Shoo Fly!

  “With each generation, the amount of environmental degradation increases, but each generation takes that amount as the norm.” ~ Peter H. Kahn and Batya Friedman When we think about losing biodiversity, we tend to think of the last northern white rhinos protected by armed guards, of polar bears on dwindling ice floes. Extinction is […]

Down in the Dirt

Humans evolved in caves and fields — not in sanitized homes, cars and schools. And our immune systems developed to find and suppress foreign invaders, growing stronger with each battle won. ~ Christine Peterson It’s not there now, but I look forward to a time when we can essentially garden our homes — fill them […]

Be Green, Not Mean

“What’s in a fence? More than you’d think. In neighborhoods where as little as about $1,000 was spent transforming a vacant lot with some grass, a few trees, and a short wooden fence, people felt less depressed and less worthless.” ~ Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan In contrast to the suburbs or ex-burbs, urban areas are often relatively […]

Live and Let Diet

When our distant ancestors invented farming ten thousand or so years ago, they began altering these and other wild plants to make them more productive, easier to grow and harvest, and more enjoyable to eat. To date, four hundred generations of farmers and tens of thousands of plant breeders have played a role in redesigning […]

Talking Trash

Plastics in the oceans, fish and turtles choking on garbage, litter … what can be done? I strongly advocate for cleaning up the beaches, oceans and rivers. The cleanup schemes range from just individually picking up trash to complicated ocean plastic-collection systems. In the U.S. we’re also talking about banning plastic straws and water bottles. […]

What Broke The Camel’s Back

Maybe it wasn’t that last straw that broke the camel’s back, it was the long-term accumulation of straws and other materials that did it. Can we reverse things by banning straws? Undoubtedly, no, but maybe we can slow the damage and take a little time to fix the problems. Plastic pollution in the rivers and […]

Blue Space, Green Space

“Blue skies smilin’ at me, Nothin’ but blue skies do I see.” ~ Irving Berlin, Blue Skies Take a deep breath, then exhale. You have just accomplished what every tree, indeed, all vegetation, accomplishes continuously. But unlike humans, trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. That — trees replenishing our oxygen — is what makes […]

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere, and Not Just Straws, I Think

As we walked into town for breakfast, up ahead I saw him rise from his spot on the planter in the shade to pick up an empty plastic water bottle that had blown down the street. He tossed it into the trash can and reclaimed his spot. As we passed, he avoided eye contact, but […]

Roadside Distraction

“I knew when I had looked for a long time,” she writes, “that I had hardly begun to see.” ~ Nan Shepherd, quoted in Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane, 2015 When I drive, I try to be conscious of my surroundings — other traffic, buildings or pedestrians and the surrounding scenery. But in traffic, my attention stays […]