Sunset Magazine features Obi Kaufmann

I could actually be not more pleased with the feature on me and my work in the new issue of Sunset Magazine (JUNE 2019) – on shelves now. I am deeply thankful to all those who had a part in helping tell this story: @sunsetmag @sunsetphoto @indigoferajeans @kamenroad @filson1897 @jamcollective @heydaybooks -Obi

Link here to preorder The State of Water by Obi Kaufmann

The unedited text, as submitted regarding WILD GIFTS, by Obi Kaufmann

  1. Ditch the car. “The panoply of nature doesn’t reveal itself at 65 miles per hour. Walking is important, stopping even more so. I backpack at an ambling rate. I’ve been on so many treks with hikers who feel like it is some kind of race. It really isn’t. Stop by the creek and study the birds. Break out the journal and the binoculars often. Record your impression. Allow yourself to be astonished. Enjoy a couple of light lunches and see how many flowers you can count. Try drawing a fern leaf and let the process be more important than the product. With fifteen minutes in a wildflower meadow, I have never not been amazed at what I found. The more you look, the more there is. Nature is magic like that.”
  1. Watch for patterns. “Nature is arranged into apprehendable patterns. Our minds were built by evolution to appreciate and know these patterns. My books aren’t arranged like field guides, I don’t explain what you are looking at. I explain how these larger, living forces work together and coalesce to form nature’s bigger drama. If you want to learn natural history, for example, start with a family of plants or birds, don’t start with an individual species. Widen the lens, investigate larger trends in the ecology around you. The bigger picture will always reveal more that the little picture and is a better path to understanding than memorizing specific details.”
  1. Read a book. “Spend at least as much time reading as doing any other activity. More than walking, more than painting, I read. Books are trails that uncover the nature of thought itself. The unraveling of the contemporary mind away from the ability to concentrate in extended periods of focus. Alive today are some of the best nature writers in history and I hang on their every word like its food. Some of my favorite, working authors on your local bookstore right now are, in no particular order, David Rains Wallace, Gretel Ehrlich, Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Solnit, Gary Snyder, Naomi Kline, Barry Lopez, Diane Ackerman, Wendell Berry, Robert Macfarlane, David George Haskell, and Edward O. Wilson.”
  1. Join a Land Trust. “The Land Trust movement is growing at an amazing rate. This apolitical network of good people working to preserve the natural character of millions of acres of land across the west, is direly important to support. Is there a local patch of habitat you are concerned about? chances are that one of several hundred, local land trusts is working to keep it safe. You can support land trusts, not only with dollars, but by volunteering. Getting out and doing some trail work, cleaning up a trashed site, or some other communal work is about as satisfying a day in nature as can be had.”
  1. Don’t Panic. “More and more, when I present my work to the public, I find people who, with wild and yet exhausted eyes, ask me desperately what they can do to help the unraveling world they perceive as falling apart around them. I know this feeling well and I am very sympathetic to it. My first response is to ask the person who asked when the last time they went camping was? The number one thing you can do to help defend the intact, wild spirit of nature is to take care of yourself. So many people spend hours a day in their car and then spend the rest of the day staring at a computer. This is not how to engage in the movement. The movement needs you rested, grounded and connected. Go outside. Go outside for a good long while. Take off your shoes. Feel the grass in your toes. Drink water. Breathe deep. Eat well. Do this every day. Do this several times a day. The days of our existential alienation from nature will end soon enough. The post-carbon economy is on its way. Imagine that day is today. Take a moment to observe the bird, or the flower, or the passing cloud and marvel that you are the eye of the living universe perceiving the thing of the living universe. You, yourself are the natural world.”

Obi Kaufmann’s next book “The State of Water, Understand California’s Most Precious Natural Resource” is available now for preorder through heydaybooks.com and will be everywhere on June 1st. Obi will be going on an extensive book tour that begins in Truckee on June 2nd at Word after Word books, with a San Francisco launch at FILSON on June 6th. For details, go to www.californiafieldatlas.com. For information of the FORESTCITY collaboration, go to www.indigoferajeans.com and to order the COYOTETHUNDER FIELD BAG, go to www.kamenroad.com. Follow Obi on instagram @coyotethunder