If you are like me, you have responded to the state drought mandates by making changes to your daily habits and declaring a broader intention of living sustainably for the good of the planet. Given my curiosity about the social and natural sciences, I thought I had a basic understanding of the causal relationships between human behavior and the environment and that this knowledge would guide me in making the right choices regarding conservation. I have so much more to learn.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats, poet
Putting earth stewardship into practice is a journey filled with surprises. The decision to limit irrigation use, for example, may be a big deal for one individual and considered a personal accomplishment once the step is taken. Then the law of unintended consequences kicks in. Tree experts are reporting signs of drought stress in urban trees due to lack of water. We have adjusted our irrigation use without consideration of the watering needs of the trees located within gardens or lawn areas. Additionally, water-stressed trees are susceptible to pest infiltration.
We need trees and forests. They are essential elements for a healthy planet. They contribute positively to climate, biodiversity, air and water quality, health, social environments, and much more. We have to be smarter about how we care for and protect them.
Every action has consequences. Our challenge is to keep ourselves informed and learn from the unexpected results so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. This is part of our unending education if we are committed to improving the well-being of people and the planet.
Symmetry And Silence In Round Mirror Reflections: Sebastian Magnani’s “Reflections” is a series of photographs using a round mirror in various locations “all about the beauty of reflected light” and one which turns each reflection into its very own planetary scape.
What Does the Data Say About Cities for People?: Cities for People: Insights from the Data synthesizes the quantitative data on urban form and transportation and comes to the conclusion that “compact, walkable, and transit-oriented development creates sustainable, healthy, and economically vibrant cities that deliver a high quality of life to residents.”
The Top 3 Rules for Tree Care: “The amount of water a tree needs depends on many factors, including the age and species of the tree, the time of year, weather and soil type. As a rule, newly planted and young trees require more frequent watering than older, well-established trees. But during extended periods of drought, all trees benefit from supplemental watering.”
To Address Climate Change, MIT Lab Seeks the Wisdom of Crowds: “Climate CoLab’s crowdsourcing project approaches its daunting challenge by first breaking the issue of climate change into dozens of smaller questions: How can we reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy generation? How can we shift public attitudes toward climate change? How can we increase urban energy efficiency?”
Sidewalk Stories: The Photography of William Reagh: “Photographer William Reagh was on the streets: Looking. Lingering. Documenting. He walked Los Angeles and consequently saw Los Angeles — offering a different perspective than the mere suggestion of place so often gleaned in motion or generalized shorthand.”