Daniel Grossman

Breathtaking Destruction

Earlier this year, aerial photographer Alex MacLean invited me to survey the tar sands of northeast Alberta from the air with him. He’d reserved a plane, complete with pilot, at the diminutive airport of Fort McMurray, the de facto ...

We’re Seeing the End of Our Livelihood

Violet Clarke’s home sits virtually in the center of the vast Athabasca tar sands, a colossal deposit of extremely heavy crude oil in the western Canadian province of Alberta. She vaguely recalls seeing the gooey black stuff, which seeped ...

Health Concerns Downstream of Alberta’s Tar Sands

I first met Doctor John O’Connor at the Wood Buffalo Brewing Company, one of the only places to eat or drink at in the tar sands capital Fort McMurray that’s not a chain. O’conner had also invited ...

Rains that Don’t Wet

Hatgal, Mongolia If you visit a Mongolian ger, be prepared for a few things. First, you’ll be served a thin-walled bowl of weak tea. Sometimes it tastes salty. Sometimes the surface glistens with a few spots of fat that’...

Holding Back the Gobi

Dalanzadgad, Mongolia Few places in the world are feeling the effects of global warming as powerfully as Mongolia, the almond shaped country located between northern China and Siberia. Mongolia’s average temperature has gone up by 2.1 degrees Celsius in the ...

Global Warming Makes a Splash

I’m traveling the world in search of the human face of the impacts of climate change. I encountered a sobering example yesterday, in Carhuaz, Peru. There, I met Juana, a middle-aged woman dressed in a white embroidered shirt, orange ...

An Optimist

I’ve never before met anyone as thoroughly optimistic as Peruvian glaciologist Benjamin Morales. I asked him today if his rosy take on life began when he narrowly missed death in 1970. On May 31st 41 years ago Morales lunched near his ...

Waiting for Water

Steep conical hills of brown sand and stone ring the city of Lima. Massive cement water tanks cap many of the summits, some bearing a slogan of the city’s powerful water utility, Sedepal: Agua Para Todo: water for all. ...

Glacier Close Up

Nearly all the world’s tropical glaciers cap mountains of the Andes. If you wonder why, look at where the highest peaks in the tropics are located and you’ll have your answer. About three quarters of these glaciers top ...

Lima’s Brown Coast

Lima and its contiguous suburbs and shantytowns sprawl between a sand-brown desert of undulating hills on the east to the Pacific Ocean on the west. Today, accompanied by my translator, Dado, and driver, Juan Carlos, I sped down an avenue ...

How Will Lima Slake its Growing Thirst?

As I type these words, I’m flying 39,000 feet over Ecuador. Shortly, I will land in Lima, a sprawling city of about 9 million people. Lima is one of the cities of the world most immediately threatened by global warming. The ...

Oil’s insidious impact on Ecuador’s culture and biodiversity

By Daniel Grossman Quito, Ecuador–For anybody who needed convincing, the Deepwater Horizon accident has proven that tapping the Earth for oil can be hazardous for workers and the environment. But oil wells harm the people and wildlife around them ...

Ecuador’s oil demons

By Daniel Grossman Quito, Ecuador–The Deepwater Horizon accident reminds us that oil drilling is dirty business. Ecuadorans know this fact. They’ve lived off, and with, oil for more than three decades. For many Ecuadorans, oil promised riches but ...

Fishing story: Four friends in Ecuador’s rain forest

By Daniel Grossman Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Ecuador–Do the world’s tribes enjoy any pastimes in common? Probably not. But one lazy afternoon, four guys raised far from one another delighted in a mutual passion in the forest of the ...

Bolivian Conference Chooses Mother Earth Over Father Time

By Daniel Grossman Cochabamba, Bolivia–Rarely if ever has the word “Pachamama” been uttered at an international gathering as often or as passionately as at last week’s climate conference near Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city. For most of ...