I did some more Paris sightseeing and visited the Louvre and the Arc do Triomphe. Continue reading “Last Day of COP 21: Emma’s Guide to the Paris Agreement”

Day 3 at COP 21: Blue Heads and Murals

Another great day in Paris! I started the day by going to Montsauris Park in the south of the city with Christina, another Conergy Solar Ambassador. We were there to see one of many art installations that have been put up around the city of Paris in conjuction with the climate talks. This one was titled “Where the Tides Ebb and Flow”, and featured many blue heads positioned in a curve, sticking up out of a pond, to represent the impact of rising sea levels on the human race. Continue reading “Day 3 at COP 21: Blue Heads and Murals”

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