Many crystal mining operations are steeped in conflict and associated with appalling worker conditions and serious environmental degradation. Many collectors who are concerned with environmental impact and fair trade are seemingly unaware of this dark side – or perhaps they just don’t want to acknowledge it. There are alternatives.
Forests of bull kelp, with thick floating masses of brownish-green fronds, have been swaying in ocean waves along the Pacific coasts of the Americas for eons. This marine ecosystem, rich in fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds and seaweed, made it feasible for the earliest people to migrate by boat southward from Eurasia to South America. We know their route as the Kelp Highway.
Large populations of mammoths and mastodons once roamed the landscape, and their relatively young and well-preserved fossil remains are widely distributed. Notable traces of these giant animals have been found practically in my central California neighborhood.
Humans have always had a unique relationship with fire. Now, like many other changes that are occurring on our planet, fire is taking on new meanings. Across North America and Europe, and from the Amazon to the Arctic, wildfires have been erupting with unprecedented sizes and intensities. There is a name for this new age: the Pyrocene.
Iceland is a fabulous showcase for volcanoes. The easily accessible locations to view explosions of fiery lava and ash provide unusual opportunities for volcano-appreciators of all types, giving them ringside seats for the action. In the past few decades, there have been several spectacular volcanic performances. Attempting to control volcanoes is a major challenge, although people have tried, and even achieved success.