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James McCommons in The L.A. Times

James McCommons is the author of the award-winning book, Waiting on a Train; The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service, which chronicled a year spent riding Amtrak across the United States.

In a recent piece for the Los Angeles Times, he shares his experience of effortless connections, convenient stations, and gorgeous routes as he traveled by rail in Europe with his son. There’s more than a touch of lament in his words for the way passenger rail works back here in the States. As Waiting on a Train illustrates, Amtrak is hampered by ineffective subsidies and decaying infrastructure, making rail travel difficult where it’s possible at all.

McCommons is not alone in hoping that we can follow in Europe’s footsteps to create viable rail transit in this country. The fuel efficiency of rail, when compared to cars and trucks makes it a favorite for those looking to trim carbon dioxide emissions. We won’t be holding our breath for a change, however. Subsidies for less efficient travel methods have been strong for ages, and even the recent oil disaster doesn’t look to be changing that anytime soon.

Read Waiting on a Train.

Read the full Los Angeles Times article.


5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

Uncovering the Many Uses for Abundant Kudzu

As Invasive Species Week comes to a close, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,  share alternative approaches to understanding and managing Kudzu. Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye […] Read More..

Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on Oxeye Daisy and check out tips for working with Garlic […] Read More..

How to Manage Invasive Thistle and Improve Your Soil

As Invasive Species Week continues, Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species, and Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, are sharing alternative approaches to managing and using plants considered to be “invasive.” Take a look through today’s profile on two variations of Thistle and check out tips for working […] Read More..