Following a month of travel and visiting family and friends in California and Oregon, I met up with artist-beat-writer-poet-friend Trevien Stanger in Washington for a circumnavigation of the Olympic National Park. From coastal camping to running through the rainforest, this place sings songs, and we spent a few days joining in. Photos + quotes from Elizabeth Kolbert’s highly anticipated new book I just finished, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Haunting and illuminating. (Spoiler Alert: We’re in it and we’re causing it.)
“What history reveals, in its ups and downs, is that life is extremely resilient but not infinitely so. There have been very long uneventful stretches and very, very occasionally ‘revolutions on the surface of the earth’…To the extent that we can identify the causes of these revolutions, they’re highly varied: glaciation in the case of the end-Ordovician extinction, global warming and changes in the ocean chemistry at the end of the Permian, an asteroid impact in the final seconds of the Cretaceous. The current extinction has its own novel cause: not an asteroid or a massive volcanic eruption but ‘one weedy species.’ As Walter Alvarez put it to me: ‘We’re seeing right now that a mass extinction can be caused by human beings.'”
After touring last summer with The Postal Service, I was excited to go work with Death Cab for Cutie this summer as they played a handful of shows on the East Coast. My responsibilities included: Photographer, Trail Running Coordinator + Coach, and Personal Assistant to the Production Team. So intense. So much fun. This band and crew are some of the most talented, most professional, and kindest people I’ve ever met. Some photos.
This spring I coordinated Wild Mercy, a weekly environmental writing event in Missoula, MT, where prominent authors and upcoming graduate students read their works to large crowds in a fire-lit studio. It was one of the more powerful expressions of community and creativity that I’ve been a part of for some time. Here’s an article + photos I wrote for the UM FLAT and Environmental Studies Department homepage about the necessity for storytelling during these challenging ecological times.
When the world frays at the edges, we must tell our stories. When things crumble, we must sit closer—closer to the fire, closer to each other. And we must tell stories, of all types. Stories of loss. Stories of gain. Stories of being confused in a confusing world. Through confusions expressed, we discover clarity, a little clearing in the chaos. Through both telling stories and listening to them, we begin to trace some common, umbilical attachment that binds us all together. To be drawn into a story is to follow this thread of another and realize that, in some strange way, it’s also our own.
Since 2003, the Wild Mercy Reading Series, sponsored by the EVST Department, Camas Magazine and UM FLAT, has highlighted some of the finest writers and student voices in Missoula’s burgeoning environmental writing scene. Over the past few years, the UM FLAT has hosted these readings in our studio. For eight consecutive weeks this spring, two writers got up in front of a crowd of 30-60 people to read their work—stories, poetry, and music.
Calling all creatives, all revolutionaries, all architects of a new, more sustainable, resilient and authentic future. Please take a minute to watch our new video teaser and consider supporting this project. After the first two days of its launch, we have already fundraised a 1/4 of our goal. Share with your worlds, and please join us in celebrating and defending wild spaces.
Here’s the teaser for “The Crossing” an incredible video project I’m currently directing and co-producing with Mike Hanich at E Media. Really happy with how it came out. Really good responses so far, and Kickstarter will be coming within the week. Stay tuned.
“The Crossing” Official Trailer from Michael Hanich on Vimeo.
Excited and honored to announce that I’ll be heading back on tour this summer, this time with Death Cab for Cutie as they headline Boston Calling Festival and several other shows in New York and New Jersey. Much like my time with The Postal Service last summer, I’ll be Trail Coordinator (what?!) for the entire band and crew + assisting with production. Gonna be good, real good. In NY, MA, or NJ during May? I’d love to see you.
Last weekend, I joined the Blue Skies Campaign to lead a rally at Missoula’s Courthouse, speaking out against plans to expand coal export projects in Montana. The event was overwhelmingly successful. 200+ people braved freezing temperatures, including former city commissioners, indigenous leaders, and poets. B+W photos courtesy of Alex Wardell/E Media, colors by Dov Weinman. In the media: The Independent and KPAX (video). More bold plans in the works. Fired up.