“I wear the trekking tights everywhere. I go birding in them in Central Park, I wear them canoeing, I use them when I’m researching in protected areas because the reinforced knees allow me to drop down and comfortably take notes. They are even stylish enough to convert into a pant I can wear out to grab a beer after a long day. In the field, gear makes or breaks a project. I trust when I put Fjällräven on that I’m going to feel confident with each step no matter how tricky.”
New York City-based environmental journalist and researcher Cayte Bosler is working on her master’s of science degree in Sustainability Management at Columbia University's Earth Institute. She’s spending the summer of 2019 off the grid in Madidi National Park, assessing populations of jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, birds, and other species in the upper Amazon River basin in Bolivia, partly thanks to a grant from Fjällräven North America.
Other recent expeditions studying ecology and changes to ecosystems due to the climate crisis have included a trek to 17,000 ft in the Peruvian Andes researching the Andean Mountain Cat, and mapping biodiversity in Cuba with a team of scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Bosler says her first experiences in nature were as a child, climbing trees in Washington.
“Nature has remained my refuge,” she says. “Under open skies and among other creatures, this is where I feel most at home. To me, when you love somewhere, you fight to defend it with all your might. Because nature supports my physical existence, as well as my deepest sense of belonging, the least I can do is constantly learn ways to protect it.”
She’s on track to complete her master’s degree in 2020, and says she takes her studies and her work in conservation with life-or-death seriousness.
“In our pursuit to sustain human culture, we must include the rest of life — before it is too late,” she says. “We lose 200 species a day. That’s why I immerse myself in fieldwork, be it the Peruvian highlands, the rainforest of the Amazon, or the watersheds of the Colorado River: to witness and learn firsthand from local stakeholders so I can be most effective in guiding conservation and sustainability strategy.”
Despite all the dismal evidence from her research, Bosler maintains some optimism about the climate crisis and says she believes helping people reconnect with nature is part of the solution.
“My biggest concern is how so many of us have fallen asleep to the magic of the world,” Bosler says. “We’ve forgotten we are animals among millions of other species all going about this business of existence. The part that brings me solace though is witnessing time again the transformations in humans when you connect them to nature; seeing the calm, joy and confidence shared by people bonding outdoors and feeling part of the bigger world together even if just for a hike or camping trip. It’s these small building blocks that lead to more compassionate communities. The quest, for me, is to study and share about exceptional ways of living, being, surviving based on well-being for humans, other animals, and the planet. It all comes down to stories we tell ourselves about how we can live together. I believe in the possibility of a just and sustainable world... We have an unprecedented calling as a species: to decide and act for the rest of life on earth.”
So, what does a climate crisis warrior wear into battle?
“I wear the trekking tights everywhere,” Bosler says. “I go birding in them in Central Park, I wear them canoeing, I use them when I’m researching in protected areas because the reinforced knees allow me to drop down and comfortably take notes. They are even stylish enough to convert into a pant I can wear out to grab a beer after a long day. In the field, gear makes or breaks a project. I trust when I put Fjällräven on that I’m going to feel confident with each step no matter how tricky.”
Instagram: @caytebosler New York City, NY
Written by Colin Bane.