Caitlin Fitzsimmons

Articles by Caitlin Fitzsimmons:

Passports with Purpose: Fundraising Gets Inspiring

It takes four travel writers to raise a village.

When Seattle-based Michelle Duffy met up with three friends for a coffee and a chat in 2008, she had no idea they were about to change the world. But if it weren’t for that fateful coffee, a village in Cambodia would not have a school and an entire village in India would not exist. That’s just for starters.

How the Queensland Floods Brought a Nation Together

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

These words, well known to most Australians, were penned over a century ago by poet Dorothea Mackellar at age 19. These days there is a scientific explanation for Australia’s infamous “droughts and flooding rains”.

It’s called the El Niño-La Niña effect – a weather phenomenon that affects other Pacific rim countries as well. El Niño brings the dry, hot …

Care of Hummingbirds: To Dye or Not to Dye

-Since moving to California, I have become besotted with hummingbirds. These graceful little birds are found only in the Americas and until a year ago I had only seen them in photographs and wildlife documentaries. I’d seen slow-motion video footage of the figure-eight beating of their wings but never an actual live bird. They seemed as exotic to me as a kangaroo would to an American.

Now I see them every day. In fact, as I type these words, there is one drinking sugar water from my feeder hanging on my …

How Pot Farms are Invading our National Parks


National parks are meant to be havens for plants and wildlife and places we humans can enjoy the beauty of the natural world and relax. But if you are an illegal pot farmer, they might just provide perfect cover for you to grow your drugs.

Yosemite National Park in California is the latest park authorities have found providing cover for marijuana entrepreneurs. This week, police found 3,657 marijuana plants in just one remote area. They are not revealing the exact location, but it was near Highway 140 near El …

Bad Eggs: Why the Salmonella Outbreak Was Preventable

-The worst thing about the current outbreak of salmonella in the United States is all the people who are getting sick. The second worst thing is that it was entirely preventable.

The New York Times reports that federal regulators rejected the idea of mandating egg farmers to vaccinate their hens against salmonella, ruling that there was insufficient evidence to support such a stance (hat tip to The Daily Beast for the link). The vaccination would have only cost a penny per dozen eggs and was introduced in …

Australian Election Delivers ‘Greenslide’ but Outcome in Limbo


The Australian people have spoken, and they said “meh”.

In case you missed it, there was a federal election in Australia on Saturday and it was an important one. Aussies love a good election and there are usually sausage sizzles and cake stalls down at the polling booths. With only 20 million people, Australians vote by hand and the counting is also done by hand with volunteer scrutineers from all parties overseeing the process. There are no hanging chads in an Australian election and Aussies usually know the results the very …

Scape-Goating BP Lets Big Oil Off Scot-Free


I’ve been watching the growing condemnation of BP from all sides of the political spectrum and it’s making me mad as hell!

Now, don’t get me wrong – BP is no friend of mine. Some days I can’t bear to read the news coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, let alone look at the heart-wrenching images of oil-coated wildlife. It’s about to get worse with Tropical Storm Bonnie likely to spread the oil and migratory birds starting to fly south for winter, many of them via the Gulf.

There …

Better Place Offers New Vision of the Electric Car


What if I told you that most of what you think you know about electric cars is probably wrong?

Until this week, my idea of an electric vehicle was a small car for city driving. I was vaguely aware of the work Tesla was doing with electric sports cars, but the teeny-tiny Smart Car was the image that sprang most readily to mind. (Probably because they are super-cute, like the adorable blue number our editor-in-chief Sara Ost gads about in).

But a trip to …