A a review of Eric Holthaus’s recent book, The Future Earth.

Eric Holthaus is an optimist.

Optimism is a tough take these days. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C suggested that allowing the world to warm more than 1.5° degrees would threaten human civilization. The best international tool we currently have to limit warming — a tool to which the United States is not currently a signatory — would still allow the world to warm a catastrophic 3.5°C, and even that could only be achieved if countries actually started meeting their commitments (we’re not even close). In short — the outlook is grim.

But Eric is an optimist…


An exploration of the author’s ecosophy through the work of Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer Arne Næss and grounded in the competing realities of life on British Columbia’s coast.

Author’s note: this is both more personal than my usual writing and perhaps more esoteric. I hope that, in addition to (ideally) being an interesting read, it can give a glimpse into the evolving worldview behind my work and lifestyle, and also that it can introduce others to the wonderful life and writing of Arne Næss. This essay was written as part of a Master’s program in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College.

The truck rattled up the bumpy dirt road on the edge of Squamish, British Columbia. “We could’ve hiked up here but it would’ve added a few hours,”…


The capital-W Wilderness designation in the US is a contentious topic in outdoor recreation circles because it dramatically curtails human activities — you can’t mountain bike, you can’t dirt bike, you can’t even set up a weather station for a research study. “Wilderness is not about you” is a common refrain among activists. It’s a powerfully protective designation and there’s no doubt that it shields landscapes from industrial development and other negative impacts of human interaction. But it’s rooted in a Eurocentric ideology that’s based in an erasure of Indigenous history and the reality of ecological systems. …


Someone brought up cross-laminated timber panels (CLT) the other day as a rationale for why we need to continue supporting the logging industry in British Columbia, Canada, where I live. I found myself saying, “yes, CLT is definitely an improvement over concrete, but it’s benefits for climate are actually not that clear cut.” Pun aside, it got me thinking about how often that “yes but” style critique comes up and how frustrating it must seem for the recipients. You build a hydropower project — but what about the fish? You make batteries for electric vehicles — but what about the…


The fact that we need large-scale government spending to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impacts is clear; how best to apply that spending is not. Do we continue with business support and low-interest loans? Do we continue individual-focused programs like the CERB and expanded employment insurance? And how do we best leverage this spending to support existing government priorities like building resilience and transitioning to a low-carbon economy?

One answer to these questions is a strategy of municipal land and property grants: give towns and cities access to and control over the resources within their boundaries, allowing them to…


If the COVID-19 pandemic will be known for one thing — other than the many deaths, large-scale suffering, and economic collapse — it will be known for the production of sourdough bread on a scale never before known to man. Google search trends reveal that sourdough queries spiked in the United States at the beginning of March and have been setting records for “most interest in the term sourdough” continuously since then. The sourdough craze is so ubiquitous that even talking about how ubiquitous it is has become a cliché. …


Facebook is removing groups, posts, and events to block the spread of anti-quarantine protests.

Try inserting “civil rights,” “climate activism,” “LGBTQ rights,” or any other number of causes into that sentence in place of “anti-quarantine” and then read it back to yourself. Now try inserting “anti-Facebook” into the sentence.

Anti-quarantine protests are dangerous and misguided; there is no doubt about that. They are also likely illegal in most of the states in which they’re occurring. But acts of civil disobedience are always illegal, regardless of the rationale. The actions Facebook is taking are not just censorship of “false news.” What…


On Monday, as documented cases continued to grow, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would be closing the Canadian borders — except to US citizens. Throughout the speech, he stressed that the government was basing its decisions on science and public health recommendations. A reporter asked him what scientific recommendations he was basing the decision to keep the US border open on. He replied, “We recognize that the level of integration of our two economies and coordination over the past while puts the U.S. in a separate category from the rest of the world.”

I’m not here to pass…


Advertising has a long, romanticized history, but at its core, it serves only to take away agency and freedom, to generate profit at great social cost, and to artificially inflate consumption. From Jon Hamm’s troubled charm in Madmen to the fact that racial epithets like “Aunt Jemima” are household names, we’ve turned the business of swindling fellow citizens and promoting an unsustainable culture of consumerism into an admirable career path.

We need to ban it.

At its core, advertising’s main goal is to manipulate individuals into specific actions — whether those are buying Bounty paper towels, drinking a Coke, or…


I went on a cycling trip in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan last summer and I regret going.

I don’t regret going because of the stunning mountainscapes, deserts, and rivers we rode past (and through). I don’t regret going because of the steep climbs, the cold nights, or the snowstorm that hit as we pushed our bikes up and over our last 13,000’ foot pass. I don’t even regret going because of the stomach bug I had for half the trip, or the goat eyeballs I ate out of politeness to a local family.

I regret going because I’d love to…

Op-Eds the New York Times Rejected

Writer. Adventure photographer. Web developer. Working to communicate global crises like climate change and to catalyze cultural evolution.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store