I’m a researcher and writer in ecolinguistics and environmental communication. Get my weekly digest of nature writing ideas/tools: https://wildones.substack.com

Welcome to my Medium Page!

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
About me
My Writing
- Ideas in Ecocultural Communication
Nonfiction & Science Writing Strategies
Book Summaries: Key Ideas
Tools I Use For Research and Writing
Work with me
Stay in touch

About me

Hi there! My name is Gavin. I have an M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. My main research examines how language and culture shape human relationships with threatened species and places, with most of my work focused on Hawaiian green sea turtles in Hawai‘i. …

Ed Yong on the Craft of Science Writing and Communication

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Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash

When it comes to science writing and communication, there are few writers as skilled at their craft as Ed Yong. He’s something of a science writing prodigy. His writing spans topics ranging from the microbes that inhabit our bodies and orca conservation to language genes and most recently, the current global pandemic.

In fact, Yong’s coronavirus reporting has been widely praised as some of the most well-researched, compelling, and informative coverage on the pandemic. He currently covers science as a staff writer for the Atlantic, and his work has appeared in National Geographic, Nautilus, Scientific American, Wired, Aeon, Nature, the New York Times, and more. …

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Photo on RawPixel, Credit: NASA

Put simply, environmental communication involves all the diverse forms of communication people engage in to experience, understand, question, and act on environmental issues, problems, and solutions.

Do you love nature?

Maybe you’re concerned about the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, the destruction of the Amazon, or a fossil-fuel industry hell-bent on worsening global warming.

Maybe you’ve gone snorkeling at Hanauma Bay in Hawai‘i and admired the bay’s diversity of underwater life, or went hiking in Yosemite to witness a mind-blowing sunrise against the face of El Capitan?

On the other hand, maybe you feel that too much nature can be a bad thing? …

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Photo by Havilah Galaxy on Unsplash

James Nestor’s book ‘Breath’ chronicles the new science on the ancient art of better breathing.

“If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe better.” — Dr. Andrew Weil

When I first started reading James Nestor’s new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, I was curious but skeptical. Why do I need to learn to breathe better? I’ve been breathing my whole life. It seems like I’ve been doing it pretty well so far. On average about 25,000 times a day. After all, I’m still alive.

Perhaps if you meditate or practice yoga, you are aware of how breathing techniques help you relax and focus. Something as simple as ‘focus on your breath.’ …

Science writer Meehan Crist reviews James Lovelock’s Newest Book On “The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence”

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

“Novacene’ is Jim’s name for a new geological epoch of the planet, an age that succeeds the Anthropocene, which began in 1712 and is already coming to a close. That age was defined by the ways in which humans had attained the ability to alter the geology and ecosystems of the entire planet. The Novacene — which Jim suggests may have already begun — is when our technology moves beyond our control, generating intelligences far greater and, crucially, much faster than our own. How this happens and what it means for us are the story of this book.”

— Bryan Appleyard, in the preface to James Lovelock’s…

#1 Note-Taking-For-Writing

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Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Looming at the end of the tunnel of almost every Ph.D. program is writing the dreaded dissertation. In the social sciences, this usually involves writing a several hundred-page tome that adds a new bit of knowledge to one’s chosen field.

When I was doing my Ph.D. in applied linguistics, I was always fascinated to hear how other students in my department structured their daily routine to accomplish the monumental task of finishing their Ph.D. dissertation.

For some students, this meant imposing strict writing schedules on their daily life. For example, “write from 8–11am every morning!”

But for me, an individual highly skilled in the arts of procrastination, I needed to find other writing tools to get me through the tunnel and to the light on the other side: graduation. Here are 3 things I found useful during my Ph.D. dissertating that I think can be applied to anyone struggling with a similar dissertation-like challenge, like finishing a chapter, or an entire book. …

#1 Walking as a ritual to reconnect with the natural world

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Photo by Katie McBroom on Unsplash

I’ve never been very good at making New Year’s Resolutions. I have enough trouble maintaining old resolutions. Mark Twain’s definition of the New Year’s Resolution resonates a little too well with me: “New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

But this year I’m actually going to make a new one: walk more.

Jogging works too, of course, or any embodied journey across the landscape really. In my experience, walking has always been a great source of well-being, allowing me to take some time to shift my focus away from digital screens and ahead towards an unfolding path in front of me, or to more distant objects on the horizon. …

“Story secret: from the very first sentence the reader must want to know what happens next” — Lisa Cron

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Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

What are the linguistic elements that distinguish a good story from a bad one? What elements might writers add to make a good story great, or a bad story worse? What are the key structural units that compose a great story, whether in fiction or nonfiction? And how does a certain arrangement of words captivate the reader’s attention, or lose it fast?

This last question — how do you capture (and keep) your reader’s attention? — is one that haunts my brain most I’d say.

A story after all is an interactional event, not a solipsistic endeavor: a story involves not just a storyteller, but a story recipient too. In other words, good storytelling, for me at least, is more like a face-to-face conversation than a pre-recorded zoom lecture. Although it’s a constant challenge, when I write, I try to imagine someone nodding along in engaged interest (or nodding off in boredom). …

“The pursuit of mastery is an ever onward almost.” — Sarah Lewis

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Photo by Sandra Seitamaa on Unsplash

“We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise . . .
— Emily Dickinson

Overview of ‘The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery’

If your writing has been rejected recently— from an academic journal, a book reviewer, a publication on Medium , or maybe just in the lack of interest you hoped it would have received — how can you best use such experiences of so-called ‘failure’ as a recource for bouncing forward, not backward?

“It is a cliché to say simply that we learn the most from failure,” writes Sarah Lewis. “It is also not exactly true. …

“Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

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Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

“The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves. ”

Barry Lopez

This will be short, but I just wanted to write some thoughts about the environmental writer and thinker Barry Lopez, who passed away Friday in Eugene, Oregon at the age of 75. …

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