Will the bird that dodged a bullet pay the price of peace?

Blue-billed Curassow (Crax alberti) in Colombia's Aviario Nacional (national aviary) - Photo by Mike Shanahan

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The dark history and uncertain future of edible pink gold

The former shrimp farmer made me nervous. He was at least 6’4″ tall in his cowboy boots and he looked just like Pablo Escobar.

He was driving fast, taking me away from his grand gated mansion in a suburb of Ecuador’s port city of Guayaquil and towards a private airstrip and a plane he had built with his own hands.

They were the biggest hands I have ever seen. As they gripped the steering wheel he told me how another plane he had built had crashed a week earlier, killing his friend the pilot. “That’s life,” he said with a sigh. Continue reading

A challenge: To anyone who ever used the phrase “tree-hugger”

It was way past midnight in Montreal and on Rue Saint Hubert a blind-drunk man was weaving his way past my friends Marie-Josée and Diego as they waited for a taxi last week.

They told me the next day how the man had staggered up to a large tree and then hugged it intensely for a few seconds before meandering off into the night, unaware that anyone had seen him.

As we laughed about this private nocturnal meeting between man and nature, I thought about the phrase tree-hugger and the way people tend to use it to denigrate anyone who advocates a more sustainable way of living.

People who use the phrase seem to imply that a tree-hugger would value nature ahead of humanity — and that therefore their views are immediately worthless. But nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading