Thesis snippets: the saving grace of water

Water has been the river’s saving grace. This may seem obvious, rivers and water are surely inextricably linked. So let me be a little more precise. The visible manifestations of water, and the life enabled by them, have allowed the Los Angeles River to survive extreme human alteration. Acres of concrete, without water, are just […]

Thesis snippets: Paint, Cats, and the L.A. River

I meet Leo Limon beneath the crisp winter sun in a tiny pocket park at the end of Oros Ave in Frogtown.[1] The pocket of land is called Steelhead Park, in recognition of the river’s indicator species, a trout that was last seen in the waterway in January of 1940.[2] We had planned to meet at the […]

Thesis snippets: on closeness

We live in the shadow of a western philosophical legacy that has us convinced of humankind’s separateness from the rest of the world, rather than our integration, entanglement and kinship with it. This has real, and dire, ecological consequences. As William Cronon argues By imagining that our true home is in the wilderness, we forgive […]

Thesis snippets: how we write ourselves on landscapes

Roderick Nash, one of environmental history’s foremost scholars, recalls telling a college student that rather than devoting the semester break to scholarly reading, the time would be far better spent exploring the landscape.[1] Nash was convinced, as am I, that observing, questioning and considering places – and the impacts of human beings – would allow […]