April 14, 2010
It might surprise you to hear that the Federal government owns 35% -- just about 650 million acres -- of the land mass of the United States. Most of this land is intended for all citizens (and future grnerations) to use and enjoy, and includes all National Parks, National Monuments, National Forests, and National Wildlife Refuges.
April 12, 2010
Agriculture can be included among those human activities that are responsible for releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. About 40 percent of non-renewable oil goes into food production. Consequently, the carbon footprint of food production is significant. The report by the World Watch Institute provides more accurate information about the environmental costs associated with foods and what remediation strategies could be...
March 31, 2010
CSA stands for community supported agriculture.
March 30, 2010
In my class, as we read the poems of Wendell Berry, we can see how farming, for him, is a way to see through the illusions of power and mastery and glimpse the real processes that sustain us. For Berry, this means coming to terms with death and resurrection, by which he means the eternal cycle of elements as they rise up into living beings, die, and reinter the soil to begin the process over again. This ancient closed loop of birth...
March 23, 2010
The Duluth Complex, extending from Duluth, MN northeast into Canada hosts one of the world's largest undeveloped depostis of copper, nickel, platinum, palladium and gold. As mentioned in my last post (It's Not Easy Being Green), a number of these metals are needed to produce current and upcoming green technologies, not to mention their use in ipods, cell phones, computers, etc.
March 21, 2010
One of the reasons Jefferson put so much stock in the farmer as the guarantor of a healthy democracy was his belief that farming encouraged the farmer to be as intelligent as possible. A farmer had to pay close attention to the peculiarities of the land—where the soil was most fertile, where the vagaries of topography made one field less flood-prone in the spring, let’s say, or where the slope of a hill shielded an orchard and...
March 15, 2010
Conventional food production requires a consistent input of agrichemical products (pesticides). However, these have been losing their efficacy because organisms evolve and natural selection makes crop foes more resistant to these products of synthesis. Thus, genetic engineering has become in the last 30 years a new tool to resolve these and similar problems, but many people (including myself) are not convinced that this technology can resolve...
March 14, 2010
Last night I watched “Sweet Land,” Minnesota-born Ali Salim’s 2005 movie about a farmer and his mail-order German bride in the era just after World War I (http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0428038/). It’s a great love story, but it is also an interesting film about the changing attitudes of farmers. Olaf, the thrifty Norwegian immigrant, refuses to get a loan from the bank because “Farming and banking don...
March 1, 2010
Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8.
In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, IWD is a national holiday. The first IWD dates back to 1911, and next year we’ll celebrate the 100th anniversary of IWD (1911-2011).
February 22, 2010
What we mean by “sustainability” obviously has much to do with our natural world, but it is far from being only about nature. Many facets of our constructed lives – such as our universities and schools – also give meaning to our visions of a sustainable future. And today our universities and schools are under attack.