Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon

Until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the Amazon Rainforest was incapable of sustaining large scale human development.  New findings have challenged this view, and evidence of ancient agriculture suggests that humans once developed this fragile region in ways so subtle that – in the form of carefully managed soils and prehistoric orchards – they have been hiding in plain sight all this time, challenging the basic tenants of “agriculture” as western eyes tend to recognize it. Continue reading “Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon”

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The Andes, the Inca, the Spanish, and the Making of Modern South America

Continue reading “The Andes, the Inca, the Spanish, and the Making of Modern South America”

A Guided Tour of Bolivia, 2016.

Continue reading “A Guided Tour of Bolivia, 2016.”

July 12-14, 2016: Life on the River

I’ve dreamed about seeing the Amazon since I was a boy.  In the early 90s, I remember there being a great deal of talk about how quickly it was disappearing, and I remember an abiding fear that it would be gone someday soon.  Let alone, that I might ever travel there myself – it seemed so inaccessible, that the best I could hope for was to read about it in books.  Travel was something that other people did. Continue reading “July 12-14, 2016: Life on the River”

July 11, 2016: Live from Deep in the Amazon

I am writing you from Iquitos, Peru, a muddy, rough and tumble town deep in the Amazon.  I’m looking out at the river as I write this actually.  It’s the closest I’ve ever felt to the end of the world…  there is no road through the rainforest to this city…  the only access is by river or by air, and it feels just slightly off.  Like everyone is on their own.  Everything is crumbling in the oppressive heat and humidity, and while it feels like anything could happen, it probably won’t, because, you know, the resigned shrug of an insignificant frontier town. Continue reading “July 11, 2016: Live from Deep in the Amazon”