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Thrills, Spills, and Seabirds in the Subantarctic

This is Part Three of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin.” See Part One and Part Two. Endangered (by) Sea Lions Alternate title: Mom, Don’t Read This One 11 November 2017 Chambres Inlet Imagine you’ve sailed 300 miles south of New Zealand to a subantarctic island. You’ve been dropped off by dinghy before sunrise in a secluded cove,…

Understanding Identity and Kyrgyz Cultural Values Through Food

Food is not just something we eat to enjoy and to give us nourishment; it is also a powerful tool through which we can view and begin to understand other cultures. Every culture brings its own cuisine to the world’s culinary table and each of these dishes tell a story. From the ingredients, we can…

Penguins Wanted

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin, Part Two (See Part One) The Search 8 November 2017 Port Ross and Enderby Island It was cold and clear and very dark when six hardy souls climbed over the ship’s rail and down into the little dinghy, surging up and down against Evohe’s hull. Hamish the helmsman yanked the engine into…

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin

The latest numbers say that yellow-eyed penguins are still heading toward extinction on mainland New Zealand. Their only other breeding habitat is a handful of islands hundreds of miles to the south. In this four-part story I join a surreal voyage to the all-but-inaccessible Auckland Islands, where we’re trying to find out how this gravely endangered penguin is faring in the…

Through the Mountain Pass

I’m sitting in a shared taxi en route to Talas, the region to the west of Bishkek. The sun is descending and night is falling. The inside of the taxi is dark – the only light coming from the small screen hanging from the roof playing Russian pop music videos. All I can see outside…

Residual Fragments of Past Lives

Residual Fragments of Past Lives (Patagonia’s Untold Stories) Decaying fragments hang from the cavity’s roof as streaks of viscous dark red liquid meander down its sides. The peculiar scent of extracellular digestion from fungal mycelia impregnates the stale air. I force myself into the cramped cavity to further investigate. With only half of my body…

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas

Fragmentos Residuales de Vidas Pasadas (Historias no Contadas de la Patagonia)   Con solo la parte superior de mi cuerpo dentro de la estrecha cavidad, miro hacia arriba con asombro. El sonido del silencio es abrumador. Fragmentos en descomposición cuelgan del techo de la cavidad, mientras un viscoso líquido color magenta escurre por sus lados.…

A Parable of Refugees, or a History That Is True

I want to take you back nearly 80 years, to Mexico City in 1939, when Lázaro Cárdenas, a revolutionary-turned-politician, sat in the president’s seat and made a decision that no other president in the world would make. Across the Atlantic, the Spanish Civil War had come to a brutal end. The Republicans had fallen. General…

Can You “See” Me Now? Making Trash Visible through the Arts

It’s an open secret. I love Taiwanese milk tea. For ten years, I’ve had the same large, iced, half-sugar, no boba milk tea in teahouses across California. I never really noticed what the milk tea came in—the plastic cup, plastic cover, plastic straw were all just part of the experience. Out of habit, I drank…

‘It Wasn’t a Very Happy Childhood’: Rediscovering the Spanish Children of Morelia

Two years ago, we moved my grandmother. In the span of her lifetime, it was one migration among many. As a child, she had been moved from Spain to Mexico, to flee the Spanish Civil War. In 1937, she was put on a boat, called the Mexique, along with 456 other children: the Niños de Morelia. In 1937,…

A Krill’s-Eye Video of New Zealand Seabirds

Music video or science documentary? This is both! We took a GoPro-rigged buoy out into New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf, where multitudes of hungry seabirds were tracking swarms of fish and krill just below the surface of the sea. Featuring Darlingside‘s “The Ancestor” from the album Birds Say. Underwater footage courtesy of the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust.…

The Short Yet Dramatic Lifecycle of The Patagonian Flightless Crane Fly

Flightless (Patagonia’s Untold Stories) It has finally pushed itself through the entangled root mats. Months of development feeding on wet detritus have come to an end. It will now emerge as a full-fledged adult. The upper portion of its body hangs perpendicular to the rock wall, exposed to the elements. It begins to break free…

Exploring Identity in Kyrgyzstan

To be 26 years old – an age between young adulthood and actual adulthood and a time when many begin to ask themselves questions like “who am I?” “what defines me?” “where am I going?” more frequently. As a 26-year-old, I ask myself these questions everyday, usually 20 times a day before noon, as does…

Diving In… to the World of Food Waste

The phone call came as a surprise. I didn’t expect anyone to have my phone number, let alone call me. It was my eighth day in Taiwan, sixth day with a SIM card, and second time at a Louisa Coffee. I didn’t even have my cell memorized – something with a 0935… 74? The order…

Bikepacking The Abandoned

My bicycle is knee deep in mud. The snowline on the nearby mountains is closer than the previous day. The abandoned track has been softened by the stomping of cattle. After an hour of pushing my loaded bike half a mile through the mud, I begin the task of setting up camp. The only suitable…