Skip to content
Grist home
Support nonprofit news

Articles by Deborah Knight

Deborah Knight is a freelance writer living in San Diego. She writes primarily about environmental topics.

Featured Article

Joy Grant was born in a house with no indoor plumbing in the tiny Central American country of Belize. That was 52 years ago. Last year, she accepted one of the top positions at the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy. For both parties, the marriage is a calculated gamble.

Joy, oh, Joy.

Photo: Deborah Knight.

I spent a morning with Grant recently in Belize City. Her voice has a throaty roughness to it, softened by the Belizean Creole lilt. She founded Programme for Belize, a private nonprofit conservation organization that during her 12-year tenure acquired 300,000 acres of forest land — 4 percent of the country.

Impressive as that was, the organization operated in a country the size of Massachusetts with an annual budget of just $2.5 million. The Nature Conservancy, by contrast, is a $250 million-a-year organization, and Grant was brought on as program director for one-third of its global operations: the U.S. mid-Atlantic and southern states, the Carribean, and Central America. “I had to think about that,” she said, “moving onto the world stage.”

To show me her roots, Grant drove... Read more

All Articles

  • An INS project threatens Southern California lands

    On a sunny afternoon in Southern California, a Border Patrol agent watched as a man climbed the metal fence that divides the beach between the U.S. and Mexico. When the man dropped onto U.S. sand, the agent yelled, and the man’s friends hauled him back over to the other side of the fence. The fence […]

  • Threatened sea turtles find allies in Baja

    To be an endangered sea turtle near Punta Abreojos on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula is to be a lucky animal. In this remote fishing village, the local fishing cooperative cracks down on any member caught with a turtle. For the first offense, you lose fishing privileges for three months, and must instead don a hairnet and […]

  • Species to be bred in captivity and released back to the wild

    In the latest initiative by developers to go green, a consortium of builders has created the “Condo Restoration Fund.” Condos, which once ranged freely over the California landscape, are now being displaced by red-legged frogs, pocket mice, giant kangaroo rats, and other ridiculous creatures, said Diggem Fast, the president of the fund. Can these condos […]