Politics Aside: We Must All Be Mothers of Nature

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
-Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead

Albatross DepartureLate last year, at the same time the Presidential election results shook the nation, the majestic Laysan albatross started returning to Kaua‘i. They dropped their spatula-like feet and touched land after months of knowing only air and wind and a wet, watery world. As of November 8th, six had returned to the colony I monitor, here to meet up with their partners and start the creation of another generation of majestic flyers. I knew a bit of history about five of them. I knew this because of the bands around their legs. Read more

Malama Monk Seal Voyage #12: Kilo’s Adventures Continue

I stood in the coffee aisle at Costco a few weeks ago with tears in my eyes. It wasn’t the price of coffee that made me cry. It was an email.

Ordinarily, I don’t read emails when I’m shopping, but I was on deadline for a story and waiting to hear from a source. That source—Dr. Michelle Barbieri who is the veterinarian with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program—just happened to be on a ship with limited Internet access that was plying the waters around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and I’d set up phone alerts for Michelle’s emails. Read more

Are Hawaiian Monk Seals (Finally) Gaining Respect?

She’s not the prettiest seal. It’s neither the doe eyes nor the Buddha smile that draw you to her. It’s the scars.

I’ve always said 17-year-old K30 is the poster child of threats to monk seals. After the events of this week, now more so than ever. Read more

Holy Mōlī: Albatross and Other Ancestors

In the days before Cook introduced Hawai‘i to the world and an onslaught of foreigners arrived. Back in the days before the old religion was abolished and missionaries arrived on scene. I’ve read that winged creatures represented messengers of the gods, because, unlike mere humans, birds can fly to great lengths and heights. Places far over the sea. Places high in the mountains, where as the scientific phenomenon known as the orographic effect explains, that are often shrouded in mist and clouds and a sense of the ethereal. Birds can easily mix between the mortal and immortal. Read more