Category Archives: Gaia

Devices and Desires Redux: The Facebook Follies

Devices and Desires Redux

The Facebook Follies

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by Farwell Forrest | March 21, 2018

A bitter harvest? It sure sounds like it. A swelling chorus of insiders are affirming what we’ve long suspected, that Facebook is harvesting the most intimate details of our (once) private lives and then turning a blind eye when their lovingly curated data is used to target political ads and influence the outcome of national elections. Facebook’s flacks deny this, of course. But maybe you don’t find their “hear no evil, see no evil” shtik convincing. (We certainly don’t.) Or maybe you’re simply tired of letting a bourse of billionaires decide what you should read and see and do. If so, why not “go commando”? Drop Facebook, leave tweeting to the birds, and start rediscovering the real world, in all its untidy, unfiltered splendor.

That’s where we come in. Back in the Same Boat and Tamia Nelson’s Outside and are celebrations of freedom—freedom to go where YOU want, do what YOU want, and see what YOU want. Canoeing, cycling, hillwalking… They’re all about freedom. You don’t need wi-fi. You don’t even need gasoline. Just shut off your smartphoneRead more »

Kicking the Bucket List

A Declaration of Independence

Kicking the Bucket List

As flash mobs assemble on lonely summits and “binge hiking” enters the working newshound’s vocabulary, it’s time to take a closer look at the bucket list. Is it a benign phenomenon, just the latest New Big Thing to engage the attention of a networked nation desperately seeking diversion? Or is it something else — a final breach in the last wall protecting wild places, say? Farwell opts for the latter alternative. And today he makes his case.

by Farwell Forrest | January 26, 2018
Originally published, in somewhat different form, on July 4, 2017

I‘ll be the first to admit that Oscar Wilde isn’t one of my favorite authors. A flamboyant egoist, he epitomized camp a century before camp was cool, and his personal life was a tortured, untidy muddle that ended in tragedy. But I can’t deny that he had a way with words. And when, in reading “The Critic as Artist” for the first time not so very long ago, I came across Wilde’s plaint that “the old roads and dusty highways have been traversed too often[, and] their charm has been worn away by plodding feet,” my thoughts turned immediately to … Read more »

In the Midst of Death… What Good is a Dead Tree?

In the Midst of Death…

What Good is a Dead Tree?

The Others have an answer to the question in the title. But is anyone listening? Tamia is.

by Tamia Nelson | October 10, 2017

A Tamia Nelson Article on

The Expert looked at his watch, and gave his companion a thumbs-up. The job wouldn’t take long. A flight of finches exploding into the air. Neither man noticed. The Expert eyeballed the old pine. He didn’t see the red squirrel clinging to the trunk. He saw only the brown needles and the bare limbs.

“What good is a dead tree?” the Expert asked, not expecting an answer. His companion knew the question was purely rhetorical. And he marked the pine for removal.

The two men thought they were alone. But they were wrong. And the Others who were present did their best to answer the Expert’s question. He wasn’t listening, though. Perhaps he never had. In any case, his companion was anxious to get going. Time is money, after all, and the Expert had more trees to condemn.

Yet the dissenting voices of the Others continued to make their case, long after the Expert had gone. It’s too bad that the expert and his companion … Read more »

The Man Who Wasn’t There… Keeping Wild Things Wild is Up to Us

The Man Who Wasn’t There…

Keeping Wild Things Wild is Up to Us

Backcountry wanderers and campers walk a thin line in our dealings with the furred and feathered natives on whose doorsteps we camp. We want to be accepted by them, but we also want them to know their place and keep their distance, and it’s much harder to strike the right balance than it used to be. But it’s up to us to help the wild creatures stay wild.

by Tamia Nelson | June 1, 2015

A Tamia Nelson Article on

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away…
—Hughs Mearns, Antigonish

Ah, wilderness! The annual flight from the cities and suburbs is about to get under way in earnest. Soon many popular waterways will boast their own traffic jams, as canoes and kayaks jostle tentatively with darting jet-skis and lumbering party barges. Lighting out for the territory just ain’t what it was in Huck Finn’s day. But some things don’t change. Beyond the boundaries of the tent-cities now springing up in established campsites—the line of demarcation is easily identified by the sudden and unexpected appearance of lower … Read more »