A field guide to love and the Los Angeles River

The shortest version of my PhD is “It’s about loving a concrete river!” My next briefest version is “This thesis is a contemporary environmental history that reshapes understandings of how people interact with the rest of nature in urban landscapes.” And, for the keen folks, the entire thesis is now available online at http://hdl.handle.net/10453/123262 If you […]

Thesis Snippets: Rivers and making better

Restoration isn’t about taking a riverscape back to a set point when all was well, as is the popular view of restoration. It isn’t fixing up. It isn’t undoing what was done. Rather, it is about changing the direction in which a river’s becoming moves, by intervening in both the geomorphic and socio-cultural landscapes of […]

Thesis snippets: who are you, Los Angeles?

The interplay of perfection and imperfection has long characterised writing about Los Angeles. In a guide to the city in the 1930s, the project supervisor John D Keyes promised a publication which aimed ‘to present Los Angeles truthfully and objectively, neither glorifying it or vilifying it.’ He goes on to lament that ‘for many decades […]

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 […]

A short guide to being human

I cried this morning. Yesterday, when the photograph of tiny asylum seeker Aylan Kurdi dead on the shorefront appeared across world media I raged with anger. But this morning, I looked some more, and I just wept. What kind of humans are we? What kind of humans lock down borders to fellow humans fleeing the horrors […]

The mysteries of life…and water kefir

Life is replete with mysteries. They make conversations rich and adventures possible. Mysteries get me up in the mornings, and they soothe me to sleep at night. Right now, one of the world’s little mysteries is bubbling and fizzing away quietly on my bench top: water kefir, on its second fermentation. It’s a mystery because […]