Nature News

Nature News From Jake Sigg

What is SF Plant Finder?

SF Plant Finder is a comprehensive and easy-to-use resource for gardeners, landscape designers, ecologists and community members interested in greening neighborhoods and enhancing our city’s biodiversity. Turning grey pavement into native and sustainable gardens and tree canopies supports our climate resilience by improving air quality, urban heat island, water conservation, and stormwater/flood management. SF Plant Finder recommends local native and other climate-appropriate plants for sidewalks, backyards, roofs, and open spaces that are adapted to San Francisco’s unique environment, climate and habitats

http://sfplantfinder.org/

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“The first commandment of economics is: Grow. Grow forever. Companies get bigger. National economies need to swell by a certain percent each year. People should want more, make more, earn more, spend more – ever more.

The first commandment of the Earth is: enough. Just so much and no more. Just so much soil. Just so much water. Just so much sunshine. Everything born of the Earth grows to its appropriate size and then stops.”

– Donella Meadows, Co-Author, Limits to Growth

BACK TO THE ORIGINAL EARTH DAY MESSAGE: TALKING ABOUT OVERPOPULATION

Face painting, chanting, doing yoga and looking at the latest green gadgets all have grown to be familiar activities at Earth Day events.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with those activities in and of themselves, but they are rather removed from the original reasons for creating Earth Day. So this April 22, let’s take the opportunity to recommit to talking about the core issue—overpopulation.

…Be someone who looks at the big issues—biodiversity loss, climate change, habitat destruction, resource depletion and urban sprawl—in terms of how population growth impacts them. Then, work to educate others on the population impact.

When you think about the many challenges facing the planet, do any of them not have human population growth at their core? For instance, rapid population growth imperils biodiversity and causes habitat loss. In fact, habitat loss due to population growth is the greatest threat to wildlife.

The first Earth Day was in 1970. World population then was 3.7 billion. There was a sense of urgency about where we were headed with population growth. China wasn’t able to feed its people, and several years later implemented its one child policy. The U.S. became increasingly aware of the problem of too rapid population growth through the work of Paul and Anne Ehrlich and their book, “The Population Bomb” —Paul was a popular interviewee at the time, making several appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Since the first Earth Day, world population has grown to 7 billion, and estimates indicate it’s on a path to 10 billion by 2100. The Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson, said, “Population growth is the No. 1 environmental problem.”

The former executive director of the Sierra Club and a former board member of CAPS, David Brower also understood the issue well. In 1966, speaking to a group of conservationists, Brower said, “We feel you don’t have a conservation policy unless you have a population policy.”

After a contentious fight that Brower lost over a 1998 Sierra Club referendum in favor of reducing immigration to stop U.S. population growth, he also said, “The leadership are fooling themselves. Overpopulation is a very serious problem, and over-immigration is a big part of it. We must address both. We can’t ignore either.”

So on Earth Day 2014, let’s recommit to getting overpopulation back into the discussion!

Californians for Population Stabilization newsletter Spring 2014

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Anatomy of arrogance

“Reality-based community”

This new majority at home and new world order abroad had to be fashioned from whole cloth.  A G.W. Bush aide once ridiculed a reporter for belonging to “the reality-based community”, which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality”.  “That’s not the way the world really works any more,” he said.  “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.  And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.  We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Excerpt from Gary Younge comment in Guardian Weekly 24.08.07

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

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19 June 1623 Blaise Pascal born

It’s the birthday of mathematician, physicist, and theologian Blaise Pascal, born in Clermont-Ferrand, France (1623). A child prodigy, by the time he was 19 he had already perfected the first mechanical calculator for sale to the public. In the field of physics, he discovered that air has weight, and he conducted experiments to prove that vacuums could exist, which led him to formulate the hydraulic principle that “pressure exerted on a fluid in a closed vessel is transmitted unchanged throughout the fluid.” This principle is used today in devices such as syringes, hydraulic presses, automobile brakes, and aircraft controls. In mathematics, he founded the theory of probabilities and developed an early form of integral calculus.

He spent much of his life in conflict between science and religion, and was one of the first philosophers to seriously question the existence of God. But in 1654, he experienced a revelation, the account of which he carried sewn into his coat lining until his death. He came to the conclusion that there was no science to prove God exists; instead, humans must rely on their faith. He produced two great works of religious philosophy, Lettres Provinciales (Provincial Letters, 1657) and Pensées (Thoughts, 1658).

He wrote: 

“Man is to himself the most wonderful object in nature; for he cannot conceive what the body is, still less what the mind is, and least of all how a body should be united to a mind. This is the consummation of his difficulties, and yet it is his very being.”

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”

“We know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.”

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.

Writer’s Almanac

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TEN THINGS (AT LEAST) YOU CAN DO TO SAVE LIFE’S DIVERSITY

Work on a preserve

Get outdoors and learn

Vote

Curb your cat

Think locally, act locally

Grow native plants

Don’t buy endangered species products

Think about future generations

Restore local habitats

Breed (local) fish

Value wildlife and wilderness

Excerpted from an article compiled by William Stolzenburg, in Nature Conservancy V. 46, #4 (July/Aug1996)

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Gender Studies

by Michael Blumenthal

A cricket chirps in the grass.

Another cricket, all ears,

joins him. Now there are two.

Up above, birds shriek

like drunken gods, the air

is atizzy with the melodrama

of what is about to be.

The two crickets

eye each other

out of the corner

of their cricket eyes.

Each desires something

the other has, each

abhors its own desire.

After a brief silence,

there will be little

cricket mating, a little

cricket love. Soon,

the air will be abuzz

with the sounds

of heavy cricket breathing,

legs rubbing together,

the sound of war in the air

in crickatese,

a subject for specialists.

_____________________________

“I write poetry quite unashamedly, because I believe that ‘the beautiful is still among the possible,’ and that it redeems us, and as a screen against (and a reminder of) my own wickedness and complexity. As for my poems, it seems to me that only they can speak of themselves.”  Michael Blumenthal

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To subscribe to the emailed newsletter “Nature News From Jake Sigg,” send an email to: jakesigg@earthlink.net.  

5 replies »

  1. This anti immigrant language couched in concern for nature should have stayed in the 1990s. There is a reason Mr. Brower lost. The Sierra Club and most environmentalist organizations have disavowed this anti immigrant racist agenda, unfortunately not CAPS, even after they were exposed for hiring a well known neo nazi. I am disappointed that while the young people of this country are out in the streets protesting for human rights for black people, and a new way to respect each other, we are still talking about immigrants as the enemy of the earth.

    Like

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