Category: Nature

Book Review: Written on Water: Writings about the Allegheny River and The Allegheny River: Watershed of the Nation

By | Book Review, Nature, Nola Garrett, Prose

Written on Water: Writings about the Allegheny River, Edited by Helen Ruggieri & Linda Underhill, Mayapple Press, 2013, $19.95. The Allegheny River: Watershed of the Nation, Photographs by Jim Schafer, Text by Mike Sajna, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992, $90.00. Every morning from my condo’s dining room window, the Allegheny River looks different. Not …

The Hauberg: A commons that has avoided the tragedy for centuries

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

By Eva-Maria Simms Hardin, in The Tragedy of the Commons (1968) has argued that free, common spaces will inevitably be ruined by the selfish greed of the members of the commons. “Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of …

Garbage in the Woods

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

In our work of reclaiming the green spaces of Emerald View Park, over the past 6 years, over a thousand volunteers have removed more than 80 tons of garbage from the 275 acres of our urban forest. I have seen rusted cars, refrigerators, and bedsprings. Rubber tires, plastic toys, plastic bags, glass bottles, ceramic tiles, …

Travels: Empty Places in the Heart

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

A few years ago I walked with a group of older neighbors through the inner city neighborhood of the Hill District in Pittsburgh. The Hill was once a thriving African American quarter, but has fallen on hard times since a large section was razed during “Urban Renewal” in the late 50’s and destroyed during the …

Travels: The Unforgettable Place

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

My home in Pittsburgh lies now 3000 miles across the ocean. Siegen, the German city of my childhood, surrounds me, and I walk the places that are inscribed into my memories. I have always loved the trek up the steep hill into the upper city, even though it does not have much beauty: just a …

Designing a Trailhead

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

Kathryn and I went to look at the Greenleaf trailhead in order to figure out how the entrance to the trails on that side of the mountain should be designed. Kathryn had written and received a block grant from the city and had lined up volunteers to plant shrubs and trees, which would be donated …

The New Normal

By | Nature, Prose, Songyi Zhang's America

These days I’ve frequently heard the phrase “new normal” particularly after the wildfires in Colorado neighborhood that swallowed hundreds of homes and thousands of acres of trees, after the record-breaking drought in the Midwest that killed crops, and after the unusual weekend floods in Northeast China affected hundreds of local lives. It’s inevitable that global …

The Order of Things: Housework

By | Eva-Maria Simms, Nature, Prose

Anyone who lives in a house or an apartment for a period of time knows how quickly human living spaces deteriorate if we neglect our things and fail to vacuum the carpet, do the dishes, pick up our dirty clothes of the floor. The lovely, orderly, well designed room turns into a dirty cave within …