Contributing editor David Quammen (@davidquammen) was Outside’s Natural Acts Columnist from 1981 to 1996. He is the author of 17 books, including 2012’s Spillover, which was named a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Awards.
If you’re lucky, you encountered nature for the first time by running out the back door. During our writer's boyhood, a suburban forest was a gateway to learning, exploration, and natural splendors that shaped his life and career.
Beneath the skin of the Australian landscape known as Kakadu, a huge wealth of uranium awaits. Above that same skin lies wealth of a more intimate sort: paradisiacal scenery, the first touch of human history, and 50 millennia of artistic achievement, rendered on soft, glowing sandstone. Can you see the dilemma here?
A lot of things in Romania suffered during the brutal reign of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu—human rights, liberty, economic development. But tucked away in the deep freeze lay a stunningly well-preserved wilderness high in the Carpathian mountains, where brown bears, wolves, and lynx still run free.