I am always open to collaboration and discussion. Below are my main areas of interest. If you have a shared interest, please feel free to contact me and open a dialogue.
My interest in Cambodia goes back to high school but I was first able to visit in 2004 through a program sponsored by the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS). Since then, I have returned frequently for field work and other commitments, including a research fellowship at the CKS in 2014. My specific interests lie in the following areas:
- Palm products, (organic) rice, and traditional medicine
- Khmer language, specifically the modernization of the script
- Social entrepreneurship, particularly in heritage products
- Development and rebuilding of higher education
A thing I took for granted growing up in Portland, Oregon, USA, the miserable state of environmental affairs in Pennsylvania quickly animated me after arriving for university in 2001. I painfully elaborated the situation in Pennsylvania as an assistant at ActionPA, one of a rare breed of uncompromising environmental organizations based in Pennsylvania. Environmentalism also linked me to studies and a career in sustainable development. Below are my most frequently-debated set of issues:
- Water fluoridation: a shameful practice billed as helpful for children while actually being dangerous, wasteful, and a profitable way for the mineral fertilizer industry to get rid of a waste product
- Genetically modified food: an otherwise interesting practice that is unfortunately carried out by irresponsible companies and ignores vast reservoirs of pre-existing genetic material that can accomplish the same goals with less energy and devolution of profit to multinational corporations
- Real renewable energy: wind, solar, geothermal, non-intrusive hydropower and none of the greenwashed alternatives like "clean" coal, biomass, nuclear
- Waste: creative ways of reducing, recycling and not resorting to landfills and incineration
- Environmental justice: understanding disproportionate exposure of minorities to pollution
A research area and a lifestyle. Here, I must thank my successive advisers for taking my rough understanding of an unjust world and transforming it into analytical understanding and hope. My gratitude to David Stifel (Lafayette College), Yaakov Garb (Arava Institute for Environmental Studies), Graham Brown (Oxford University, Queen Elizabeth House), and Peter Mollinga (Center for Development Research, University of Bonn).
One thing we cannot live without. Is our struggle a violent one against nature and her post-Edenic weeds, pests, and diseases... or is it about learning from and leveraging natural systems? For ten thousand years, humans have demonstrated a bipolar reaction to nature... mimicking and fighting it in their own unique agricultural practices. Human-made agro-ecosystems are here to stay and many include genius characteristics that can help improve sustainable agriculture worldwide.
- Agroecology, the art of using natural ecosystems and agricultural knowledge
- Michael Pollan, one visionary in understanding humans and their food
- The Land Institute, founded by Wes Jackson, at the intersection of modern plant breeding and permaculture
- The Journal of Peasant Studies, next to Rural Sociology (and Sociologia ruralis), one of the best academic journals on rural development
- The System of Rice Intensification, an example of a simple reimagining of smallholder agriculture that can outcompete many modern practices
An unjustly reviled language with a poetic, suggestive and analytical beauty to it. My family has a bit of background in the Cologne area and my mother and I have carried that tradition forward.
- The German LEO - the best online German dictionary
- The Awful German Language, by Mark Twain. He does, unfortunately, have a point. Perhaps he just didn't live long enough to write "The Most Awful English Language". (or wait, is the period before the quotes?)
A passion among all the brothers in my family, spurred by the one and only Cynthia Irby of Lincoln High School.
- A few ceramic works by me, circa 1999