The Professor and Her Champion – in Vogue!

Your favorite ethnoecologist and her tiny home is one of twelve retrofits featured in a brand-new book, The Modern House Bus, by Kimberley Mok (Countrymen Press, 2018).

The book provides a luxurious (“transporting”) introduction to bus conversions by a wide range of owners (young families, techies, freelancers, artisans), along with a how-to guide for DIYers. And, ooh la la, it’s captured the attention of Vogue magazine!


The author, Kimberley Mok, contacted me over a year ago after she saw my YouTube video (now at over half-a-million views, yikes!), and I’m thrilled with the way she and her editors crafted the book. The text is a comprehensive guide to what it takes to retrofit a bus into a home, things to consider when doing to, insider tips, and how to begin.

The eleven other stories in the book are truly inspirational, and include a couple who spent twenty months overhauling an old bus, a craftsman who redid the interior in elegantly sculpted wood paneling, and young parents who custom-built bunk beds and play stations for their growing family.


Ms. Mok’s hard cover edition is gorgeous enough to be on a coffee table. Everyone I’ve showed it to couldn’t put it down – the photos and stories are that compelling.

The book is currently on sale on Amazon for 30% off (or 50% off if you buy the Kindle version) – and when you buy one, if you’re within public transit distance,  I promise to meet up over a cup of coffee or tea and autograph it! (Huge grin)


Native authors collaborate to conserve biocultural diversity

Corine baskets at BookstoreHow do we keep traditional cradle basket making, beadworking, and storytelling alive? We can support and promote Native authors: in print, in film, and in person.

Three books, three authors, three years in the making, together with almost thirty San José State University students in my Nature and World Cultures class. Published with a grant from the College of Arts and Humanities, these books are now in their second printing by the newly formed Beauty and Love Publishing LLC.

In addition to this exciting news, we’ve had two book signing events in Ukiah, California: the first was held at the Mendocino Book Company; the second at the Grace Hudson Museum. Both events were filmed with equipment borrowed from the Willits Community Television station, following a very short, and intense training session by Andy Wright.

We were also featured on KMEC, the local radio station on Alicia Littletree Balas’ Edgewise radio show – you can listen to our interview by clicking on the link below:

The readings and testimony provided by the authors: Corine Pearce (Redwood Valley Pomo), Sherrie Smith-Ferri (Dry Creek Pomo, editor) and Stewart Wilburn (Wailaki/Tolowa/Pomo/Wintu), were powerful and moving.

You can see both events on YouTube:

The Mendocino Book Company reading

The Grace Hudson Museum reading

You can purchase any, or all, of the books here. (Prices including $3 shipping.)

And if you are interested in sponsoring more books on traditional culture, contact the Beauty & Love publisher here.




Where the Buffalo Roam?

“When our great-great-grandparents were toddlers, stamping one wobbly foot in front of the other, three continental time zones reverberated with millions upon millions of pounding hooves from Nevada to New York, Montana to Mexico. No life was untouched by the American bison (Bison bison): our hoofed ancestors were the original American engineers…

Until we exterminated 99.999997% of them.”

Pfeiffer Flyway Spr18 ScreenshotSo begins my latest essay in the Spring 2018 issue of Flyway – Journal of Writing and Environment the story of how we killed, and continue to kill off, our iconic, irreplaceable relative: the American Bison.

I feel passionate about the loss, not only because of the deep spiritual connections between bison and First Nations, but also because of the essential ecological roles that can only by filled by bison.

Only one non-profit has devoted twenty years to saving the bison: the Buffalo Field Campaign. If you don’t yet know about BFC, I encourage you to get to become familiar with their work, donate to their wish list, or host one of their Road Show events.

And I encourage you to spend the time reading the essay, that I spent several years researching and writing: I guarantee you will learn things you never knew before – including what a bison-bellow sounds like. If you are moved by my words, please share them, and educate others.

There is still a chance to turn things around: we can respect the Bison People – and all they give to this world – by protecting their right to roam. Freely. Throughout their ancestral homelands.



Humanity: the new edition

Humanity by Paloma Press 2018

Forthcoming this summer: HUMANITY – an anthology featuring practitioners/students in the fields of environmental science, public policy, decolonization and multicultural studies, poetry, anthropology, medicine, music, theology, and history on their observations and vision of the human condition.

My piece “Until We Have Loved,” an essay about trying to save a tiny brown bat that won a national contest, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and singled out as one of the best essays in Selected Memories. the 2017 anthology by Hippocampus, is now being included in this new collection by Paloma Press.

“We believe in the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world. We are committed to publishing works that honor the writer and elevate the reader. To this end, we strive to publish the work of authors who support a particular charity (e.g., organizations that take direct action in the areas of animal welfare, medical research, environmental protection, arts advocacy, or community development).” – Paloma Press editors

This announcement comes on the heels of emails from three other literary journals announcing the inclusion of four of my hard-worked pieces in forthcoming editions (yes, the world of writing also experiences “feasts or famines”); AND the recent publication of three new books by my emergent press, Beauty and Love Publishing.

All this = a resounding affirmation that the Written Word is Very Much Alive. (Hallelujah, put the smartphone down and pick that book back up!!)

A story of love and loss from Indonesia

Photocopy image

“A filthy drinking glass, used toothbrush, and crumpled tube of toothpaste lay on top of a simple cement capstone, their ordinariness heartrendingly poignant. I lit candles I had tucked into my pack earlier that morning, said a prayer, and remained by the graveside for several minutes longer, swatting mosquitos, racking my brain, trying to understand her choices.

How does a mother allow her child to disintegrate before her eyes?”

This excerpt, from my recently published essay “Photocopy” in the Spring 2018 issue of Sky Island Journal embodies one of the hardest stories I have ever tried to tell.

The true-to-life story comes from the years I lived, on-and-off, with my adopted tribe, the Tado. Like most extended families, ours is a complicated relationship, with a tremendous range of emotions that flame and flex and flame again.

When I first began workshopping this story in 2008 at the Grub Street Writing Center in Boston, it proved one of the more difficult pieces for me to write, and equally difficult for others to read. Ten years later, I’ve finally found the words, and a home, for an experience that continues to haunt me, with no easy answers. Writing and re-writing this story has deepened my empathy, and my conviction that if we remain silent about unpalatable truths, how can we ever grow, both as individuals and as a people?

Sky Island Journal is one of those amazing literary journals that choses to make all of its content FREE and open access: you can click through each of their issues to date, and download poetry, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction works in bite-size pieces (<1000 words) from throughout the United States and the world.

Sky Island Journal_Issue 4_CoverIssue #4 contains a tremendous diversity of poetry and prose to explore. My favorite poems include “Flying Fox” by Alison Thompson (Australia) and  “Joan of Arc Goes to the Gym” by Jarred Thompson (South Africa).

I encourage folks to spend some time reading and digesting the material, and sharing the pieces that most intrigued or moved you with someone else: let’s keep the power of the written word alive, and the conversation going.

Beauty & Love Publishing debut!

Books 1-2-3 web image

A celebration of traditional culture.

Each book features a different aspect of biocultural diversity: Waterdog & the Love Charm, a delightfully mischievous tale told by Dry Creek Pomo Elizabeth “Belle” Lozinto Cordova Dollar (and edited by her great-niece Sherri Smith-Ferri) illustrates the close ties between nature and culture – and the perils of interspecies relationships (!!).

In Pomo Cradle Baskets: An Introduction, Redwood Valley Pomo master weaver Corine Pearce describes the history, wild-crafting, distinct styles and contemporary use of traditional cradle baskets. This book stems from her lifelong commitment to revive full-circle basketry through tending native plants in situ and providing cultural continuity.

The Beadwork of Stewart Wilburn commemorates fifty years of stunning artistry by a renowned Wailaki/Tolowa/Pomo/Wintu self-taught beader whose designs often come to him in dreams, and whose work honors and represents the people and wildlife of Northern California.

Buy the books on the Beauty & Love Publishing website.

Author events can be scheduled by contacting the publisher, Dr. Jeanine Pfeiffer at

300 more trees planted…

…this month by my extended family in Tado, eastern Indonesia, to help achieve my annual goal of carbon-neutral living while conserving biocultural diversity.

Why 300 trees? What types of trees? And why Tado?


Three hundred trees represent the number of actively growing woody plants I need to plant to offset the tonnage of carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas) emitted by my lifestyle every six months. The trees planted are culturally significant, locally native species – mango and jackfruit – used for traditional foods and medicines.

Tado is the name of the indigenous clan who claim me as family, ever since I showed up on their doorstep as an aspiring PhD student in 1997. We began living and working together in 1999, collaboratively researching, documenting, and conserving Tado ancestral lifeways. We  built a community research center and developed a community-based ecotourism program, both of which are going strong almost twenty years later (!!).


My younger brother Yeremias Uril (Jeremy), pictured above) chose species that could be hand-grown from locally collected seeds and stakes, would thrive even under low rainfall conditions, and could re-vegetate a denuded hillside. Yeremias envisions these trees helping to restore local watersheds and provide ethnobotanical teaching moments for tourists hiking in the area.

Yeremias has even proffered a special “Trekking + Tree Planting” ecotourism package for visitors who want to leave an environmentally-friendly legacy while visiting Tado.

Big Sister (a.k.a. Dr. Pfeiffer) is SO proud!