In 1960, when I was born, the world was largely intact and healthy. All that has changed. During my lifetime, humans went from having a small impact on the planet to being the dominant force on a geological scale. This great transition will be my generation’s legacy. My life is a prism. At an early age, I was drawn to the interactions between land, culture, and people. I was both captivated and worried about what I saw and learned. In response, I sought creative answers to anguished questions ranging over the fields of archaeology, conservation, regenerative agriculture, and climate change. I’ve been blessed with family, hard work, and travel. It’s been a wonderful adventure. This site is my autobiography.
CREATIVE ANSWERS TO ANGUISHED QUESTIONS
Author and historian Wallace Stegner once said every book should try to answer an anguished question. I took his advice to heart in all my work and endeavors over the years, trying to answer an array of ‘left-brain’ questions with creative ‘right brain’ answers, as explained in MY STORY.
Core questions emerged quickly: What is land for? How can we use it to sustain us without using it up? How should we live? How do we heal degraded land and repair damaged relationships? Over time, as the scale of the accelerating impact of humans on the planet increased, new anguished questions arose: Can we restrain ourselves? How do we build resilience? What are regenerative solutions to climate change?
My creative answers to these questions are found in MY WORK. They fall into two phases. A West That Works focused on the American West, archaeology, activism, collaborative conservation, and progressive ranching. The Age of Consequences tackles resilience, carbon, and climate change. I am perhaps most proud of my role as a pioneering advocate for what today is called Regenerative Agriculture.
I didn’t follow a prepared path in seeking answers to my anguished questions. Instead, I purposefully produced creative work in diverse formats:
- A Nonprofit Organization: THE QUIVIRA COALITION
- Two Nonfiction Books: GRASS, SOIL, HOPE and TWO PERCENT SOLUTIONS FOR THE PLANET
- Two Collections of Essays (books): REVOLUTION ON THE RANGE and THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES
- Three Columns (published as a book): GRASSROOTS: THE RISE OF THE RADICAL CENTER
- Two Fine Art Photography Projects: THE INDELIBLE WEST (1988-1998) and THIS MOMENT IN TIME (2007-2017)
- A Documentary Photography Book (with text): IN THE LAND OF THE DELIGHT-MAKERS
- A Peer-reviewed Archaeology Paper: ADOBE TYPOLOGY AND SITE CHRONOLOGY
- A History Book: KNOWING PECOS
- A Novel: CONSILIENCE
- A Mystrey: THE SUN
- A Play: CANYONLANDS
- A Blog: THE STORY OF CARBON
- A Journal (published by the Quivira Coalition): RESILIENCE
- A Lecture: THINKING OUTSIDE THE HOLOCENE
- Co-authored Declaration: INVITATION TO JOIN THE RADICAL CENTER
- Co-edited Book: CONSERVATION FOR A NEW GENERATION
- Co-authored Books: DIRT TO SOIL and FIBERSHED and THE GREAT REGENERATION
- Senior Writer: REGENERATION: ENDING THE CLIMATE CRISIS IN ONE GENERATION
- Cattle rancher and producer of grassfed meat: the Quivira Coalition’s VALLE GRANDE GRASSBANK
- Authored fifteen ANNUAL CONFERENCES for the Quivira Coalition
- In Progress: SAGALAND – a travelogue about a new chapter in my life
- In progress: THE DE LACY SAGA – a genealogy-inspired history of my family stretching back 35 generations
- In progress: Mystery novel series: THE SUN (first book in the Sun Ranch Saga)
William Faulkner – A Family Connection and Inspiration
In 1986, I learned I was related to William Faulkner on my father’s side of the family. I had dropped out of graduate school and was very unclear about next steps in my life. When I learned that Faulkner was a relative, I reacquainted myself with his work. The geographical unity of his vision in combination with his focus on the intersections of land, culture, people, and history struck a huge chord. I particularly loved his map of Yoknapatawpha County. I decided to try to do something similar for my home – the American West – though in my own way. In 2006, a visit to Faulkner’s home in Mississippi inspired me to set a goal of writing books full-time.
I cofounded the Quivira Coalition in 1997 to expand the radical center among ranchers, conservationists, federal land managers, and scientists around practices that improve economic and ecological resilience in working landscapes.
This is a collection of essays written during my years at the Quivira Coalition. Topics include: the radical center, collaborative conservation, grassbanks, ecological restoration, The New Ranch, carbon farming, land health, and local food.
I was a pioneering advocate for regenerative agriculture, a term I first heard in 2014. It incorporates progressive ranching, soil health, ecological restoration, carbon storage, and more, detailed here.