Category Archives: Sierra

Destination: The Java Zone

Jan/Feb 2009

Nicaraguan coffee growers are preserving ecosystems that nurture banana trees, sloths, and a new breed of tourists

The mist was clearing, revealing forested hilltops that mark the edge of a protected national forest in Nicaragua’s northern highlands. With a trio of toucans in a tall tree looking down their long, green banana beaks at us, I walked with Flora Montenegro, a coffee farmer, as she inspected her crop. Montenegro is always smiling. Her black hair flows in a bushy ponytail from under her baseball cap. She is descended from the German settlers who first brought coffee to this region, and her blue eyes scanned the scene around us: coffee and more coffee, shade trees protecting it from the sun, and above us the verdant forest. I’ve been drinking coffee for years. I love the way a warming mug of the stuff marks my daily transition to wakefulness. But I knew there was more to my morning jolt than just caffeine. I had come to the mountains of Nicaragua to peer into coffee’s murky depths. (more…)

Posted in Magazines, Sierra

Eyes in the Sky and on Your Desktop

With Google Earth, satellite images become an activist’s ally

September/October 2007

LATE IN 2005, REBECCA MOORE WAS GIVING a presentation to a community group concerned about proposed logging in the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Francisco. In the darkened room, a large screen displayed an image of Earth floating serenely in space.

Moore touched a key on her computer, and the planet expanded to fill the screen. As the view zoomed closer still, the more than 300 audience members were able to make out the California coastline, then their own region. The landscape tilted, and the flat imagery leaped up to form mountains and valleys. Finally, they could see detailed three-dimensional satellite images of the redwood-covered ridges above their homes. (more…)

Posted in Magazines, Sierra