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The Carved Trees of Tehran

This stump is from a tree on my block in Harlem in New York City. You can count the rings, I think. Between twenty and twenty-five years he grew. I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and on this block for just shy of twenty years. I saw this tree as a reedy…

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Ghosts, Bugganes, and Fairy Pigs

The Isle of Man sits at the crossroads of fame and obscurity. The name, somehow, is widely known. You’ve heard of it…somewhere. What is it known for? You might have the piece of trivia that The Bee Gees are from the Isle of Man. Maybe you have heard of the short-tailed Manx cat. But those…

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The Grand Dishes That Might Arrive Soon

Once upon a time I was a development executive at the cable network Food Network. It was part of my job to come up with new ideas for shows and take half-baked ideas and make them better. There are many stories to tell about my days there but it was a job that I was…

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The Economics of the Handmade Broom

When you come across the word ‘economy’ or ‘economics’ in conversations there are three broad responses (many others are, of course, possible) 1. Hopping and often greedy enthusiasm from the sorts who are confident about the best form of economics or economy and are simultaneously eager to tell you about it and probably try to…

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The Navigation of Salmon as Cultural Analogy

There is this stunner of a word in the English language – murmuration. It is the word for a flock of starlings who engage in this pulsing and shifting synchronized flight that makes for gaspingly beautiful fluid shapes. Seemingly every bird knows exactly when to turn and how far while maintaining speed with the entire…

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Queen of the Yakut Spirit Fashion

If you walk in sustainability or locavore circles you might come across the term ‘100 Mile Diet.’ The term, which became popular in the early 2000’s, derives from a book written by Alisa Smith and JB MacKinnon about their experience with eating only foods that came from no more than 100 miles from their home…

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The Judean Date Palm is Coming Back

When you think of the Middle East you mostly think of it as desert. And that is true, mostly it is that. But there was a time it was different landscape. Dry, yes, but more green than you might have thought. There are the famed cedars of Lebanon – once a deep forest there. And…

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The Making of the Norwegian Lime Bast Rope

If you are like me you don’t think too much of string or rope or cord. You pick it up at the store or get a roll of it delivered on Amazon but cordage is astonishing and one of the most amazing inventions or discoveries made by humans. The first houses were held together with…

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The Last Thatcher in Wales

‘They thought they were giving us a gift’ he said, ‘but they really took something away from us when they forced those cinderblock houses and corrugated metal roofs onto us. This is the beginning of a story that I heard an older man, Martin Prechtel, from Guatemala speak of when recounting part of his youth…

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The Resiliency of the Older Forest

If you are on top of reading about what is happening to the climate and the impacts it is having on all life it is easy and understandable to be frightened. Properly so. It’s scary. You can go down the line and look at the way the spiraling climate is impacting people and where and…

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