A culture of connectivity

The work ahead will require more collaboration and less divisiveness.

 

When you fly across the country, you see shapes and lines on the land scrolling far below: mountains and rivers, freeways and causeways, the green geometry of irrigated rectangles and circles. Much more difficult to discern are the geopolitical delineations: state lines, county lines, international borders, crazily gerrymandered voting districts. This borderless view is a more accurate reflection of the way people in the West are connected to and reliant on each other for essential resources and acts of kindnesses. 

Untitled #1026 (Psychedelic Jessica), 2007, 60 by 80 inches, from his book, Richard Misrach: Notations © Radius Books 2022.
Richard Misrach

Showing compassion for other humans and other life-forms, learning how to live in a world rife with problems yet trying hard to be on the side of solutions — this work knows no boundaries. I was thinking about all this as I traveled to New York last month to attend the National Magazine Awards, where HCN was a finalist in the General Excellence, Special Interest category. Though HCN did not win, it was thrilling to be there among the other finalists and to celebrate all their good work. A week later I met several members of the HCN editorial team in person for the very first time, and it struck me that making and illuminating connections is a huge part of the work we do as journalists. We make the world more intelligible through research, reporting and writing. 

In this issue, you’ll read about how the war in Ukraine could lead to more mining and drilling in the Western U.S., a reminder that the struggle for peace is also the struggle for a sustainable climate future. You’ll also read about one of the largest wildlife crossings in the U.S., which is being built across Route 101 in Los Angeles County, largely for the benefit of a genetically isolated mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains. With habitat connectivity becoming a household concept in parts of the West, federal infrastructure bills are now taking the needs of migratory and wide-ranging species into account.

Jennifer Sahn, editor-in-chief

Photographer Richard Misrach offers another way of looking at landscape, entertaining the potential of the negative image to dislodge fixed assumptions and create space for new understanding. The same could be said for poetry, which returns to HCN’s pages under the care and curation of poetry editor Paisley Rekdal. Melissa Chadburn joins us this month as contributing editor for books, culture and commentary, and you’ll find the first installment of Cassie da Costa’s new column about running on public lands. Here’s to more connectivity and less divisiveness, more face-to-face encounters and less isolation as we continue to work toward a future filled with justice for all living things.

We welcome reader letters. Email High Country News at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor. See our letters to the editor policy.

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