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The Fog of Memory

The Beautiful Unseen: Variations on Fog and Forgetting
By Kyle Boelte
Soft Skull Press, 2015, 156 pages

About a third of the way into his haunting, elegant memoir, The Beautiful Unseen, author Kyle Boelte makes something of a confession: “I’m not sure chasing fog makes any sense. What do I hope to accomplish? Besides, I’ve tried chasing after it, and chasing doesn’t seem to work.” The memoir is among the most confessional forms of writing, and so the lines don’t come as a surprise so much as a confirmation…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

Hiding in Plain Sight

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, and online, ivory carvings are easy to buy.

After an elephant is shot and killed somewhere in Africa, after the tusks are chainsawed off of its face, after the ivory is smuggled through Indian Ocean ports, then crafted in a Hong Kong studio, to be smuggled once more across the Pacific and then secreted past US border inspections – after all of that, some of the world’s illegally trafficked ivory ends up among the curio shops of San Francisco’s Chinatown.…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

Blood Ivory

In mid-April a northern white rhinoceros named “Sudan” was placed under 24-hour armed guard at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Sudan is one of a kind – literally. He is the only remaining male of his subspecies, which now includes just six animals. If he dies without first mating with one of two females he shares a pen with, the northern white rhino will disappear from the planet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t require much…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

The Green Energy Revolt

Demand for clean energy crosses ideological lines

This story originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of The Progressive. Debbie Dooley is mad as hell.  Since 2012, the fifty-six-year-old grandmother and former IT consultant has been waging a fierce grassroots battle against her home state utility, Georgia Power, to…
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by: Jason Mark – May 13, 2015

Letter from California

Field notes on a state in drought

This story originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of The Progressive. This was the year without a winter.  In January, not a single drop of rain fell in the San Francisco Bay Area, the first time such a thing has happened…
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by: Jason Mark – May 12, 2015

You Shall Not Pass

Goldman Environmental Prize winners lay their bodies on the line to halt destructive practices

When Marilyn Baptiste, chief of the Xeni Gwet’in community of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation in British Columbia, was told by two members of her tribe that a long line of trucks and heavy equipment was headed into the nation’s territory, she knew…
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by: Jason Mark – April 20, 2015

Weeds – They’re What’s for Dinner

Urban foraging could help boost nutrition in food deserts, researchers say

A few summers back I was in the middle of coordinating the weekly community harvest at San Francisco’s Alemany Farm when a few of our regular “customers” showed up to cut and collect some of the bounty. A lot of the farm’s…
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by: Jason Mark – April 8, 2015

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