One Word: “Plastics”

“Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Benjamin: Yes, sir. Mr. McGuire: Are you listening? Benjamin: Yes, I am. Mr. McGuire: Plastics. Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean? Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?” ~The Graduate, 1967 Plastics appear […]

Where You Gonna Grow?

In recent years, scientists have documented countless species shifting their ranges toward the poles, higher into the mountains, and deeper into the seas in response to the changing climate. ~ Sonia Shah As our group of volunteers spread out across the buffer zone of the former nuclear weapons plant, we gathered native grass seeds to […]

Like Legos

“… it was all about refurbishing and reusing existing buildings. Wainright’s meaning is much more sophisticated; we may not keep every building forever, but if they are designed for deconstruction we can keep using all the parts. That’s the way to truly ban demolition.” ~ Lloyd Alter It was a hard lesson for a young […]

Down and Dirty

“It’s like magic,” he explained, “You drop a seed into the dirt, add a little water and you get squash! It’s like Jack and the Beanstalk.” The kindergartener was all excited after his day at school where the teacher had talked about plants and growing — and I had to bite my tongue as I […]

Bug Me No More?

“Climate change, loss of natural habitats and overexposure to pesticides are among the factors contributing to the decline of insects, including once-common species of flies, butterflies, beetles, bees and numerous others. More than two-thirds of all caddisfly populations have disappeared in the past decade.” ~ Johnny Wood The smell of insect repellent pervaded the camp […]

Plastic Panic

“It’s not nice to fool (with) Mother Nature” ~ Apologies to Chiffon Margarine I think it started with the dirty diaper panic. Years ago, it suddenly became the cause celebre among environmentalists (few of whom, I suspect, were actually parents). Dirty diapers littering the landscape and bursting out of the landfills. Dirty diapers oozing baby […]

Diggin’ Dirt

Soil is the “excited skin” of the earth, as soil scientists put it, and whether we nourish that skin or scrape away at it has big implications for mitigating and weathering climate change. ~ Ula Chrobak I have played and worked in the dirt and mud in many places. From ocean beach sand castles to […]

Pendulum

“Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land And don’t criticize, what you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters, are beyond your command Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’.” ~Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’ […]

Bumbling Along with Nature

“Scientist Sánchez-Bayo said he had recently witnessed an insect crash himself. A recent family holiday involved a 400-mile (700km) drive across rural Australia, but he had not once had to clean the windscreen, he said. ‘Years ago you had to do this constantly.’” ~ Damian Carrington One of the scary effects of human actions on […]

Pines in Lines

Once, while studying groundwater contamination at an air base in Florida, I was taken to several old, abandoned landfills to determine which of them should be drilled for testing. One presented a real problem: In the twenty years since it had been closed, the landfill had been planted with pine trees — part of the […]