Accidental Rewilding - In places once thick with farms and cities, human dispossession and war has cleared the ground for nature to return
The forest had entered a cycle Tomaž had not seen before, in which many of the giants had perished. Some had died where they stood, and remained upright, reamed with beetle and woodpecker holes, sprouting hoof fungus and razor strop. They looked as if a whisper of wind could blow them down. Others now stretched across the rocks and craters, sometimes blocking our path, sometimes suspended above our heads. Among the trunks lying on the ground, some were so thick that I could scarcely see over them. Where they had fallen, thickets of saplings crowded into the light. Seeing the profusion of fungus and insect life the dead wood harboured, I was reminded of the old ecologists’ aphorism: there is more life in dead trees than there is in living trees. The tidy-minded forestry so many nations practise deprives many species of their habitats.
by George Monbiot [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Oct 25, 2013 -
"Consider some iconic acre of Brooklyn vacant lot. You could grow food on it—or you could throw up a 30-story apartment complex housing 600 people. That’s 600 people who won’t be settling in low-density exurbs where they would be smeared across 60 acres of subdivision; in turn, those 60 acres of vacant exurb could remain farmland or forest. Using communal laundromats and lacking basements to put junk in, those new Brooklynites would lead lives of anti-consumerism. And because they would use mass transit instead of driving everywhere, their carbon footprints would be roughly a third as large as the average American’s. That fundamental land-use equation is the key to understanding how cities promote global sustainability. By concentrating high-density housing, business and lifestyles inside its borders, New York lifts enormous burdens from the ecosystem outside its borders, but that potential is squandered when we consign pristine brownfields to low-density crop-growing. We may root for the community gardeners in their eternal battle with real-estate developers, but it’s the developers who are, despite themselves, the better environmentalists." -- The case against locavorism and or urban farming
posted by MartinWisse
on Aug 10, 2013 -
One Nation Under Elvis
My own conversion to country music came all of a sudden in 1990, around another campfire, also in Nevada. The great Western Shoshone anti-nuclear and land-rights activist Bill Rosse, a decorated World War II vet and former farm manager, unpacked his guitar and sang Hank Williams and traditional songs for hours. I was enchanted as much by the irreverent rancor of some of the songs as by the pure blue yearning of others. I’d had no idea such coolness, wit, and poetry was lurking in this stuff I was taught to scorn before I’d met it. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jul 28, 2013 -
DNA analysis has confirmed the death, by poaching, of the last Javan rhino in Vietnam.
This marks the official extinction of the Vietnamese subspecies of Javan rhinoceros. The entire species is now represented by just 35 individuals from the Indonesian subspecies, all of whom reside in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.
posted by Scientist
on Jan 16, 2013 -
Environmental and Native American activists in Flagstaff, AZ face federal charges
for allegedly "interfering with a forest officer" after a protest action in which they "quarantined"
the Coconino National Forest Service lobby to protest a decision permitting the expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort onto the San Fransisco Peaks
– a site regarded as sacred
by the Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai people. The proposed expansion entails the use of treated sewage effluent, aka reclaimed wastewater
for snowmaking operations. These events occurred on the same day that the USDA and Forest Service issued a final report (pdf)
which outlines recommendations for working more closely with Native representatives surrounding sacred sites issues.
posted by Scientist
on Dec 11, 2012 -
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring:
"Widely considered the most important environmental book of the 20th century, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring has been reissued after 50 years. Margaret Atwood considers its impact and legacy."
posted by Fizz
on Dec 8, 2012 -
Confessions Of A Recovering Environmentalist. We are environmentalists now in order to promote something called “sustainability.” What does this curious, plastic word mean? It does not mean defending the nonhuman world from the ever-expanding empire of Homo sapiens sapiens, though some of its adherents like to pretend it does, even to themselves. It means sustaining human civilization at the comfort level that the world’s rich people—us—feel is their right, without destroying the “natural capital” or the “resource base” that is needed to do so.
Paul Kingsnorth (most recently of the Dark Mountain Project
) in Orion Magazine
on environmentalism, sustainability, and hope. [more inside]
posted by jhandey
on Apr 11, 2012 -
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi
set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi
aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 9, 2012 -
END:CIV [full 75 minute movie] "If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?" [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan
on Mar 9, 2012 -
John Baez (mathematical physicist and master popularizer, former operator of This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics, current promoter of the idea that physicists should start pitching in on saving the world
) interviews Eliezer Yudkowsky (singularitarian, author of "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,"
promoter of the idea that human life faces a near-term existential threat from unfriendly artificial intelligence, and that people can live better lives by evading their cognitive biases) about the future, academia, rationality, altruism, expected utility, self-improvement by humans and machines, and the relative merit of battling climate change and developing friendly AIs that will forstall our otherwise inevitable doom. Part I
. Part II. Part III. [more inside]
posted by escabeche
on Apr 2, 2011 -
Previously on metafilter, a flock of ducks died
in a Syncrude tailings pond in Northern Alberta. Last week Syncrude was fined 3 million dollars.
flocks of ducks has landed in another Syncrude tailing pond.
, the Council of Canadians is warning that Alberta may be on the road to privatising water rights, something that ducks have previously been using for free. [/tongue in cheek.]
posted by Stagger Lee
on Oct 26, 2010 -
Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended. As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation
on the internet.
posted by thescientificmethhead
on Oct 1, 2010 -
Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii)
is a small songbird that lives almost exclusively in the lower peninsula of Michigan. During the 1970's they were on the verge of extinction, partially due to the fact that they prefer young jack pine trees as a nesting place, and improved fire safety efforts had led to a lack of new growth in the forests. To address the lack of young jack pines, the Forest Service started a controlled burn on May 5, 1980. The fire quickly got out of control, and the resulting wildfire lead to the death of local firefighter Jim Swiderski, and the destruction of 64 homes. A recent Radiolab segment
has again raised the question: how much is a species worth? [more inside]
posted by ivey
on Jul 18, 2010 -
SLJaredDiamondOp-Ed: As part of my board work, I have been asked to assess the environments in oil fields, and have had frank discussions with oil company employees at all levels. I’ve also worked with executives of mining, retail, logging and financial services companies. I’ve discovered that while some businesses are indeed as destructive as many suspect, others are among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog
on Dec 11, 2009 -
Leadership for the 21st Century
Harvard Business School hosts moderator Charlie Rose in a roundtable discussion concerning the credit crisis, housing, American leadership and foreign affairs. Participants are the 2008 HBS Alumni Achievement Award recipients, including eBay (and McCain advisor) CEO Meg Whitman, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Venture Capitalist extrordinaire John Doerr
, Indian business juggernaut Anand G. Mahindra
, and former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn.
This aired on PBS last night and it was some of the most honest, intelligent, and inspiring discussion I have heard in some time. While the only transcript I could find is a paid one here,
this 100 minute video should be required viewing for anyone working in a fortune 500 company, or those interested in politics, environmentalism, technology, foreign policy or the election. [more inside]
posted by daHIFI
on Oct 22, 2008 -
P.F.1 (Public Farm One)
is a project designed by WORK Architecture Company for MoMA and P.S.1's Young Architects Program. P.F.1’s intent is to "educate thousands of visitors on sustainable urban farming through the unique medium of contemporary architecture." An artist in Providence, RI developed a similar installation called Green Zone
, "an organic vegetable, herb, and flower garden planted in the detritus of wartime consumption: used tires, shopping bags, shoes, and other repurposed containers" at local venue Firehouse 13
posted by lunit
on Jul 16, 2008 -
Federal and state government officials and border activists say the garbage dumped in the Sonoran Desert
by illegal immigrants and their smugglers is staggering. The cleanup is costing taxpayers millions. The Southern Arizona Project
(pdf) is a multi-year program setup by the Bureau of Land Management to mitigate the impacts to the ecology by illegal immigration and smuggling. In 2006 alone, more than 1.18 million pounds of trash was collected along the southern Arizona border.
posted by netbros
on May 7, 2008 -
On Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 8 pm in each time zone cities around the world will go dark: Sydney will follow Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra; In the Philippines, in Manila the lights will go out; Bangkok in Thailand; Tel Aviv in Israel; Suva in Fiji; Copenhagen in Denmark; In North America, Atlanta followed by Chicago, Toronto, Phoenix and San Francisco will be black. It’s Earth Hour. [more inside]
posted by HVAC Guerilla
on Feb 18, 2008 -