Author Wallace Stegner once said every book should try to answer an anguished question. During 30+ years, I’ve tried to answer a variety of anguished questions through my writing, photography, and activism ranging over the fields of archaeology, history, conservation, the radical center, regenerative agriculture, and climate change. Core questions emerged early: what is land for? How should we use it properly? How should we live? How do we bridge divides? How can humans and nature coexist?
Over the course of my lifetime, the human impact on Earth went from negligible to catastrophic. That meant anguished questions kept coming. Can we restrain ourselves? How do we build resilience? How will we feed so many people? What are the solutions to climate change? Today, the accelerating impacts of our activity mean these anguished questions have merged into one: What Is Earth For?
I’ve been creating artistic, right-brain responses to left-brain questions since I was thirteen years old when a long summer road trip through Mexico lit a fire that has never gone out. Mostly, I’ve responded with stories. Some are historical, some practical, some wishful, and some imaginary, but all express my restless curiosity, a deep sense of place, and a desire to make a difference.
I didn’t follow a prepared path. Chronically disposed to ‘coloring outside the lines’ I’ve produced work in many formats: two fine art photography projects ~ a history book ~ a peer-reviewed archaeology paper ~ two nonfiction books on solutions ~ a play ~ a nonprofit organization ~ three collections of essays ~ two blogs ~ three columns ~ a time-travel novel ~ a mystery series ~ two lectures ~ and a ton of ideas.
My work falls into two phases: A WEST THAT WORKS (1988-2005) is focused on archaeology, collaborative conservation, progressive ranching, and land use in the West. UNPATH’D WATERS (2005 to present) tackles resilience and other global concerns as we head into our unprecedented future.