Navigating Nature

A globe-trotting activist communicates science and the environment



Chicago Series #1: The Midwest is Not Exempt from Climate Change

I moved to Chicago almost seven months ago, and I’ve found many Midwest stereotypes to be true – the people are very friendly, the winters are very cold, the food is crazy good, and the beer is even better. But one stereotype – that the Midwest won’t suffer any severe consequences of climate change – is completely false. While we don’t have hurricanes, and live right next to the largest body of fresh water in America, the Midwest is not exempt from climate impacts – and has plenty to worry about as Earth warms.

Continue reading “Chicago Series #1: The Midwest is Not Exempt from Climate Change”

My First (and Last) Descent Down the Nuble River

Guest post by Bryant Irawan

Over the course of human history, we have explored nearly every corner of the globe. But despite globalization and advancements in science, there is one last frontier that remains – and it’s closer than you think. Sometimes we live only a few miles away from one and sometimes it courses through our very cities. I am, of course, talking about rivers. Continue reading “My First (and Last) Descent Down the Nuble River”

Short Answers to All Your Questions About Composting

Compost is something that we hear about a lot in the Bay Area, and here, many municipalities even pick it up curbside along with trash and recycling. But what really is compost, and why is it so good for the environment? Here are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about composting: Continue reading “Short Answers to All Your Questions About Composting”

Where Did Your Pet Fish Come From?

Last spring, I was living on a tall ship that was sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii. On the way, we stopped at Christmas Island, which is part of the nation of Kiribati. While there, we let off two members of our crew so they could fly back to California for other obligations while we continued on our way. Christmas Island is in the middle of nowhere, so they were the only passengers that got onto the plane. Well, the only human passengers. As our friends told us later, they were joined by hundreds of crates of tropical fish. Continue reading “Where Did Your Pet Fish Come From?”

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”

My Summer of Making Cities WILD

As my summer comes to a close, I think it’s an appropriate time to share and reflect on my incredible experience working for the WILD Foundation. Based in Boulder, Colorado and operating around the world, the WILD Foundation works to protect wilderness and wildlife by connecting people and cultures. The non-profit was founded in 1974 by South African game ranger and conservationist Ian Player and is now run by Vance Martin. I was lucky enough to work for this amazing organization for six weeks this summer on their WILD Cities Project. Continue reading “My Summer of Making Cities WILD”

Sharks vs. Humans: Who’s The Real Predator?

Last month’s highly publicized shark attack on Mick Fanning, a pro surfer, got me thinking about the way sharks are portrayed in today’s media. On July 19, Mick was surfing in the J-Bay Open, a competition in South Africa, when a great white shark appeared out of nowhere and flipped him off his board. Mick punched the shark in the back, was picked up quickly by rescuers, and got away uninjured. A week later, he returned to the water and began surfing again. Continue reading “Sharks vs. Humans: Who’s The Real Predator?”

When Culture Clashes With Conservation: Managing the World’s Oceans

What do shark fin soup, whaling, and the Cape Wind project have in common (besides just being related to the ocean)? These are all examples of cultural “barriers” to marine conservation, or instances in which a human cultural value has been viewed as unsustainable when it comes to managing the world’s oceans. In fact, global carbon pollution can also be regarded as a cultural barrier to marine conservation as well, since climate change is having a devastating effect on life in the oceans (to learn more about this, see a past blog post here). Each human culture has a slightly different relationship to the ocean, and since I am interested in culture and society as well as environmental sustainability, I’d like to explore this relationship, some common misconceptions, when problems do arise, and how we might approach this issue going forward. Continue reading “When Culture Clashes With Conservation: Managing the World’s Oceans”

The Tanzanian Balancing Act (or, How Two Weeks In East Africa Made Me Question Everything I Thought I Knew About Conservation)

I’ve been visiting national parks like Crater Lake and Yellowstone since I was a toddler. Something about setting aside a specific area of land for the pure purpose of preserving its wildlife, ecology, landscapes, and beauty for future generations seemed so right to me. Like we had already found the solution to our rampant environmental degradation when Ulysses S. Grant signed Yellowstone National Park into existence in 1872. Continue reading “The Tanzanian Balancing Act (or, How Two Weeks In East Africa Made Me Question Everything I Thought I Knew About Conservation)”

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