JOSHUA TREE, CA
We spent three months in Joshua Tree in late 2014, early 2015—the dark months, which meant we got more time with the night skies. The town and its starry nights are fairly well known, thanks to the National Park, the number of weekend visitors from LA, and, yes, that U2 album. But the place still holds a lot of surprises—like the gold miners keeping one of California’s origin stories alive, and the furore about plans to bring renewable-energy projects to the area.
JT is about two hours’ drive east of Los Angeles, at the southern edge of the Mojave Desert . . . CONTINUE READING
An almighty shitstorm has been brewing in the Californian desert for the last decade or so. Everything finally erupted in September 2014, when a group of federal and state agencies released the draft of an eye-wateringly ambitious proposal they’d been working on for six years: the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, or DRECP. Among the many things at stake here are: state, and so national, and so global progress on climate change; unique and endangered desert environments; endangered species; delicate ecosystems; public health; local economies; the justification for an enormous amount of public spending; and a fair few political reputations.
Little beacons of freedom in the middle of the desert, attracting those wanting to escape the force of straight white male privilege pretty much everywhere else.
Ed Rosenthal shouldn’t really be alive. He spent six and a half days lost in Joshua Tree National Park in September 2010. How did he survive?
“I came to the United States in '75. I was single, and my mom and dad let me come. They were left behind. They went through the ordeal—you know what happened in my country?”
“And then we combined the pizza and the Indian food, so now we have Indian pizza. Curry sauce pizza.”
“My kids were in schools where every other kid was a gang member, every other kid carried a gun. I didn’t want them around that.”
“We found out they thought it was a front, because nobody would open a bookstore in the desert.”