Writer, editor, explorer, lifelong learner. Social distancing expert since 1994, big fan of semicolons and Oxford commas. Think green.

“Life is a reality to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”

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Once upon a time, a traveler asked a shepherd “what kind of weather are we going to have today?” The traveler wanted to know what to expect; who wants foul weather to derail their travels, right?

The shepherd muttered: “the kind of weather I like.” Confused, the traveler responded: “How do you know it will be the weather you like?” Here, the shepherd taught the traveler an unexpected lesson. “Having found out, sir, I cannot always get what I like, I have learned always to like what I get. …


Expanding my analysis beyond America, with a sobering conclusion.

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Recently, I analyzed where exactly I could escape climate change within the United States. I picked three northerly regions and ultimately settled on the Upper Midwest as the best place to ride out the climate apocalypse we may face if the status quo persists.

ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine recently analyzed data from the Rhodium Group on how climate change will transform the United States.

You can find that handy analysis here. Its conclusions dovetail with mine.

But many of you wanted a more global perspective. So this time, instead of restricting myself to the United States, I’m zooming out to examine where around the world you can escape climate change. …


Climate change isn’t your fault, and you won’t solve it.

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Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Particularly in America, there’s a curious cultural veneration of the individual as the main agent of influence and change rather than the community. This is of course rooted in our history, or at least the whitewashed history we’re taught in school and then subconsciously carry in our conceptions of the world.

We defeated a tyrannical monarchy as a big underdog. Then, we fulfilled our Manifest Destiny and conquered the West, bulldozing our way across the mountains and prairies toward the ocean.

I’m simplifying here, but the point is, centuries of deeply embedded cultural norms reflect themselves in how we talk about the biggest problems we face, including climate change. …


You should care more about consuming consciously than not having kids or scorning others who do.

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Does the name ‘Malthus’ ring a bell?

In 1798, Thomas Malthus warned of an impending ecological trap driven by overpopulation. As he saw it, exponential population growth would override arithmetic growth in agricultural yields. He foresaw too many mouths to feed and not enough food to feed them. This became known as the Malthusian trap, and the Malthus philosophy has been the subject of vigorous debate ever since.

Six years after Malthus introduced his theory, the world population reached one billion. And 216 years after that milestone, we’re now hurtling toward a population of eight billion.

The overpopulation Malthus expected has indeed come to bear. …


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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Once upon a time, a 3-year-old boy watched enraged people lay siege to the city and country where he grew up. Their destruction served to terrorize and intimidate people like that 3-year-old boy. It served to tell them this place would not welcome them. It reflected a slow but steady drumbeat of escalating acts in an effort to purify the ethnic composition of the boy’s homeland and jeopardize the lives of those who did not conform.

That boy was born in 1935 in Berlin, Germany. He was a Jew and thus unwelcome in the Third Reich. He would never forget Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass when angry fascists reminded Jews like him that they saw them as subhuman scoundrels to be expelled from Germany or killed if they failed to comply. …


“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.” — Bob Parsons

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Taking control of your life is simple.

Don’t believe me? Read on.

I used the word “simple” instead of “easy” in the title for a reason. Simple and easy are not the same thing. If you’re in decent shape, running is easy. And running a marathon is simple. We evolved to run. We didn’t evolve to run 26.2 miles at a time. To accomplish the latter, you just need to repeat the former.

Likewise, taking control of your life is simple but not easy. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be reading pieces like this.

So, without further ado, here are four simple steps to taking control of your life. …


Recent events underline the cataclysmic physical threats posed by the most dangerous mass ideology of our times.

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Lately, we’ve all gotten a crash course in the dangers of white supremacy. The terrorist siege on the U.S. Capitol and the institutionalized enabling of insurrection to overturn a free and fair election reflects America’s long history with racism.

It feels like those dark forces are scarier than ever. It might feel like the collective craziness needed to storm the Capitol and fly the Confederate flag in the seat of our government is a new fad or confined to America.

White supremacy is a clear and present danger to America’s democracy. But it’s not new, and it’s not uniquely American.

Beyond the urgent need to safeguard our democracy, there remains another, even bigger reason to dismantle white supremacy: it is the biggest threat to the planet. …


“Travel is the best school; it has the best teachers because everything seen is a teacher; and this colorful school’s diploma is wisdom!” ― Mehmet Murat Ildan.

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A couple of years ago, I found myself stranded in a remote Utah canyon on a hot summer’s day. It was the first time I ever contemplated my mortality.

Let’s rewind a bit. I was exploring northeast Utah and had some time to kill. I knew about a remote canyon road with spectacular views of the surrounding desert and mountain scenery. I also knew the road was unpaved and windy, but I didn’t bother to do my homework.

A few miles into the drive, my rental car came to a natural stop from a mixture of sand and stone someone had carved into this canyon to make it traversable. Ahead of me was a giant boulder above the road, wedged between a high cliff on my left and a steep drop-off to my right. Under the boulder was a series of large stones and rocks strewn across and embedded into the road. …


Your desires don’t distinguish you. Your struggles do.

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Have you ever been asked to estimate something like how many ping pong balls could fit in a plane? Or how many windows there are in New York City? These sorts of questions are staples of management consulting or investment banking interviews.

In the 3rd century B.C., well before the advent of McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, Archimedes pondered one such question. He wrote an eight-page essay called The Sand Reckoner in which he estimated how many grains of sand could fit in the universe. …


“You can’t just declare yourself a climate refuge, you know. You’ve got to work and earn it.”

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The Rust Belt has sadly lived up to its gloomy moniker. Globalization and other economic trends did a number on the so-called Rust Belt, a swath of the United States extending from New York to Minnesota that was once dominated by manufacturing.

The Rust Belt has suffered economically, and the associated decline has had demographic impacts. People have left the region in droves, searching for warmer weather and better economic opportunities.

These trends began about a half-century ago. …

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