Grazie Il Ramingos!

First, some news. Hot off the press, is a snippet from an upcoming review of the Midnight Rambler by Diane Donovan in the Midwest Book Review (full review out Feb 10). “Contrasts between Italian backdrops and culture and American perceptions and landscapes create realistic and thought-provoking scenarios as each of the characters finds themselves drawn […]

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Great Local Coverage of The Midnight Rambler

I was interviewed by the awesome podcast Minnesota Medleys about my debut novel and what I love about Minnesota. And our great local news outlet SW Voices did a preview here

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The Swine Republic

A Swine Republic Primer: Q and A with author Chris Jones

Dr. Chris Jones recently retired from the University of Iowa as a research engineer. A trained chemist, his tenure included penning an incisive blog series that took aim at water quality issues in Iowa. Because his writing was honest, accurate, and well-informed, it rubbed some powerful people the wrong way. You can read more about

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Toxic Tropes

About a year ago I started writing about how environmentalists were portrayed in scripted entertainment . In their new fall issue, Sierra Magazine allowed me to write 1,400 words on the subject for their Critic’s Notebook section. To that end, I put together some clips to visually demonstrate my point. Enjoy.

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Can Hollywood get beyond its stereotypical portrayals of environmentalists?

Previously published in Sierra Magazine Looking back, it seems the problem started with Ghostbusters. In the 1984 blockbuster comedy, William Atherton plays Environmental Protection Agency investigator Walter Peck. Alarmed by media reports about the Ghostbusters’ shenanigans, Peck stops by their headquarters, looking for “the presence of noxious, possibly hazardous-waste chemicals.” Ghostbuster Peter Venkman, played by Bill

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The Full Future

I Talk With the Creator of Apple TV+’s New Series on Climate Change Last week I had the opportunity to review Apple TV’s new climate change series Extrapolations for Sierra Magazine. The assignment included talking with show creator Scott Z. Burns. Burns is best known for producing An Inconvenient Truth and writing the scripts for Contagion and The Bourne Identity. Burns had a

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Future Imperfect

Apple TV’s new cli-fi series, Extrapolations, envisions a future that feels all too close to the present First published in Sierra Magazine. The year is 2037. Fires rage across the globe. Activists are protesting government gridlock on climate change as corporate CEOs defend their greed with arguments that a strong economy is worth a couple

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You Can’t Say Hollywood Doesn’t Recycle

Despite a Twister Remake, the Climate Crisis is Still Woefully Underrepresented Onscreen. A recent report created in partnership by the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center and Good Energy Stories contains sobering news. Only 2.8% of the 37,453 scripted TV shows and movies released between 2016 and 2020 mentioned climate change. Contrast that with a Pew poll showing two thirds of Americans

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New Mexico Environmental Crime Task Force

The Thin Green Line

New Mexico Convenes the State’s First Environmental Crime Task Force Environmental crime is on the rise both in America and worldwide. While the Biden EPA is doing its best to ramp up enforcement after the polluter-friendly Trump years, some states see a need to also bolster local eco-policing. “You can’t say you have the nation’s best ozone

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Was Yellowstone's John Dutton an Eco-Terrorist?

The fifth season of Paramount’s hit drama Yellowstone, started on Sunday. More popular than ever, it was the most watched scripted premier of 2022. The first two episode’s tension hinges on the historic Dutton Montana cattle ranch and the forces jockeying to take away patriarch John Dutton’s way of life. Coastal developers, Native American tribes

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Live Green or Die Hard

Experts weigh in on environmentalists’ negative portrayals in scripted entertainment. In early October I took a light-hearted look at the recent spate of green-minded comic book villains adapted for the big screen. The more I dug around, I found overwhelming evidence that environmentalist are often portrayed in scripted entertainment as the bad guy, a punchline,

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EPA logo

Welcome to the Inaugural Flower Power Roundup

A deep dive into the EPA’s Quarterly Crime Bulletin Maybe like me you were surprised to learn the US Environmental Protection Agency uses actual special agents to hunt down criminal polluters. “It’s traditional law enforcement in a non-traditional area,” former EPA Criminal Investigation Division Director Doug Parker told me for an investigation into biofuel fraud. “Some of us

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Finding Bigfoot's Ranae Holland

Finding Greenfoot

On the 55th anniversary of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Sasquatch film, I talk with Finding Bigfoot’s Ranae Holland. For ten years Ranae Holland co-hosted the hit show Finding Bigfoot on Discovery’s Animal Planet. Cast as The Skeptical Scientist opposite a trio of Squatch-believers, Holland used her scientific training to debunk evidence of the perennially elusive cryptid.  Less well-known is Holland’s

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Walter Peck Ghostbusters

We Don’t Need Another Green Anti-Hero

When was the last time a movie portrayed a fictional environmentalist as anything other than a villain, a punchline, a scold, or all three? Environmentalists can’t catch a break. Not in the literal sense. Not like how the ghoulish politicians responsible for the Flint water crisis escaped accountability for poisoning children with toxic lead. Or how a

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In August, the International Criminal Police Organization released a report on increased organized environmental crime. In their analysis, INTERPOL warned that “the organized crime-pollution crime nexus is a global phenomenon, involving a wide variety of perpetrators and organizational structures.” Based in Lyon, France, INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization. It’s also the only multi-national law

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EPA special agents

The Power Behind the Flower: EPA Special Agents 101

In my investigation of environmental crime — Grease thieves, corn oil and fraud: How biofuel scam artists bilked U.S. taxpayers of billions — I learned much about US Environmental Protection Agency special agents. Like other federal agencies, the EPA has its own police arm, known as the Criminal Investigation Division. EPA special agents are trained in the

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vinyl record

Vinyl Records’ Revival Threatens Environment and Health

Demand for vinyl records is soaring, but there’s something funky about this musical comeback – the energy and chemicals involved with producing the iconic circular discs creates pollution, adds to the climate crisis and may harm our health. But it’s not all sour notes, because some vinyl producers are experimenting with ways to make records

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