Skip to content
Grist home
Support nonprofit news

Articles by Biodiversivist

My real name is Russ Finley. I also have my own blog called Biodiversivist, which contains articles in addition to those submitted to Grist. I live in Seattle, married with children. Suffice it to say that although I am trained and educated as an engineer, my passion is nature. I very much want my grandchildren to live on a planet where lions, tigers, and bears have not joined the long and growing list of creatures that used to be.

All Articles

  • An outright thumbs down

    The ads combined with the Indian proclivity to combine slightly askew English phrases made this article an interesting read. It also highlighted the fact that India is losing the battle to save its biodiversity, thanks in part to the human male's residual instincts to demarcate territory.

  • Attempts to introduce new species to city ecosystems are often doomed to failure.

    An article in Pacific Northwest Magazine discussing Seattle's recurrent Canada goose problems got me thinking. Cities are primarily for people, and they have their own microenvironments. Some animals and plants thrive inside these ecosystems, and some do not. Creatures that can live among us already do. Attempts to introduce other species to please our sensibilities will more often than not turn into expensive failures or chronic damage-control exercises.

  • Farming in an age of global labor and developing world poverty.

    I ran into Andy Brett scavenging for material over on Biopolitical's blog not too long ago. I had beaten him to the punch on this one and he generously conceded the topic to me. I then went on vacation and am just now getting around to finishing it.

    Nature (which I subscribe to but have not read yet) published essays from a number of African leaders on the topic of the now-completed G8 summit. One of the contributors, Anthony Nyong from Nigeria, had this to say:

    Poverty is a major cause of environmental degradation and causes people to live unsustainably. Take deforestation: people who cut down trees don't do it for fun: it is a bid to survive. Much of the rural population depends on wood as fuel for domestic energy and cooking. Faced with the need to survive, people even have to encroach on protected forests and game reserves. It is unfair and impractical to think that force can prevent this.

  • Young biodiversivists

    I just spent six days in a tent with my family. This was part of an annual event where we gather at a lake resort on the dry side of the mountains with several other families for a week of communing with nature (bullshitting and lounging around).

    An unusual amount of rain has created an explosion of flowers, quail, and voles. The voles are feeding a lot of other creatures, like owls, coyotes, and snakes. I videotaped four snake species (rubber boa, garter, racer, bull), two of which were in the process of eating voles.