History is as much about the present as it is about the past. Historical thinking involves connecting our present to a continuity that has been going on for millennia.
1980 we spent the entire year, all twelve months, on the avocado ranch. It was our magical time in paradise. We were alive then with youth, not quite knowing how happy we were.
America has long been confused about whether nature is for us to adore and enjoy, or for us to profit from. This confusion has been painfully clear in our divisive attitudes toward national parks.
Has American exceptionalism ran its course? Perhaps we can become a nation of caring rather than a nation of conquest.
The Bear River Massacre occurred in the same month as Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation; killing Indians had a strategic purpose in the war to end slavery.
Border walls are rooted in a colonial way of thinking about territory that has been fundamental to American claims to land. Even George Washington suggested that we needed one.
Cars have been both a blessing and a curse for national parks. They are how most of us get to the places we love, but they also hurt the places we love.
Raping the land is intimately connected to raping bodies. I say #MeToo for every acre falling to the rapacious frenzy of land-hungry profiteers.
National parks and the entire history of American environmentalism originate in the same traditions that produced much of evangelical Christianity in America.
Religion provided the foundations of education in nineteenth-century America. It motivated literacy and provided the means by which so many Americans learned to read and to think critically.