Summer of the Written Word

The next several months have turned into a lovely string of environmental writing events, presentations, and retreats. 


1) Compose 2015, Saturday, May 2nd. Oregon City, OR: Clackamas Community College Creative Writing Conference. The blurb of the workshop panel I am leading:

“Telling Stories of Revolution:” How can we find our voice when writing and filming stories that help transform ourselves and our cultures into more eco-centric, resilient ways? It’s hard but necessary work, but the future of our planet demands that we do, now more than ever. In this workshop, we will discuss how to create and deliver stories through writing and film about environmental and social activism, about advocacy work, and about unique approaches to turning heads about specific issues and causes that matter to you.


2) Orion Breadloaf Environmental Writer’s Conference, June 1-7, 2015, Middlebury, VT.
Will be working on craft with some of the greats: Rick Bass, Scott Russell Sanders.

asle3) ASLE Conference, June 23-27, Moscow, ID – Presenting a paper on the ecological undercurrents of circumambulation, a type of circuitous pilgrimage.

4) Environmental Writing Institute, September 9-13, Missoula, MT. Working with David James Duncan on craft.

5) Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing Retreat, (Pending) Oct-Nov 2015.

Published: “A Home Made of Heart and Twine”

So excited to announce that my article “A Home Made of Heart and Twine” was just published in the Whitefish Review’s recent issue themed, “The Geography of Hope.” The piece is about living at the UM FLAT (Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology) and all what goes into intentional, co-op living. Honored. Excerpt below. 


“After crawling out of the run, I pry open the deer fencing and enter the garden. Though modest in size, this plot of land explodes with vegetables, providing each F.L.A.T. resident with more than enough plant sustenance: fireworks of kale, knuckles of cabbage, bulging tomatoes and curling squash. Aster flowers and nasturtiums wink in confidence with their peppery edge. A fragrant teasing of perennial herbs huddles together near the fence.”

To get your hands on one of these beautiful issues and help support local environmental literature publications, click here.

Published: “Circumnavigation: The Revolutionary Way”

Honored to have my article “Circumnavigation: The Revolutionary Way” and photos published on Territory Run Co.’s website today. Excerpt below. These folks from Portland, Oregon, are doing wonderful things for the sport and aesthetic culture of mountain/trail running. Grateful to be a part of it. This piece is hinting at a much larger creative book/photography project I’m working on now, aiming for Summer 2016.

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“So, I ask: what is it about circumnavigation? What the hell difference does it make what shape your journey carves into the mountain, into the psyche?

Perhaps it’s just nicer not to backtrack. Maybe that’s it. Maybe circling something makes it easier not to get lost. Yet I would argue for more. I would argue that something happens when we move around things, not just through them or up them or into them or over them. As outdoor enthusiasts, as howling-wilderness-animal-yahoos, when we move and interact and dance in concert with our home, this planet, something just feels right. Something becomes calibrated. Aligned. I’m convinced that to complete such a circuit is to mimic greater ecological rhythms at play all around us–seasons, cycles, orbits, weather patterns, electrical circuitry. The list goes on.” Read the full article. 

Related links:

Website + Graphic Design for Camas Magazine

As co-editor of Camas Magazine, we are in our final week of accepting submissions. Recently, I’ve been dabbling into new worlds of the digital creative, designing a new website for the magazine and creating promotional materials (below). Also, here’s a recent blog update I wrote for Camas. Excerpt below. One more week; submit something! 2014camasposterfinalflat

Camas Magazine cultivates a community of writers and artists dedicated to promoting ecological and cultural diversity and resilience in the American West.

“…Emily and I both invited each editor to tape this mission statement to their binder, their mirror, and their forehead, because this is what anchors us, what holds us all together. It reminds us why Camas Magazine matters. We think it matters because the planet seems to be asking for honest voices to converse with, voices with varied backgrounds reflecting diverse perspectives–ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, those handi-capable, and many others. After all, these are the varied and true voices of the West.”

– Read the full post “An Invitation for Honest Conversation.” 

Circling the Massif: August in Tibet

Photos and poetry from the most remote, wild, and committed travel experience yet. 


Three weeks. 5,000 kilometers. Traveling overland across the entire length of Tibet. For the better half of August, I was fortunate to join a trip of 18 professionals, artists, spiritual leaders and explorers from five countries, guided by author, adventurer and art historian Ian Baker (The Heart of the World) into Central and Western Tibet.

I decided on this expedition for several reasons, but mostly to participate in and study the famous circumambulation of Mt. Kailash, considered by over a billion people to be the most sacred mountain on the planet.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Buddhist, Hindu, Bon, and Jain pilgrims make the demanding trip to Mt. Kailash to walk 30+ miles clockwise around the base of this 23,000ft Himalayan giant. For four days, we made the circumambulation around the mountain, then spent the remaining days exploring ancient Buddhist cave kingdoms, hot springs, and Everest Base Camp.

I am currently in the beginning phases of a book project // thesis idea on exploring this particular form of ritual and its relationship with the natural world, and this was the first research stop for the project. Here are some of the better images captured during my time there, along with a short poem, “Kailash,” at the end. More words coming. Lots of stories. The sheer magnitude of the land and the people and the heart of Tibet aren’t adequately represented in photo. I tried.



tibet13 Continue reading

“The Crossing” Short Documentary Film Debut

This might be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. So humbled and proud to finally share with you our short film, “The Crossing,” a 21-minute documentary about a protest I helped organize against open-pit gold mining in Baja, Mexico. Directing this film was so beautiful and difficult and time-consuming and…deeply fulfilling. The biggest ups to Mike and Alex (and Zoe!) at Ë Media. You took kindling and made a bonfire. So, here it is. I give to you, “The Crossing.” This will be only available for one month, as we will take it down at the end of August to submit to film festivals. Please watch when you have space, then share share share it with the world; I fiercely believe the planet needs more stories like these. Dedicated to all that remains untamed and free.

“The Crossing” © 2014 from Michael Hanich on Vimeo.