April 29, 2013

Sentimental for Hippies: Olympia’s Species Parade

It’s a cross between Earth Day and Mardi Gras—without the booze or the plastic beads, and with specific instruction for butterflies, aardvarks, and polar bears not to throw candy into the crowd. That, of course, would be littering. And encouraging  kids to eat sugar. And supporting Big Corporations running factories in faraway places. The annual Procession of the Species in Olympia, Washington—which paraded through the streets of downtown for the 19th time last Saturday—is not about any of that. (more…)

April 14, 2013

John Muir: Not Just for White Folks


The John Muir Home in Martinez, California, surprised me.


The first surprise was the house itself: a high-style Italianate villa built in 1882, all bracketed eaves and bay windows, perched on a hilltop above what is now a four-lane commercial highway. If you’re used to thinking of John Muir as a pioneer conservationist you tend to think of him out in the woods or sleeping under the stars somewhere. A Victorian house with a cupola isn’t what first springs to mind. (more…)