The intense and distorted fascination with money-—who has it and how can I get more—belies its true purpose as an arbitrary token used as a medium of exchange.
This article reminds us to focus on what is important, the quantity and quality of healthy soil on our home planet needed to sustain life. When we chase the paper gods rather than realizing that our true wealth lies under our feet, we continue chasing a false dream, bringing us closer to the edge of extinction ourselves, just as we have caused the extinction of so many other species.
Instead, we need to honor the health of the soil and do everything we can to restore balance in our way of thinking and in our environment. Farmers who know how to care for the soil in ways that enrich and sustain it for future generations are the bankers we should be looking to for advice and inspiration. They are the ones who know how to care for our future wealth.
Mother Nature Network, "Border collies run like the wind to bring new life to Chilean forest"
1.4 million acres of land were destroyed during a devastating wildfire in Chile in 2017. The Torres sisters, Constanza and Francisca, had the idea to start reseeding the area with the help of their energetic sheep dogs
Six-year-old border collie mom Das and her two-year-old pups Summer and Olivia take to the forest with backpacks of native seeds. As they run through the woods for the joy of it, seeds stream out and take root in the forest. They can distribute as many as 20 pounds of seeds in a day. "We have seen many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest!" says Torres. The sisters purchase the seeds out of their own pockets. The Chilean landscape is coming back to life, thanks to this energetic and caring family and its intelligent, hard-working dogs.
Treehugger.com, "Rescued gorilla and her caretaker win Wildlife Photographer of the Year award"
Beautiful moment caught on camera when Pikin, rescued by Ape Action Africa, woke up during a car ride to a larger sanctuary. She was in the arms of her caretaker, so she remained calm during the bumpy ride. There is good in the world, still.
The photo by photographer Jo-Anne McArthur was chosen over 50,000 other images. The Natural History Museum in London is displaying the photograph until the end of May 2018.
The island of Samsø, off the coast of Denmark, has a remarkable story to tell. Winning a 1998 contest sponsored by the Danish government allowed the island to become a showcase community for reducing carbon emissions.
We've been fascinated with the concept of tiny houses since we first learned of them. We've loved watching the reality shows that demonstrate the builders' amazing creativity designing multi-use activity areas for the most efficient use of the space they have to work with. One of my favorite uses of space was a quilting workspace and sewing-machine cabinet that doubled as a kitchen table! We have also followed the experience of our friends who had a tiny house built at Starseed Healing Sanctuary in Savoy, Massachusetts. Their off-grid tiny house is nestled in a quiet, wooded area and you can even rent it for the night on AirBnB if you want to try out tiny-house living.
This article notes that tiny-house plans are changing, with designs moving from cute, little spaces to those that sustain a more permanent kind of living, with the perks you would want for a well-rounded lifestyle. There is a trend now to build in a modular fashion to keep an extended tiny-house collection movable, with each piece able to be moved on its own trailer.
The tiny house featured in the article has a separate green house and a comfortable front porch with a swing. The interior of the house is beautiful, with full-size kitchen facilities, stairs that lead to a comfortable sleep space, and dining and lounging areas. You can even buy this exact house because it's for sale in South Carolina for $81,000. We're all set with our smallish house, but if I were looking for a tiny house, I might be tempted by the extra relaxing room on the porch and the ability to grow plants and vegetables through an extended season.
According to this article, electric vehicles are not only the way of the future, they'll be our drivers too. They're getting cheaper and there are fewer moving parts to maintain. That has wide implications for the auto industry and all those who support it. England and France have announced that they will be banning traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in 2040 and undoubtedly more nations will follow suit. There are lots of interesting details in this article, including how this timing aligns with the end of the oil industry. Electric vehicles are non-polluting and I hope we'll be around long enough to see them widely used.
Shareable.net, "A model of community-supported agriculture in western Massachusetts is going strong"
One of the reasons we moved to western Massachusetts was the bounty of small farms in the area. Living here we could support the farms, simultaneously helping the local economy and reducing the carbon emissions caused by long-distance movement of food. Indian Line Farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is located in the Berkshire Mountains west of where we live. It serves as an example of long-term farm planning that brings together community-shared agriculture, land protection, and incentives for investing in local businesses.
Members of the community can purchase shares in the coming year's crop. When they purchase those shares with BerkShares, the local currency, they effectively receive a 5% discount, thanks to the incentives for using the currency to make purchases at local businesses.
A model like this that helps local farmers, businesses, and community members is one that we believe is the foundation of future resilience.
Mother Nature Network, "Remember that kid who invented a way to clean up ocean plastic? He's back, and it's happening"
Boyan Slat, a Dutch high-school student, was so distressed by the amount of plastic floating in the ocean during a diving trip in Greece six years ago, he decided to do something about it. "I finally decided to put both university and my social life on hold to focus all my time on developing this idea. I wasn’t sure if it would succeed, but considering the scale of the problem I thought it was important to at least try," said Slat.
Two years later, after conducting a two-year feasibility study of his ingenious invention and receiving $320 million in donations, his first booms will be launched in 2018. Working with scientists and computer modeling, he predicts his booms will be effective enough to clean up half of the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch in just five years.
With young people like this, we may yet have a chance to clean up our world.
Thanks to the Clean Water Act of 1977, the waters around New York City are now cleaner than ever. The food system that whales depend on has improved dramatically. Increasingly more humpback whales are being spotted in the water, so much so that ferry services are now offering whale-watching tours. Here's yet more inspiration and evidence that environmental protection works. We must keep protections in place on land and at sea.
The inspiration and hard work of one man in Mumbai, India and his 84-year-old neighbor turned into a two-year beach cleanup project with over a thousand volunteers. The beach that was unwalkable in 2015 has now been returned to its former beauty and the momentum of this success is leading to plans to clean up more of India's shoreline. Whenever you start to think that you can't make a difference on your own, remember Afroz Shah and his dream, and know that you can.