Courtney White


A former archaeologist and Sierra Club activist, Courtney White dropped out of the ‘conflict industry’ in 1997 to cofound the Quivira Coalition, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to building a radical center among ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and others around practices that improve economic and ecological resilience in western working landscapes. He served as Executive Director of Quivira for nearly fifteen years before becoming its Creative Director.


In 2012, he began writing books that focused on solutions to food, water, and climate challenges. This work embraced progressive cattle management, collaborative conservation, riparian restoration, land health, local food, grassfed meat, soil carbon, new agrarianism, resilience, and regenerative agriculture. In 2016, he left Quivira in order to concentrate on writing and a new project titled This Moment In Time.


Born in Philadelphia, Courtney grew up in Phoenix, earned a B.A. from Reed College and attended UCLA’s graduate school in filmmaking. He worked as an archaeologist for Arizona State University and the National Park Service. He moved to Santa Fe, NM, in 1992 – the same year that Wallace Stegner wrote a Foreword to his photography book The Indelible West.


He is the author of Revolution on the Range (Island Press), Grass, Soil, Hope (Chelsea Green), The Age of Consequences (Counterpoint Press) and 2% Solutions for the Planet (Chelsea Green). He is currently working on a new book titled The Threshold. He lives in Santa Fe with his family, one dog and two chickens.

The Jaguar’s Teeth

This is a biographical essay that describes my forty-year journey (so far) of question-asking and creativity. It begins with a snapshot I took of a Mayan ruin when I was thirteen years old, which lit a fire that has never gone out. The philosopher Socrates once said our mission in life is to “know thyself” – which is a lot easier said than done! Every life is an adventure and every path we follow a mystery; hopefully, I’ve been able to make some sense of mine.


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Westward Ho

In 1966, shortly before I turned six, I emigrated from Philadelphia to Phoenix in a covered station wagon, becoming part of a great flood of modern-day pioneers – dad behind the wheel, mom navigating, quarrelsome kids in the middle seat, dogs in the back…

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, went to college in Oregon and attended UCLA as a graduate student in filmmaking. By the time I turned thirty both of my parents had passed away. I hope to write a memoir about those heady days in Phoenix, but for now here’s an essay from the Age of Consequences.


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