Blowing up the merits of charcoal

| Oct 2, 2003

Blowing up the merits of charcoal

by C.W. Nicol

When I was 12, chemistry didn’t interest me much until I found a battered old book in the school library that gave detailed instructions on the making of gunpowder. I still remember the recipe, which includes 75 percent potassium nitrate, otherwise known as saltpeter, ...

| Aug 7, 2003

A tale of two Afans reborn

by C.W. Nicol

Two thousand years ago, my native Wales had 98 percent forest cover. By 1950, when I was a little lad, woodland in Wales was down to 5 percent. I was born in Neath, where coal-mining wasn’t particularly heavy, and where there were still wooded ...

Hanami with a shot of history

| May 1, 2003

Hanami with a shot of history

by C.W. Nicol

Vancouver, Canada, is a beautiful city. Not only for the magnificent mountains, for salmon spawning rivers, and a largely natural coast, but for the city’s many trees. I am told that Vancouver has 124,000 street trees, 30,000 of which flower. The cherry trees especially ...

Into the jaws of death

| Apr 3, 2003

Into the jaws of death

by C.W. Nicol

My first close contact with the beasts came after I went to Ethiopia in 1967 to take on the job of establishing a new national park in the cliff-rimmed northern mountains. After a frustrating time in the capital, Addis Ababa, trying to finalize preparations ...

A dark day for ducks

| Jan 3, 2003

A dark day for ducks

by C.W. Nicol

A Niigata sake brewery that would prefer to remain anonymous in this context, asked me to sit on a committee for an environmental trust they had just set up. They do brew the most excellent sake, so I happily agreed. They were making some ...

Carping over muddy ponds

| Dec 5, 2002

Carping over muddy ponds

by C.W. Nicol

Me and Mr. Matsuki, we’re developers. There — I’ve said it. We actually alter habitat. We haven’t got around to making golf courses yet, but about 10 years ago, when I bought another section of land to add to what is now the Nagano ...

Bear facts about honey traps

| Nov 7, 2002

Bear facts about honey traps

by C.W. Nicol

Twenty years ago, in arguments with officials of the Forestry Agency, which was clear-cutting great swaths of old mixed forest and selling off much of the timber to be turned into wood chips, I tried to stress the individual value of various trees. In ...