Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘blog’

In Your Own Backyard

The Five Stages of Garden-Talk
by Meredith Greene
March 13, 2013

Read this and other stories at GardenGreene.

A surprising number of folks in my nearer social circles do not know much about gardening. Certainly, they can browse the colorful annuals on display at the large home store and likewise can stick them in the sunny spots twice a year whilst waving at passing neighbors. Most can even pull a weed or two as well as set a mean schedule on the automated sprinklers but, somehow, the simplest aspects of organic vegetable and herb gardening elude them.

images

In calling on neighbors, and speaking with extended family members over the years, I’ve come to predict the various expressions that ensue when the conversation invariably shifts to growing food. These facial indications rather line up like the five stages of grief, but instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance I see Surprised, Confused, Mildly Interested, Incredulous and Overwhelmed. Getting food out of your own backyard is considered by many to be just too darn complicated.

One of my children usually let the ‘cat’ out of the bag in playing with the smaller versions of the other adults in the room. Some time during the course of the visit a child runs over, their faces alight and eyes shining, tugging at the arm/dress/leg of their owner and say something akin to:

“They grow strawberries in their backyard! And tomatoes! They get to pick them and eat them! Can we grow those, too?”

“From the mouths of babes,” I murmur, watching as the parent’s face slides into the first stage.

“How can you possibly find the time to garden?” Surprised then asks of me.

Now, when I was younger–upon being asked this question–I used to launch into a succinct and factual spiel outlining the amount of time that the average American spends in front of television set every day. I would then point out that it was a better use of time to turn over compost and chase after hordes of insidious snails with pale clouds of ditomacheous earth. Oddly, this set of facts seemed to inspire little but denial, anger and depression. Now, I simply focus my argument on Money.

“Do you go to the gym?” I ask. Confused nods in the affirmative, an answer more often than not a complete fabrication. “Did you know,” I continue, “that a couple of hours of vigorous gardening is comparable to spending the same amount of time at the gym?” No, they didn’t know that, but it sounds pretty good. Confused is quickly replaced with Mildly Interested as I go on to list just how much money my family saves over a given winter season by not having to buy my fresh herbs at the store. ($300-$400)

“That is a big savings,” Incredulous returns. “But it ‘s such a lot of work. How do I even get started?”

Here it gets a little tricky. Too much pushing and the average consumer will balk and return to safer subjects, such as waxing poetic on how their favorite washed-up celebrity weathered Trump’s Board room the previous night. Too much information up front and they’ll leap to the Overwhelmed stage too quickly. Too many dire predictions about rising food costs and the Environment and they’ll tune you out AND lump you in with some odd group they heard about on the news that anoint themselves with carrots and say they can raise goats that defecate copper bullion.

Nostalgia has proven to be the most powerful argument of all. Most folks harbor—way back in the warm recesses of their memory—lingering scents, sights and tastes of fresh produce partaken of as a child. It might be the ripe, red raspberries they picked in a grandmother’s arbor. It may be that luscious purple plum that they bit into one hot summer day. It may be a cool clump of sweet, green grapes that can be recalled, even now, with frank fondness. That same wide-eyed wonder, that propelled their offspring to run over and inquire of our garden, still lives on in them even if they are currently unaware of it. It is a useful tool to help lever the conversation away from the precarious Edge of Unconcern and back into the Realm of Feasibility, and is relatively easy to make contact with.

I show them pictures. (see blog header)

“These are some of the tomatoes we harvested last year,” I say, sliding one full-color image after another over the screen.

“Omigawd! Those look delicious!”

“We get about two-hundred pounds every season, all without pesticides.”

“Are those artichokes?!”

“Yep. They were especially good picked young, pared and sauteed with garlic and olive oil.”

“And you still have time to write books?” This question is best answered with a small shrug and a half-smile.

“My kids help me out a lot, but I like the exercise. These are the strawberries…”

“Wow… look at those! I bet that’s nice to have just out your back door.”

“Not as nice as this basil,” I tell them, going to the next picture.

From there the questions tend to get more sincere. Once folks realize that you can actually raise food on a city lot without having to spent a fortune–or work on it 24/7–they find that other hobbies don’t really cut it. Most parents already wonder how they can encourage their kids to get outside a bit more and move around, and when my oldest daughter walks over and launches into a short monolog on the how one can induce thriving vermiculture with an old plastic tub and leftover coffee grounds, they’re sold.

“Families have been growing food together for millenniums,” I conclude. “It’s a proven method of keeping active, and–as my grandfather used to tell us–’if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’” My grandfather had a rock garden in the high desert–and a cement patio for a back yard–but some information can be safely omitted.

Read entire story and more at GardenGreene.

Meredith Greene is an author, book reviewer and freelance writer.

Hurricanes & Global Warming

We Are Not Powerless to Confront Climate Change
by Amy Goodman
From Nation of Change
1 November 2012

Millions of victims of Superstorm Sandy remain without power, but they are not powerless to do something about climate change. The media consistently fail to make the link between extreme weather and global warming. Through this catastrophe, people are increasingly realizing that our climate has changed, and the consequences are dire.

One meteorologist who defies the norm is Dr. Jeff Masters, who founded the weather blog Weather Underground. As Sandy bore down on the East Coast, I asked Masters what impact climate change was having on hurricanes. He said: “Whenever you add more heat to the oceans, you’ve got more energy for destruction. Hurricanes … pull heat out of the ocean, convert it to the kinetic energy of their winds.”

Masters’ blog became so popular, it was purchased by The Weather Channel. As Sandy moved up the coast, Masters continued with our interview: “When you do heat the oceans up more, you extend the length of hurricane season. And there’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer—starts earlier, ends later. You’re more likely to have this sort of situation where a late-October storm meets up with a regular winter low-pressure system and gives us this ridiculous combination of a nor’easter and a hurricane that comes ashore, bringing all kinds of destructive effects.”

Mitt Romney must rue that line in his Republican National Convention speech, days after Hurricane Isaac narrowly missed hitting Tampa, Fla., and the convention, when he quipped: “President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family.” Romney drew a big laugh from those gathered to nominate him. No one is laughing now. Sandy’s U.S. death toll has reached 50, with 8 million without power. Initial estimates put the cost of the damage at tens of billions of dollars.

Romney’s latest position on climate change is no surprise, since it conforms with his consistent pivot to the right, away from his previously held views. As recently as 2007, he told CNBC’s “Kudlow and Company,” “But no question about one thing—it’s getting warmer, and [there are] a lot of good reasons for us to use less energy, to use it more efficiently and to develop sources here in this country that could allow us to be more independent of foreign sources.”

We also should not let President Barack Obama off the hook. Recall the presidential debates, where he continually boasted of his fossil-fuel credentials. “Oil production is up, natural gas production is up,” he said at Hofstra, during the second debate. “I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production.” In none of the three presidential debates was climate change mentioned, even once, not by the major-party presidential candidates and not by the moderators.

Masters partially attributes the lack of discussion to the power of the fossil-fuel lobby: “You’re talking about the oil and gas industry … about the entire basis of the industrialized economy. With these sorts of storms, people are going to wise up at some point and say: ‘Hey, what’s going on? Maybe we shouldn’t mess with the very forces that enable us to live on the planet Earth.’ … We’ve got to get self-preservation in our minds pretty soon, or this is just the start of things, Here we are in the year 2012; what’s going to be happening in 2030 if we’re already seeing storms like this?”

Read entire Op-Ed at Nation of Change

Surviving in Time of Crisis

Here is the beginning of a very important article by Alison Rose Levy at the Huffington Post.

What You Need to Survive in an Age of Crisis

In this special blog, I’ll share with you what my 30-year survey of the most powerful, little known and guaranteed health interventions has revealed.

There is no pill you can swallow, food you can buy, nor gizmo that confers complete protection from pervasive toxicity, skewed societal consensus or invisible radiation. There’s no place you can go, nowhere you can hide and no authority — scientific, medical or spiritual — who can help you to escape what we’ve all created (or allowed to happen) here on planet Earth. Whether you are rich, poor, young, old, sick, healthy, right or left, no health manna, rural organic garden, island dwelling, nor spiritual belief can give you, me or us an out if we keep on screwing up.

Unless we turn around and heal the disconnect that allows us to misguidedly pursue personal goals, without sufficient care for the health of our society and the earth, than it’s likely our health problems will go from bad to worse.

If facing this sad reality seems disheartening, don’t worry — a lot of us are in the same boat. It’s called planet Earth. We’re worried about it, and we can use your help. Health-conscious people need to do more than take potassium iodide; we need to take action.

However, if this truth is too uncomfortable, or violates your subscription to the All Good News, All the Time network, then retreat to whatever offers you temporary relief. We’ll still be right here when you get back.

Lots of people send me their suggestions and questions, not to mention their latest e-books and requests to blog on The Huffington Post. In the current crisis, they either want, or give, answers: Isn’t it over yet? Are we sure? Take this — no, take that. Don’t take anything. We’ll tell you what to take, and when.

One email boosts a superfood, another social activism, while a third person despairs that industries disseminating toxins or radiation don’t seem to care about the gradual, ongoing, cumulative pollution of our bodies, our waterways and our world by their stuff.

People tell me they feel helpless, believing that they’ve no more influence than a mosquito buzzing round an impervious colossus.

I agree that it’s scary to go from the supposed certainty of taking a pill (or an attitude adjustment) to the uncertainty of stepping up to social activism. Unlike other corners of our market-driven society, restoring skewed societal priorities comes with no guarantees.

COMPLETE ARTICLE AT HUFFINGTON POST

What On Earth?

The first post on this amazing blog is earth shaking and shocking. My family wants to me hurry up and join them to watch 30 Rock. This is not the kind of vital, helpful or entertaining content I was planning, but hey, what can I say? I guess I might as well be here now.

Tag Cloud