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Articles by Gregory Dicum

Gregory Dicum is the author of Window Seat: Reading the Landscape from the Air. He writes a biweekly column for SFGate, the online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Mother Jones, and others.

Featured Article

Mary Brune looked worried. “I don’t know what the problem is,” she said, peering at the generator in the grass. Attached to it was a blower that was, in turn, attached to a puddle of yellow nylon. The next morning, that puddle was supposed to inflate to become a giant rubber ducky, the centerpiece of a protest Brune was leading at a Target store near her home in the San Francisco Bay area.

Mary Brune speaks up for concerned mothers everywhere.

Photos: Gregory Dicum

For Brune, the golden ducky represented much more than a call to remove PVC from Target’s shelves. It was her official coming out as an environmental activist.

Eighteen months earlier, Brune was home nursing her newborn daughter and watching the news when a story came on about perchlorate, describing how this toxic component of rocket fuel had been found in human breast milk. “I didn’t have any idea what perchlorate was,” Brune says, “but I was really scared. Then I was outraged.” By the time her husband got home from work, she had made up her mind: “We’ve got to do something about th... Read more

All Articles

  • In B.C., a landmark rainforest-protection agreement was just the beginning

    It took 10 years of work to protect British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. Photos: Gregory Dicum The Great Bear Rainforest, stretching from Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle on the wild, rugged coast of British Columbia, is that rarest of things: an unvarnished environmental victory. But as the groundbreaking agreement signed to protect it comes […]

  • A weekend at Bioneers

    This weekend the eco/new-agey/NoCal faithful gathered in Marin for the annual Bioneers conference. I've gone several times in the past, and it's always an interesting experience, and not for the obvious reasons ...

  • Polluting my bathroom

    You know that little rubber duckie in your bathroom? I always thought the little fella was sorta cute, nestled there between the shampoo and the loofa.

    Well, it turns out the little ducky's not so rubber after all -- it's plastic, namely the dreaded PVC. And it further turns out the bathroom is full of the stuff.

  • San Francisco visualizes rising seas

    I love living in San Francisco, where not only do we have a City Department of the Environment, but it's teamed up with the Sierra Club on an environmental art/advocacy project that is all at once simple, creative, thought-provoking, cheap, and replicable.

    Today, they launched to bring the climate crisis home. It's an ingeniously simple idea: Participants tape up public spaces with a line of blue tape that marks the new sea level after unchecked global warming.

    In a coastal city like San Francsico, it's a disturbing sight indeed -- the blue line cuts the urban landscape mercilessly, and you can really feel yourself going under. The project launched at Pier 39 -- tourist central here in SF -- so it's getting lots of exposure.

    Now if only they'll share the tape so we can try this everywhere else there's a coastline too ...