Rumination

“Climate change will increase the risks and hazards facing urban populations in numerous ways, from increasing heat waves to more intense rainfall to rising sea levels. For some of these risks, trees and other natural features can be a way to reduce the threat, in effect serving as part of the climate adaptation strategy of […]

Water Balancing Act

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. ~ Roger Miller “If you want to understand hydrology, go stand in the woods in the rain,” he instructed. We looked at our environmental engineering professor as if he was crazy, but over the next few weeks, most of us tried it. Once I was […]

Plastic (not so) Fantastic

I bent down and picked up a plastic six-pack ring from the ground, cut it apart with my pocket knife and tossed it into the back of the car. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Cutting it up,” I replied. “But why?” “Ever seen those photos of ducks or other birds caught up in one […]

Home Garden

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” ~ Margaret Attwood My father’s garden was a small area about ten-foot by ten against the south side of the house that got intense sun early in the day, but was shaded in the afternoon. He didn’t start a garden until […]

Paths Less Traveled

Humans are animals and like all animals we leave tracks as we walk: signs of passage made in snow, sand, mud, grass, dew, earth or moss. The language of hunting has a word for such mark-making: ‘foil’. A creature’s ‘foil’ is its track. The path’s sediment comprised sentiment, and to follow a path might therefore […]

Footprints

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe A few years ago I became intrigued by the concept of ‘carbon footprint’, the sum of all the greenhouse gases — like carbon dioxide — emitted by someone’s actions. Early on, the size of your footprint was represented by the […]

Where Do the Children Play?

“…if we build a city that allows children and youth to thrive, we are inherently building an inclusive, sustainable city for everyone.” ~ City of Toronto, quoted by Lloyd Alter A scream, shouts and high-pitched laughter. The kids down the block are engaged in some complex game that seems like an amalgam of tag, Marco […]

Small Green Spaces

Now more than ever, in an age when children grow up staring at tiny screens all day and Earth itself is threatened by human heedlessness and folly, it’s critically important to protect those places and get out to experience them as often as possible. But it is not necessary to live exclusively in the world […]