Yet another reason to keep a nature journal

November 9th, 2008
A recent article in the New York Times reminds us that writing about nature has value far beyond the pleasure that comes from discovering and sharing the beauty, drama, and engima of the lives that go on quietly alongside our human world.  Henry David Thoreau, who is best known for writing Walden, an account of the two years he spent living alone in the woods near Walden Pond, has left an unexpected bounty for scientists by keeping notes on the plant life he observed in his neighborhood.  In 1851, Thoreau began making notes on when and where plants flowered near Concord, in preparation for a book he was writing on the seasons.  Now scientists are using those notes to track the disappearance of species in the area, as well as plants’ response to climate change.In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Harvard University and Boston University reported that 27 percent of the species documented by Thoreau have vanished from Concord and 36 percent are present in such small numbers that they probably will not survive for long.  Strange isn’t it, to think that the things we write today may be used to tell those who come after us what life was once like?

Writing to Change the World

September 6th, 2008

There are lots of good reasons to write. But the most important reason now, if you ask me, is to save the things you love. So much that’s rare and uniquely beautiful in the natural world is endangered. If we want to change that, we’ll have to change ourselves – and  tell others.

Writing is powerful. No doubt about it. It can touch peoples’ hearts and move them into action; it can open their eyes and  their minds. The act of writing even changes the writer, from the inside out.

Your words are powerful – more than ever before, because there are so many new ways of getting your message out.  It’s asking a lot to change the world, but maybe if we all work together we can do it – word by word.