M.R O'Connor

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M.R O'Connor

Sunday, December 10, 2023
10:00 am

M.R O'Connor

Join us and welcome M.R O’Connor to Armstrong Redwoods Forest Theater for her new book – Ignition: Lighting Fires in a Burning World on Sunday, December 10, 2023 starting at 10AM at the Armstrong Redwoods Forest Theater. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A. This event is free and open to the public – sponsored by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and Russian River Books & Letters. Coffee will be available

Journalist M.R. O’Connor’s IGNITION: Lighting Fires in a Burning World is a riveting investigation into the science and ecology of wildfires and the advent of global megafires.

Heat. Flames. Billows of smoke. Danger. Unpredictability. All of these are characteristics of an element we have been conditioned to fear: Fire. Yet, what if there was a missing piece to the story? What if much of what we have been taught to believe about fire, and our relationship to it, is wrong?

O’Connor offers compelling evidence emerging from the field of ethnoecology and dendrochronology that proves how, until very recently, humans all over the world were igniting fires—actively molding and influencing the ecosystems that exist around them by inserting themselves into the loop of a natural biological process to start “good fires.” What results is a kind of natural history of arson.

Discussion will be moderated by Ryan Klausch, California State Park Environmental Scientist for the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Program.

“Wildfires have become a symbol of climate apocalypse frequently cited as unambiguous evidence of the fossil-fuel induced ecological disaster that is destabilizing life on earth. Get close enough to a fire on the landscape—maybe even close enough to smell it burning and feel its heat—and what you may find is a far more complicated and fascinating story about evolution, biology, history, and culture. And one that is infinitely more hopeful.” —Prologue, Ignition

Please park in the front parking lot of Armstrong Redwoods and account for 15 minutes walking time from the parking lot to the theater.

Registration is required for this event.


About the author

M.R O'Connor

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M. R. O’Connor is a journalist who writes about the politics and ethics of science, technology, and conservation. Her work has appeared online in The Atavist, Slate, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, Nautilus, UnDark and Harper’s.  Her first book, Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), was one of Library Journal and Amazon’s Best Books of The Year. Her second book, Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World (St. Martin’s Press, 2019), is an exploration of navigation traditions, neuroscience, and the diversity of human relationships to space, time and memory. Its writing was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan’s Program for the Public Understanding of Science, Technology, & Economics. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her partner and their two sons.

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