Eric Pallant

Eric Pallant is the author of Sourdough Culture: The History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers. He is a serious amateur baker, a two-time Fulbright Scholar, double, award-winning professor, and the Christine Scott Nelson Endowed Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability at Allegheny College. He is acknowledged for his skill in weaving research narratives into compelling stories for the Gresham Lecture Series, London, bread symposia, podcasts, and articles for magazines such as Gastronomica, Sierra, and Science.

3 words to describe Nature?

Surprising. Restorative. Necessary

3 things Nature taught you?

Nature is better than engineers at managing ecosystem functions.

Nature is everywhere and needs to be available to everyone, not restricted to wilderness jaunts reserved for privileged, white, and wealthy people.

Appreciating Nature, like appreciating most things in life, takes time. It cannot be rushed.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Wellfleet Harbor, Cape Cod, MA.

My compost pile

My sourdough starters

When you look at the OCEAN, it makes you feel...?


When you see a FOREST, it makes you feel...?


When you see a VOLCANO, it makes you feel...?

Heart thumpingly excited. I’ve actually walked up to the lava in a couple of active volcanoes.

When you see a SUNRISE or SUNSET, it makes you feel...?


When you hear THUNDER, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the WIND HOWLING, it makes you feel...?

Also happy. I love wind!

Are you an OCEAN, MOUNTAIN, FOREST, or DESERT person?

Ocean. No question!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?


Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I spent countless childhood hours digging holes with my hands under the porch in my suburban backyard. I was searching for arrowheads and fossils. I found many, probably none of which were real. But I have remained fascinated by soil ever since. I now understand that beyond the tiny invertebrates I encountered, soil contains more living things than anyplace on earth and represents the profound junction of earth’s biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. 

Seamus Blackley

Seamus Blackley is an American video game designer, a theoretical physicist and entrepreneur who has collaborated technically with Bill Gates and creatively with Steven Spielberg. He is currently the CEO of Pacific Light & Hologram. In 2003, Seamus founded the Interactive Entertainment department at the Creative Artists Agency, where he was the Head of Interactive for 9 years. Fun Fact #1: If you have a Xbox in your leaving room, its because of him! Fun Fact #2 Blackley is a GastroEgyptologist (hardcore amateur baker and Egyptologist). He once made bread using 4,500-year-old Egyptian yeast. Listen to his interview on Ologies here.  

3 words to describe Nature?

Beauty. Power. Symmetry

3 things Nature taught you?


The biggest change often comes from the smallest place. 

There is beauty everywhere, if you simply look.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

El bosque del apache

The gardens at Belsay Hall, Northumberland

The spot just under a big cloud in high summer

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Powerless, but connected to all life everywhere.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Serene, relaxed, worried

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Lucky that our planet can sustain life despite the enormous power of the mantle and core.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Connected with everyone, as we all share it; but it’s also a reminder that we live in a thin shell around a planet, and it’s all very tenuous.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

It reminds me of my childhood, the big storms in New Mexico in the summer, and the smell of rain in the high desert

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Lonely, and a bit sad

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I am a desert person

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 +, as it is for all of is, whether we admit it or not.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Its very simple, actually. We lived in the foothills of a big, rocky mountain range. My childhood was very difficult and abusive, and I survived by climbing (rather disturbingly far I must say now that I am a parent) into the hills, sitting on the tops of the enormous boulders, and letting the light and the smells and the sounds sooth and recharge me; to wipe away the human ugliness. One day I noticed a big rattlesnake sunning not far from me on the rock I had chosen. I thought about it, and then I closed my eyes and we sunned together. After half an hour or so, he left, but I was sure we had shared something important.