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Photo: Francis Parchaso, USGS


I specialize in writing about the friction between people and nature.


I'm fascinated by environmental science, enjoy telling the story of how science is accomplished in the field, and am known for making technical details "readable."

Early on in my 25-year-long freelance career, I wrote about saving forests, climbing mountains, stopping pollution, taking transit, and building healthier cities.  Later I specialized in California water issues.  Water is the great connector, influencing nearly every environmental challenge before us today.  It changes the landscape wherever it flows, and wherever people direct it.
The waters I know best are those of the San Francisco Estuary.  My writing about this estuary explores everything from the interaction of ocean tides and freshwater flows to mercury contamination, invasive species, endangered fish, ecosystem restoration and climate change. Over the years I’ve edited numerous science and technical reports by public entities and NGOs. In 2011, I co-authored a book called The Natural History of San Francisco Bay, published by the University of California Press.

Today, I write articles for Bay Nature and essays for the San Francisco Chronicle. I edit a 20-page quarterly regional environmental magazine and web site called ESTUARY News.  My newest project is a multi-media storytelling platform about climate-challenged waterfront communities called AcclimateWest.org.  Once again, it is water – pouring from the skies from atmospheric rivers, melting off the ice caps, and swelling our ocean – that connects and sustains us. So I’ll keep following its lede.


© Copyright 2019, Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, all rights reserved. Design: Darren Campeau