Hi, I’m Nikole, and this is my story…
When I was 14 years old, I read the book And So it Goes: Adventures in Television by Linda Ellerbee, a reporter, anchor, and host of shows like Today, Weekend, Good Morning America, and NBC News Overnight. Even more relevant today than when originally published, Ellerbee’s book took a timeless–and humorous–look at life as a television anchor. And while the deeper lessons of 1980s misogyny in the newsroom evaded me, one lesson did stick: I wanted to be a journalist just like her when I grew up.
I attended the University of Idaho in the early 1990s and true to my 14-year-old self, majored in English.
But, by the mid-90s, Ellerbee’s book had become a long forgotten relic of my past. Instead of hard-hitting journalism, biotechnology consumed my dreams. I wanted to end world hunger and nutritional insecurity through the magic of genetically modified crops. So, in 1996, I graduated with a BS in Microbiology, a BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a Minor in Chemistry.
Following graduation, I packed up my life, moved to California, and landed my dream job–developing lettuce that could survive freezing, disease-resistant melons, and crops that could thrive after being sprayed with RoundupTM.
Wait, what? I wasn’t solving world hunger. I was creating crops so that Monsanto could sell more herbicide.
I was officially a cog in the wheel of corporate greed.
In 2000, I became a new mom and left the corporate world to work as an environmental planner for the State of California, Department of Toxic Substances Control. If I couldn’t make the world a better place, at least I could protect it from the potentially toxic chemicals I had been a part of releasing onto the world.
By 2002, I desperately wanted to buy a house to raise my daughter in and discovered home ownership in California was well beyond our reach. So, we moved back to Idaho and bought a house–white fence and all.
Idaho’s environmental regulations are a far cry from those in California, and I knew the odds of getting a job at a state regulatory agency were slim. So, in 2007, I launched Peak Science Communications.
Peak began as a technical editing company but quickly grew to a full-service environmental consulting firm. Before I knew it, I was once again working as an environmental planner. But this time, I was helping corporations and government agencies analyze the impacts of their projects on the environment across 11 western states.
Once again, our family–now all grown up–packed up and moved back to California.
Some agencies I’ve worked with along the way
After more than two decades of reading and writing reports about water, air, wildlife, fish, plants, and forests, I’ve noticed something peculiar and undeniable: the environment is rapidly changing.
Average river temperatures are increasing, and flows are decreasing–a lot. Species that rely on snow cover are being forced into higher elevations to survive. Trees are rapidly dying from drought, insects, and disease.
And the one rare mega-fire (fire larger than 100,000 acres) has been replaced by a demon that didn’t exist before 2020–the giga-fire (fire larger than 1,000,000 acres).
As I watched the environment decline around me, it became clear that writing more environmental assessments wouldn’t be enough.
I had to do something different if I wanted to make a lasting difference.
And that’s why this blog exists.
To help my readers understand what is happening, to learn how to acclimate to these changes, and to present hopeful solutions that inspire action instead of despair.