I lived in Manchester for the past year and explored North England's gorgeous countryside from there, but I also found time to squeeze in a couple of jaunts to nearby Wales.
The same tug-of-war between development and preservation that led to the passage of the Wilderness Act exists to this day. Every generation of Americans faces moments when we must choose between the pressures of the now and the hopes for the future.
In the recent dispute over whether a selfie can belong to a monkey, the monkey lost. The U.S. Copyright Office decided that the selfies a group of Indonesian macaques snapped belong to no one. Food for thought, but what seems to have been lost in this episode is another, larger issue -- how intelligent these and other creatures are.
Fifty years ago, the battle to create the magnificent Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in far northeastern Alaska inspired Congress to approve America's Wilderness Act, the law that has since protected millions of acres of some of our nation's most iconic and cherished wild places. The Arctic Refuge is, simply put, astonishing.
In many ways, American conservatism owes its existence and its longevity as much to the vast wilderness landscape that greeted our forefathers as it does to European thinkers like Edmund Burke and Adam Smith.
Sri Lanka has absolutely everything a traveler could want. Miles of sugary beaches lined with palm trees, wildlife reserves, ancient ruins that house massive Buddhas, historic colonial towns, a bounty of tropical fruits -- and it's safe.
A three hour flight due north from Oslo brought us to Longyearbyen, a pocket-sized town on the island of Spitsbergen. Flanked by over-powering, jagged mountains, a curvy, deep fjord was its umbilical cord to the Greenland Sea.
Only about 210 million acres of true wilderness remain in America. Roughly half of those have been protected under the Wilderness Act, but the rest remain vulnerable to the pressures of mining, logging, and especially energy development.
Despite the success of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America is not benefiting from its full potential. The law allows for $900 million to be used each year. Only rarely have annual funding levels approached that amount despite it being only a fraction of the billions oil companies pay in in royalties.
The Wilderness Act is a reminder of the importance of protecting and preserving our wild spaces -- in the United States and around the world. As I look forward to the next 50 years, I see amazing opportunities for conservation and discovery, and unprecedented risks and challenges facing our natural world.
There is an old saying: What you understand, you care for. What you care for, you love. What you love, you protect.
Through wildlife we remember that we, too, are a part of wilderness, even when are physically apart from it. So the truth is, no matter how far we go to try to separate ourselves from what is wild, we cannot ever truly reject that we need it.
It's early November, and I sit perched on the edge of a remote Adirondack lake. The afternoon sinks into evening much like it has for weeks, but faster, a sobering reminder that the crisp autumn air will soon give way to the bite of winter.
Looking above at recent temperature anomalies, much of the US is cooler than normal, but the eastern Pacific warm spot continues to prevent much rain from reaching California, which is hotter than normal.
Perhaps not surprisingly, people have been quick to snicker about the Napa earthquake, downplaying its severity. To some extent, this makes sense -- the area was lucky. But while it's easy to cast judgment from afar and say, it's important to remember that these buildings meant something to their inhabitants.
In 2013, I began giving a seed grant every single day of the year to a social change visionary with a practical plan to make their community and the w...