Environment in Review // Volume 1, Issue 4

Our bi-weekly Environment in Review is loaded with inspirations and solutions for social and ecological well-being, ranging from national initiatives to community projects.

Men play traditional board games as spring blossoms in Seoul, South Korea | photo by P.M.Lydon
Men play traditional board games as spring blossoms in Seoul, South Korea | photo by P.M.Lydon

This week, an elated Audubon Society member in Silicon Valley recounted seeing Bald Eagles while driving along a local freeway “There they were, above all that traffic jammed along the Peninsula. I almost crashed my car.” quotes a Mercury News report. Californians are sharing their elation as the Bald Eagle – a national symbol in the United States and nearly extinct in the 1960s – rebounds in population thanks to decades of consistent, compassionate actions by activists, ecologists, scientists, and government bodies. Today, against the odds, there are 371 known breeding pairs of the majestic bird in the state of California alone.

Bumble Bee Endangered: How to React?
The answer, scientists think, might be in how we undertake agriculture. A recent Forbes article cites long-lasting toxic pesticides as negative factors, but also notes that “Agriculture’s shift from small family farms producing a variety of crops to huge corporate monopolies that produce just one or two crops have destroyed vast stretches of available habitat fragments filled with native wildflowers and terrain that feed and house bumble bees and other native pollinator species.” It seems then, that finding ways to move back towards such “small, family farms producing a variety of crops” would be a good place to start.

Governments Return to Native Knowledge About Forests
About a century ago, thousands of years of native knowledge on using fire to manage healthy forests came to an abrupt end in the United States, as the country’s Forest Service ignored native knowledge, and instead aimed its efforts at suppressing forest fires. Today, with the policy considered both dangerous and an ecological failure, governments are now turning to tribal members to help shape a more ecologically sound forest policy, reports YES Magazine. “I came to this job realizing what this landscape needs is all people’s help and concern and experience, whether that comes from science or thousands of years of knowledge … we’re a good example of blending that.” says Merv George Jr., a member of the Hoopa Valley tribe who serves as state appointed forest supervisor.

Over 70 Percent of Americans Favor Alternative Energy Investment
You might not know it based on actions in the White House, but Americans overwhelmingly (72%) want the government to spend more of their tax dollars on investing in solar and wind power says a recent Gallup poll. While the United States’ president is trying to turn the tide backwards, the people and industry are largely ignoring his wishes.

Other energy numbers to rejoice about around the world? Think Progress gives us these: Last year, renewables powered Germany for a full day and powered Portugal for four consecutive days. Denmark now produces enough electricity from wind to meet all its domestic demand and still export power. In 2016, the U.K. for the first time ever generated more power from wind than coal over the entire year.

Scottish Island powered by community-owned renewables
The island of Eigg in Scotland generates upwards of 95% of its energy through renewable resources, reports the BBC. Most notably, all of it is done through a power grid designed, owned, and operated by the community itself. It’s not an island full of electrical engineers, either, Eigg Electric’s six-person, part-time maintenance team is made up of the island’s baker, gardener, and knitter.

Practical Applications for Biodiverse Farming
While biodiversity has long been known to help farmers naturally manage bugs and diseases, today, farmers and academics are publishing amazing amounts of literature to help practically apply this knowledge, reports Civil Eats. With research also widening its scope past the farm, connections between biodiversity on farms and the solving of wider-scale environmental environmental problems are also coming into view.

How Can Artists Help Farmers?
Here’s one innovative way. A group of 42 people from different backgrounds collectively invested in the farm of a veteran grain farmer for a year, helping to make every decision about how the wheat was grown. This year-long project initiated by two artists, saw consumers really getting to know their food, earth, and the plight of farmers. The group will exhibit “A Field of Wheat” at Bridport Art Centre from 22 April – 3 June. EcoArtScotland reports that a spinoff of the project called #OurField starts this year as well, seeking to “re-invent farm economics, connecting people to farmers and the land, and increasing the amount of milling-grade, high-quality heritage grain grown in the UK.”


And that’s your Environment in Review in this second week of April.

If you haven’t yet, sign up to get Environment in Review to your inbox every two weeks, and feel free to send your tips to director@sociecity.org on what’s happening in your area of the world so we can feature them in the next issue!

Yours in Nature,
Patrick M. Lydon and Suhee Kang

SocieCity | www.sociecity.org
Final Straw | www.finalstraw.org

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