Vibrant Environment

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In one of the most famous speeches in American history, President John F. Kennedy implored his fellow Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I’m borrowing JFK’s words to illustrate how I approach restoration: Ask not what the land can do for you—ask what you can do for the land. This maxim evokes something greater than oneself that deserves respect, service, and ethical treatment.  For JFK, it was country. For me it is the land, or to be more accurate, an ecosystem.

Wetlands Nebraska

Having worked to conserve Nebraska’s wetlands over the past 30 years, and in honor of National Wetlands Month, I have been reflecting on what factors make wetland conservation successful. Thanks to the collaboration of many different partners, including landowners, we can be proud of the accomplishments made in wetland research, restoration, and management. To build on these successes, I believe it is important to broaden the network of people who understand wetlands and support their conservation. To do this, we need to expand and improve our outreach and education efforts.  

Timeline depicting the U.S. Supreme Court's environmental regulation rulings.

Today’s Supreme Court is, to borrow a phrase from a recent discussion, reshaping American life. It’s doing so across numerous areas of law, prompting commentators, professionals, and everyday citizens to adapt to a rapidly evolving legal landscape.

Scott Fisher NWA

He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauā ke kānaka.  This frequently spoken ʻōlelo noʻeau, or proverb, succinctly sums up the Hawaiian view on the human relationship to our environment: the land is the chief, and people are the servants. Traditionally, wetlands in particular were revered as agriculturally productive lands where the elder sibling of the Hawaiian people and staple of life, kalo (taro), was grown.

Wetlands Month

Wetlands are critical ecosystems that provide important benefits for people and wildlife. They provide flood protection, resilient infrastructure, carbon storage, increased water quality, and are integral to the culture and economy of local communities. The urgency of preserving these important resources is only heightened by the reality of climate change.

clean stream
1969 was an important year for the environment. A number of headline-making environmental crises that year, including the Santa Barbara oil spill, the Cuyahoga River fire, and deadly smog in cities from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, raised the profile of environmental degradation and led to public outcry for a healthy and safe environment. Barry Commoner, a leading ecologist and early environmentalist, famously described this period as one where “the heavens reek, the waters below are foul, children die in infancy”.
Bird in fence

Communities living near chemical plants—on the “fenceline” in policy parlance—cannot continue to be exposed to cancer causing toxic emissions.

Fishing on Mud Lake

How we communicate about our environment matters just as much as what we communicate if we want our message to be heard. ELI Press’ new book, Mud Lake, reaches out to a broad audience, from middle schoolers to senior citizens, by incorporating illustrations and universal adventure stories of how kids engaged with natural areas during the 1960s. The book is filled with narrations about sights, sounds, feelings, and smells that spark fond memories for anyone who may have experienced similar landscapes during their youth.

Plant-based proteins

Cities have an outsized carbon footprint and are on the frontlines of adapting to climate change impacts. Rising to the challenge, many cities have developed climate action plans (CAP) that include measures that can be taken to achieve targeted greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.


With violent conflict on the rise around the world, the contexts in which international institutions—including the World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)—support environmental and development interventions are increasingly characterized by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV).