Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - over and over announcing your place in the family of things. ~ Mary Oliver
Rachel is a writer and biologist. As a kid she got hooked on all things animal, vegetable, and mineral. To complicate matters, she was hatching up stories before she could hold a crayon. Once she discovered biology it was all over. Ever since her first class in 7th grade when she refused to dissect a frog, a little voice in her head said: You gotta share this amazing stuff about how nature works, and ask if we really need to harm it. The little voice only got fiercer once she went to college and worked with captive dolphins and Beluga whales, then got to see wild killer whales only a few weeks later. From then on it was an all-out quest to convey the wonders of nature, while pointing out the serious problems of our very bad habit of dominating others and the Earth. She’s been a card-carrying science writer for twenty years. The Blackfish Prophecy is Rachel’s first book.
One of Rachel's earliest memories–at age five or six–was a laser zap hunch. She suddenly intuited from nowhere, If I climb that tree, I'll see a deer. Straightaway, up she scrambled, and there were a mama deer and her babies, gazing at her from across the meadow as if they'd summoned her. Her heart fluttered. Yet despite a number of other mystical experiences–with animals, nature, and people–it wasn't until her first orca dream in the summer of 2012 that she began to act on those seemingly inexplicable moments of interconnection.
The two governing helixes of her life are writing and biology. Born a writer, with her first published story in second grade, it was to be a college English degree. But then biology took her, and suddenly the study of Life stole her heart, opened her voice, and guided all future choices. Before she knew it she was up to her waist in sulfuric muck & estuarine seagrasses, traipsing the Appalachian Trail to greet crowds of tree and shrub species, measuring Chesapeake Bay oysters to help determine ways to heal a pollution-induced disease, and dancing with Beluga whales at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Absorbing the biological sciences (including the early data on climate change) with peak science experiences in the field, made for someone who could deeply understand, and speak about, what was happening as human culture ruptured nature. For almost two decades Rachel's work as a science & environment writer spotlighted human impacts on the natural world.
Then came her first orca dream in the summer of 2012. After that everything changed. A few weeks later, she happened to see David Kirby's new book Death at Seaworld at her local library. Recalling her dream, she knew she had to read his book. A few days later, after being spellbound on the couch for days, her kids went back to school and she sat down to write. Every morning The Blackfish Prophecy woke her at 4 am and she'd go to her desk, drawn by something bigger than she could fathom. The book and story came almost fully formed in less than three months, and the experience was unlike any she'd had before.
As she explains in All Hands on Deck: A Science Writer Looks at Blackfish, what we now know as the "Blackfish Effect" is a gateway:
Now you’re a part of something bigger than any single one of us. Because The Blackfish Effect may be about whales and captivity on the surface, but it is also about something much bigger. It’s a gateway to overhauling the system that’s putting all life on Earth at risk. And it’s proving just how fast we can make change for the good of all: change that’s crucial for human hope in an era where so much has to change so quickly.
Since then, there have been many more orca dreams, many other whale dreamers... And an ever rising active engagement with the science of Life and partnership with Earth. Harmony.
We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose it's future. ~ The U.N. Earth Charter
These days when Rachel is not writing, reading, dreaming, or speaking, you can find her sculpting an unruly assortment of moose-pruned orchard trees & berry bushes, gathering veggies & eggs in her micro-farmyard, foraging for mushrooms, and feasting on local food with friends.
She is a lifelong yogini, devoted packmate to her free-spirited Canid, and mama bear who's sustained by treks deep into the Pacific Northwest with her increasingly feral family. Rachel drives a 100% electric zero-emission car, and her family's home is powered by renewable energy. Their little house is nestled on an urban lot they tend for kids' play, territory animalia, sequestering carbon, and a food forest to augment the bounty of local growers.
Her work is fiercely aligned with the science of Life, harmony & justice for all: the enduring dream of Earth.