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War Scars The Earth. To Heal, We Must Cultivate Hope, Not Harm

“No War 2022, July 8 – 10,” hosted by World BEYOND War, will consider major and growing threats faced in today’s world. Emphasizing “Resistance and Regeneration,” the conference will feature practitioners of permaculture who work to heal scarred lands as well as abolish all war. Listening to various friends speak of the environmental impact of war, we recalled testimony from survivors of a Nazi concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin, Sachsenhausen, where over 200,000 prisoners were interned from 1936 – 1945.

DIY Chains And Garden Centres ‘Adding To Climate Crisis’ By Selling Peat

United Kingdom - Garden centres and DIY stores are way off track on meeting a government target to end peat use by amateur gardeners, figures show. Green experts said the rate at which peat is still being dug up means the UK’s gardens are helping to accelerate the climate crisis. Stores including B&Q and Wickes, as well as numerous websites, all sell peat products.   Between 2015 and 2019, the amount of peat contained in composts sold to shoppers showed only a small drop, from almost 53 per cent to 41.5 per cent.   Friends of the Earth called on ministers to act, after the government announced a decade ago the voluntary phase-out of peat use by 2020.  

Solidarity Gardens Launched To Address Food Disruption And Insecurity

Champaign-Urbana, IL - Individuals and organizations are encouraged and empowered to plant gardens throughout the Champaign-Urbana area and donate use of land, garden supplies, and expertise through a newly launched initiative, Solidarity Gardens CU, in order to address food disruptions and insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Modeled after the WWII-era Victory Gardens, Solidarity Gardens is being launched on June 3, 2020 by a network of area organizations and individuals throughout the Champaign-Urbana area. With help from the broader community, Solidarity Gardens CU will be offering free seeds, seedlings, tools, soil, containers, miscellaneous supplies, gardening expertise, and educational resources to any interested party in the Champaign-Urbana area, and will then collect, process, and redistribute...

A Movement Builds To Support Wildlife In Human Spaces

The world’s wildlife is in danger of dying off, and inevitably taking humanity out with it. Humans have destroyed enormous portions of the planet’s natural spaces, and caused a climate disaster as well as the unprecedented acceleration of mass extinction events. Among the many species struggling to stay afloat are the butterflies, birds, bats, bees, and other pollinators we depend upon in order to grow basic food crops. People cannot live without the Earth’s diverse, wild plants and animals. Scientists agree that continued disruption of the Earth’s ecosystems threatens the future survival of humanity as much as climate change does. And, the two aren’t entirely separate issues; healthy forests and soil systems, for example, sequester carbon naturally. As they are destroyed, there is increased carbon in the atmosphere.

Going Native

As scientists, we thought it might be nice to take inspiration from the diverse palette of plants that have long sprouted in the woods and hills of southern Appalachia and the Cumberland Plateau. But that nature, it turned out, wasn’t so easy to come by in our little piece of the world. Invasive kudzu and ivy creep along the edge of our street. A privet hedge, shrubbery from overseas that was probably planted by a former neighbor, covers a six-foot dropoff between our sloping yard and the road. And billows of Asian wisteria bloom in the trees that cover the steep lot across the street. We’re transplants to Tennessee ourselves, so maybe we shouldn’t judge too harshly, but within our landscape, invasive plants appear to be taking over. So bringing back native vegetation felt like it might be good stewardship of property, and a chance to support birds and wildlife. As gardening novices, we also hoped native plants would be easier to take care of. Especially in the era of climate change and widespread drought, native plants tend to be a smarter choice . . .

Do-It-Yourself Biodiversity

Counteracting the threats to the biological communities that support life on Earth is a huge task, but there are also many ways in which we as individuals can make real contributions to preserving biodiversity. Conservation biologists have used the theory of island biogeography to develop strategies for preserving biodiversity. Small islands of habitat cannot support large predators, but they can provide refuges for smaller species, and many small islands can be strung together to support larger, mobile species. Almost all of us can help by creating islands of biodiversity wherever we live. Soil In land-based ecosystems, biodiversity begins with the soil. Recent science has shown that J.I. Rodale and other organic pioneers were right-- the soil is a living organism, and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides do kill the soil. The growth of all the plants we see above ground--from lettuce seedlings to redwood trees--results from a symbiosis between the plants and the fungi, bacteria, insects, and other soil-dwelling organisms. For a greater understanding of the microbial life in the soil, see Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.
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