Moving Through India’s Traffic at a Whisper

For Americans, the automobile horn is emergency equipment, deployed to avoid collision or express road rage. For Indians, the horn is more of a conversational tool, used by everyone — and I mean everyone — as they jostle in traffic. The racket is deafening. One wonders if the Indian motorist is some sort of terrestrial bat, navigating with ears instead of eyes. [...]

Learning to Whitewater Kayak on the Potomac

The East Coast isn’t know for its heart-pumping outdoor adventure sports, but whitewater kayaking is something that Washington, D.C. does very well. In this story, I explain a foray into whitewater kayaking in a way that I hope is both amusing and instructive. [...]

A Controversial Post: Can Tidal Power Create Enough Jobs to Save a Dying Town?

A post I wrote for Forbes about tidal power in Maine has generated some controversy among the people of Eastport. [...]

Video: Best Green Roofs in New York

In August 2011, I visited New York City in search of its most interesting and attractive green roofs. Here are the best in one entertaining video slideshow. Based on research and visits, I believe the five sites captured here represent the best green roofs in New York, and by “best” I mean I the most unique, diverse and beautiful. If there is a fabulous planted roof in New York that I missed, or another unforgettable spot elsewhere in the country that deserves attention, please let me know in the comments. [...]

A Visit to India’s Largest Wind Plantation

At the southernmost tip of India lies the Muppandal Wind Farm, the biggest source of wind energy in India and one of the largest in Asia. I drove through it by accident a few days ago and and can report that Muppandal is as curious and multilayered as India itself. [...]

How India Puts Itself on a Power Diet

On a recent trip to India, I came to understand one reason why India’s per-capita electricity consumption is 15 times less than that in the United States. [...]

Me on KQED: Wilderness Yes, Cellphones No!

The piece, “Wilderness Calling,” is part of KQED’s Perspectives series, where regular people make their best case on a topic of the day. While some might question if I’m a regular person, I have formed an emphatic opinion about the growing use of cellphones in the great outdoors, based on a jarring experience I had in Yosemite National Park last summer. Listen to the whole thing below. [...]

The Ocean: Best of Times, Worst of Times

Today I visited Washington, D.C. to cover the Blue Vision Summit, a gathering of ocean scientists and ocean activists, and rarely have I been so depressed and inspired in the space of a single speech.

Roger Payne addresses the Blue Vision conference.

That speech was the keynote by Roger Payne, the biologist who discovered [...]

India: A Nation on the Move

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The Wastewater Chronicles, Part III

What does it smell like in a wastewater treatment plant? Not as bad as you might think. A powerful chemical-detergent smell pervades, masking something the nose can’t quite identify.

These “climber screens” are the first line of defense, where things like rags and sticks are taken out.

Once through [...]