Live in closer contact.

Photo Credit: Ksenia Makagonova

I remember the first time I noticed lichen. Burrowed into the nooks of worn tree bark, their greyed surfaces had evaded my gaze, receding into the background of woodland atmosphere. But with time spent on the trails of Mount Tamalpais, I began to look more closely. Each tree trunk observed became a world. Dried crusts carpeted the surface, with tassels of fine threads drooping in bunches. Tufts of lush moss sprung from the lichen like pompoms, while bracket mushrooms made idyllic perches for small-enough critters to look back at me.

I watched this artful tapestry weave in slow time. There…

Making sense of a world on edge

Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

This article is part of a series:

3. The Oceans

In addition to local effects experienced in the Arctic and Antarctic, the oceans are heating and absorbing more CO2 on a global scale. This drives cascading effects on marine life and, to a lesser extent, methane deposits, both of which drive further emissions of greenhouse gases.

3.1 Weakening of the Marine Carbon Pump

How does the system normally function? The marine carbon pump, also known as the biological pump, is a food web that draws carbon from the…

Making sense of a world on edge

Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

This article is part of a series:

2. The Antarctic

The Arctic may be seeing extreme air temperature increases, but on the flip side, research also suggests that the South Ocean is heating up faster than other waters due to unique circulation patterns. This is driving melting in a portion of Antarctica’s ice and sea level rise that is observable today.

2.1 Disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

How does the system normally function? The West Antarctic ice sheet comprises the landmass of West Antarctica, as well as…

Making sense of a world on edge

Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

This article is part of a series:

1. The Arctic

The Arctic is heating up faster than anywhere else on the planet, thanks to a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification, a positive feedback loop between melting Arctic sea ice and rising local temperatures. This drives a range of cascading effects throughout the Northern Hemisphere and further warms the planet. …

How to invest in a regenerative world

Photo Credit: Noah Buscher

Our society has a complicated relationship with money. What we do with it is often a private affair, and so we fall on default patterns of how we’re supposed to spend and invest it.

But there’s another way to think of money. Money is like energy that we circulate through our communities to fuel the activities we want to see more of. We are each a part of this flow, nodes of giving and receiving, however big or small. Coming into the right relation with money helps us find our authentic place in the world.

All around us, visions for…

Making sense of a world on edge

Image Credit: Environmental Defense Fund

This article is part of a series:

The ice caps are melting. The rainforest is burning. The coral reef is dying. These days, we hear these messages so frequently that it is hard to know where to direct our attention. How do these issues affect you? Which ones are most pressing? Are there any you haven’t heard about? How do they relate to each other and the overall health of the planet?

Drawing on the latest research and predictions…

A history of separation

Photo Credit: Mali Maeder


Another coworker enters the Zoom call. I do not register the sound, but I do glance at the list of participants.


My phone vibrates a short pulse in my pocket. I pull out my phone out and shift my gaze downward. A friend responded to my suggestion with a thumbs-down icon. I frown for a questioning moment, until…


A bell rings. My code has successfully passed its automated tests. I feel victorious, as if winning a competition I never entered. I return my attention to the Zoom room.

Stuck at home and working remotely in the wake…

The science of changing ourselves

Photo Credit: Marius Badstuber

In the 1960s, ecologists the world over were faced with an intractable problem: our lakes were blooming with blue-green algae at alarming rates. From Lake Washington in America’s Pacific Northwest to Lake Zurich in Switzerland, local accounts reported cloudy, green waters above shallow lake beds, with fish dying in droves. Lake Erie, one of America’s Great Lakes, was pronounced a “dead lake,” with the others following a similar trajectory.

In response, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, tasked Swiss ecologist Richard Vollenweider with organizing a global team of scientists to tackle the problem. In 1968, Vollenweider presented…

A tour of the inner world.

Photo Credit: Jake Young

Imagine, for a moment, your mind as a moonlit landscape. Many branching paths stretch before you. One leads to a far-off mountain range. As you glance at its peaks, you find yourself returning to your life’s greatest achievements. To your right, geysers rise from the surface, shooting in synchrony with your most sensuous pleasures. Along the way, you must traverse an endless expanse of flat plains, the monotonous drab of the everyday. To your left, the path descends down to a deep valley, wherein stews that which disgusts you. Behind you sit a series of circular pools, their surface perfectly…

Removing barriers between yourself and the world

Credit: Jess Vide

As the sun began its descent, I clamped open the stubborn latch to my bedroom window — first with one, then two hands. Finally, the window slid open with the satisfying scratch of metal against its own kind. Cool breeze rushed inward, shaking my nerves awake, wafting fig leaf up my nose. Out on the terrace, evening light settled upon pooled water — San Francisco, upside-down, rippling like pink-stained liquid glass. With one step, I could jump down through it and land in a more beautiful world. Instead, I hopped over the puddle onto a ladder. Cold steel pressed against…

Steve Daniels

I serve a vision for the more-than-human world grounded in interdependence. You can subscribe to my newsletter at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store