Amid an early-morning smoky haze, a man cleans the forecourt of Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Jan. 5. (Lukas Coch/Reuters)

Songs for when the world is burning

Last week I was tasked with selecting a song to play during an environmental communications guest lecture at the University of California, Los Angeles. A song to summarize the world burning. Finding anything at all that adequately speaks the unprecedented crisis and tragedy that my country is living through was quite a task. My first […]

LA River x LA Breakfast Club

Early next Wednesday morning (August 14, 7 am, at Friendship Auditorium on Riverside Drive), I’m delighted to be the guest speaker at the 94 years old Los Angeles institution that KCET has crowned the “strangest club in Los Angeles,” the Los Angeles Breakfast Club. If you’re up for LA River stories, with a generous side […]

How to arrive

Moving to a new city is a big deal. Even when it’s to an exciting shiny new place, there are all kinds of challenges that arise – logistical, existential, social, financial. I know it. In 2018 I stacked the must-keep belongings from my abundant Australian life, much like jenga rods, into a cramped 25-foot storage […]

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 If you […]

Doing things now

This week a remarkable man, a pillar of my home town community and someone I utterly adore, slipped from this life. The irony of one of the biggest-hearted and most-alive human beings you’ve ever known having a heart attack and dying is just the start of it. There is a lot to say, and at […]

Fortunes and life

A few years ago, because curiosity took me there, I slowed my usual pace through the tunnel at Central Station and sat on a milk crate next to an old, old woman who promised me that my fortune was inscribed in my face and on my hands. Her name was Amy and she was 92. […]