Naming Storms

To refer to a disaster by name is to be guided by an imaginative infrastructure that sets these events apart as exceptional. This reaffirms the normalcy that has been excepted. But disasters increasingly exceed our capacity to contain them in a title

The Great Offline

The concept of “the offline” is deeply enmeshed with that of “wilderness.” Both concepts offer a fantastical escape from the hazards of a globalized world. But in setting up a binary between the corrupted, digital self, and the pure, disconnected self, they both perpetuate a hazardous logic.

Nature Fakers

The transcendent view of nature — which severs the natural world from the world of human affairs — has long been standard in Western art and entertainment. This view makes it easy for us to neglect and exploit the world around us. In this moment, it is critical to engage with these representations, and imagine new ways of seeing in the Anthropocene.

All Skies Are Gray

This essay explores the chasm between the data-heavy objectivity of weather prediction apps and our experience of the weather day to day. Weather apps create a soothing aesthetic of reliable information, dulling the feelings of helplessness and uncertainty intensified by climate change.

Camera Traps

The natural world, just like the city, is rife with surveillance. The militaristic, colonial history this surveillance belongs to is not simply waived by the fact that it operates in a forest. Technologies for extracting data about the earth reproduce these systems, and target human beings.

Music for Plants

Quarantine sparked the idea that “nature is healing” in the outside world, but said less of domesticated nature, which thrives on human attention. The science of how plants interpret their surroundings through sonic vibration is uneven and somewhat haphazard, but the role of houseplants and music in the home take equal precedence: Music for plants is ambient sound for your living home, not just for you, but ultimately it’s all for you.

Animals Strike Curious Poses

The pandemic has given rise to animal media, specifically animal livestreams set up by zoos and aquariums, and “nature is healing” memes showing animals reclaiming space. These images allow a soothing contradiction that nature is “righting itself” and the threats we pose to it have been averted, while remaining entirely under human control.

Forest for the Trees

The idea of “returning” to nature, from the city, places nature in a silo — somewhere we go to, rather than something that is all around us, and on which we remain dependent despite our violent attempts at subjugation.

Look for America

Some are trying to shame photo takers at national parks, seeing their presence as ruinous. But photography was instrumental to the founding of the national park system, and documentation is essential to properly understanding the indigenous history of lands that many are now inclined to demote to empty scenery.

Natural Processes

A year ago, at Muir Beach, I had poked around some exposed tide pools while tripping, and, enthralled, decided to stare a sea anemone down with my desire for contact. After a few seconds, my brain felt very hot. I instinctively covered my eyes and became convinced contact had been made. The sea anemone’s message: “Get the fuck away from me.” The takeaway stuck: Not all life wants to be seen, or known.

World Domination

Rewilding is a term for a number of conservation techniques that involve the reintroduction of plants and animals to landscapes where they have been extirpated by human activity. Supposedly, it lets nature do its own restoration, but it is really just another extension of human power.