The Morning Report
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Halsey sees himself as an advocate for chaparral, the term that describes the native plant community that blankets San Diego’s hillsides. The feature story is worth a read. Here’s a glimpse:
[I]n the aftermath of the winds and the subsequent infernos [Halsey] suffers from a peculiar kind of isolation: Almost everything everybody around him is saying about fire, he believes, is wrong.
“I get enraged,” admits Halsey, a former high school biology teacher who quit 10 years ago to educate a broader audience about Southern California’s plant communities. “I go into orbit. So many people out there create a sense of fear and misconception about the natural environment, which to me is just so wrong. We’re disconnected enough as it is.” The 53-year-old Halsey, who now runs a small nonprofit called the California Chaparral Institute, has dedicated his life to defending the chaparral against its detractors. He likens chaparral-haters to climate-change deniers and flat-earth believers. “I’ve chomped down on it,” he says, “and I’m not going to let go until either I die or I can get some kind of validation, so that land-management agencies aren’t proclaiming the need to cut it all down.”