About Adam Hanbury-Brown

AHB mugshotI am an independent blogger who writes on topics in ecology, climatology, conservation, and environmental science. I have a sense of adventure and a desire to directly experience nature: the bizarre, the shocking, and the beautiful. Today, one of my passions is converting technical information into intelligible, engaging stories. I want to serve as a conduit between the mysterious world of science and those seeking to cultivate their sense of awe and understanding of the planet.

7_23_2014 079When I was nineteen I thru-hiked the Appalachian trail and deepened my commitment to study, explore, and advocate for the environment. This led to a degree in ecology and environmental science, and an early career in plant biology and the agricultural innovation sector. I believe its important to laugh a lot, not take yourself too seriously, and do what you can to cultivate mindfulness.

Being active in the outdoors is my equivalent of the “force-reboot” option on a frozen computer. Running, backpacking, and climbing are my go-to activities, but often times its the more unconventional and eccentric things that bring me the most joy. For example, my friends and I would “urban whitewater kayak” the storm water runoff through our suburban New England town of Greenwich, Connecticut. “You’d be happy out west,” people would say. They were right. I now live in Oakland, California with my girlfriend and pet cacti.

climb_v2I was born in the UK to Australian parents and grew up part time in Connecticut and Australia. I was also lucky to grow up with a wonderful Argentine step-family which further set my clan apart as an eccentric bunch of internationals known for throwing asados (Argentine BBQs), having a sister who plays the didgeridoo, and randomly leaving town for eighteen months to sail around the world.

Developing a sense of wonder with the natural world

When I was fifteen I woke up in the middle of the night on board the 47 foot catamaran that had become my family’s home over the past year. Everyone else was asleep. The only sound was the rhythmic sloshing of water against the hull, and the occasional creaking of ropes. I checked the radar in a groggy and perfunctory way and smiled as I wondered which of my sleeping parents were technically on watch.

StarsintheskyWe were on a crossing between Panama and the Galapagos, hundreds of miles from the nearest land. I crept out on deck. There was no moon, no clouds, and no man-made light source for hundreds of miles in every direction. The sky was so packed with stars that it felt as if I were inside an effervescent dome of light that reached down to the black undulating ocean. I started seeing flashes of explosive white light emanating deep from within the dark water. All around me the flashes of light started to take the familiar form of fish. Every creature near the boat was highlighted by an explosive phosphorescence and the ocean became a celestial version of itself full of starry marine ghosts.

I could not believe the scene I was witnessing. The beauty and mystery of it all was too extravagant. All I could do was laugh, shake my head, and wonder if the universe had any limit to its ridiculous awesomeness.

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