Gardening on the weekends has been my lifeline since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020. When I am outdoors among the trees and plants, all my cares and fears disappear. I am fully engaged. I am present. I am at peace.
Since drought is a recurring issue here in California, I have planted mostly succulents that are quite content with watering once or twice a week. Some succulents prefer even longer periods of ten to fourteen days between watering. But a sudden rise in temperatures can shock even the sturdiest of succulents. In March, when we experienced two days of high summer temperatures, a branch of my largest, three-foot high, jade plant collapsed with heat stress. With summer almost upon us, there will be no respite for several other plants that need extra water for giving their best.
In her article “The State of the Earth 2022,” published on her blog Green Life Blue Water, American environment lawyer and author Pam Lazos provides an unsettling critique of where humanity stands when it comes to dealing with the inconvenient truth of our climate crisis and the threat to life as we know it on Planet Earth.
Not your typical Earth Day post
There are only two roads in life, growing and dying. Tolbert McCarroll, Notes from the Song of Life
As we begin 2022, OneNature views this moment of crisis as an opportunity to rebuild our society and economy in a way that makes people happier by protecting abundant wildlife and a thriving planet. We believe that the key to a new and better future is shifting away from an economy based on unsustainable and inequitable economic growth toward an economy that values well-being. We argue that wildlife conservation must be central to this vision of wellbeing, because species diversity is crucial to sustaining the natural world as well as less tangible forms of human flourishing. And we aim to put these beliefs into practice in partnership with Indigenous and local communities, using wellbeing to articulate the shared values that ground effective and equitable wildlife conservation practices. Building a new, more sustainable future does not have to mean sacrifice. OneNature believes that our future has the potential to be abundant in what really matters, a thriving natural world with flourishing well-being for all.
Beth Allgoodis the founder and president of One Nature Institute, a non-profit organization founded during the 2020 pandemic. With more than 25 years of experience in conservation, animal welfare, and community development, she is a passionate advocate for policies and practices that promote well-being for people, animals, and the planet. Learn more about the mission and work of One Nature Institute at https://onenatureinstitute.org/our_story/
I recently watched the documentary film, Fantastic Fungi, streaming on Netflix. The film aims to change our consciousness about the mycelium network and “takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.”
The renowned scientists and mycologists featured in the film have identified 7 significant pillars where mycelium greatly benefit our lives. Their mission is “to connect, unify and support each other, following the mycelial network’s guide to a better earth for all.”
The following are excerpts from each of the 7 pillars presented on the Fantastic Fungi website:
Consciousness / Spirituality Throughout the ages of time, religions, as a form of spirituality, have worshiped entities including mushrooms and have used mind altering sacraments, including psychoactive mushrooms, as a form of divination.
Mental Health / Therapeutic There are currently no medications that have proven effective in dealing with the massive amounts of addictions, depression and suicidal ideation. Psychedelics are showing extraordinary results in clinical trials, and are on the fast track to becoming one of the most powerful transformative tools of our time.
Foraging / Food / Culinary When we realize that mycelium is critical to life on earth, this intersection between the animal and plant kingdoms that gives us food, shelter and the medicine we need, what will we do to form a stronger and interconnected relationship with it?
Innovation / Solutions We have only begun to explore the use and intelligence of the mycelium world and our current challenge requires us to break from old paradigms and innovate!
Environmental / Biodiversity We have a partner that has traveled in time with us through our evolutionary process here on earth and they are perhaps more intelligent than we are in solving the very issues that mankind has created and is now facing.
Culture / History / Arts The indigenous were, and many still are very connected with the fungi world. They know how to use them in ways that only those who are connected with nature can truly appreciate. It is a skill that many of us have lost.
Health / Wellness / Medical [I]t is challenging if not impossible to realize the potential of the fungi kingdom. However, because of the emerging issues around the loss of effectiveness of penicillin and treatment resistant diseases, there is work being done to study the promising gifts that mushrooms hold for us.
The more I learn about the fungi kingdom, the more I’ve come to appreciate their critical role in our planet’s Web of Life and our own evolution as a species. Their mycelium network is far superior in reach and intelligence than our electronic networks. What’s more, they nurture and care for those in their network and keep on giving. For the fungi, death is not the end; it is the regeneration of life.
Click hereto find other streaming platforms for watching the documentary film.
April 22, 2021 is Earth Day. The theme this year is Restore Our Earth, an optimistic outlook given the ongoing challenges humanity faces with a climate emergency, now coupled with yet another year of a global pandemic.
“Restoring Our Earth is about solving climate change through the world’s natural systems, such as regenerative agriculture practices and reforestation, as well as through existing and safe technologies,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of EarthDay.org. “Restoring our planet will also require commitment of our world’s leaders to support climate literacy and civic skill building so that we can create a global engaged and active citizenry, a green consumer movement, and an economy that is just and equitable across all countries and across all demographics.”
There will be three days of climate action, beginning on Tuesday, April 20, with a global climate summit led by Earth Uprising. In the evening, the Hip Hop Caucus and its partners will present the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit.
On April 21, Education International will lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit.” It will be a multilingual virtual summit spanning several time zones. If we’re to solve the climate emergency, we must learn about it. We can’t build a sustainable environment without educating the next generation. That’s why EarthDay.org is spearheading a campaign to have “compulsory, assessed climate and environmental education with a strong civic engagement component in every school in the world.”
On the big day, Earth Day Live: Restore Our Earth will be streamed live beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 22. You can tune in on EarthDay.org, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, and GEM-TV. For those of us who live on the Pacific Coast, this means tuning in earlier at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
Joining forces with EarthDay.org, TED Countdown will premiere several original TED Talks during the livestream, providing additional top-tier content by climate leaders.
We can restore our Earth with reforestation. It’s one of the cheapest ways to sequester atmospheric carbon and tackle our climate emergency. But reforestation is not easy. It has its pitfalls. Learning from past failures, EarthDay.org developed The Canopy Project.
Human activities have destabilized Earth’s life systems. The signs are all around us. It’s time to restore the balance. Tune in to one of Earth Day’s events. Learn. Engage. Let’s make a difference. Act now.
Okay, since this is supposed to be a feel-good blog post, I’m not going to bury you in plastic statistics the way we are ourselves being buried in the real thing, but I will shed a dash of light on it by repeating a few plastics facts you may already be privy to:
In the 70 years since plastics entered the consumer market, almost 9 billion tons have been created, 92% of which was not recycled and still exists on the planet in some form;
two million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute — that have an average working life of a mere 15 minutes — are distributed worldwide every minute;
the straw you got with your drink at lunch will live for hundreds of years in the ocean, and 500 million of them are used everyday in America alone, enough to circle the world twice ;
one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute and only about 30% of them will be recycled;
at our current rate of production, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, much of it as microplastics which break down from the original due to photodegradation.
The point of repeating these stats is that we can’t cover our eyes any longer. The overuse of plastics is a global problem that requires immediate attention. Yes, yes, every telemarketer that ever calls…
Pam Lazos is an environmental attorney serving as Senior Assistant Regional Counsel at the at the USEPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia where she works enforcing matters under the Clean Water Act and USEPA Region 3 office in Philadelphia where she works enforcing matters under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. She is also an author, a blogger for the Global Water Alliance, creator of the Safe Drinking Water Act. She is also an author, on the Board as VP of Communications for the Global Water Alliance, creator of the literary eco-blog www.greenlifebluewater and serves on the editorial board of the wH2O Journal.
It is hot here in California. On August 16th, a heat wave sent temperatures soaring in Death Valley to 130℉ (54.4℃), believed to be the highest temperature recorded on Earth in over a century. With a historic wildfire season threatening life and property, Governor Gavin Newson has declared a state of emergency. On August 24th, as reported by Cal Fire, the state has had 7,002 fires this year, burning over 1.4 million acres…and growing. At the same time last year, 4,292 fires had burned 56,000 acres.
Depending upon where you live, you are probably facing your own extreme weather-related danger. Given our climate crisis, this is our new reality as inhabitants on Earth. Though the COVID-19 global pandemic may have forced our climate activists off the streets worldwide, they continue to press for urgent action.
April 22, 2020 is Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. The theme this year is Climate Action with the aim of mobilizing all citizens of Earth “to call for greater global ambition to tackle our climate crisis. Unless every country in the world steps up with urgency and ambition, we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.”
Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, twenty million Americans took to the streets, college campuses, and hundreds of cities to protest environmental degradation and demand a new way forward for our planet. With the launch of the environmental movement that year came two important developments: passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Act; and creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Continue reading →
The latest, just-released data from the World Meteorological Organization show that levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high. Global average levels of carbon dioxide reached 407.8 parts per million in 2018. And I remember, not long ago, 400 parts per million was seen as an unthinkable tipping point. We are well over it. The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2 was between 3 and 5 million years ago, when the temperature was between 2 and 3 degrees Celsius warmer than now and sea levels were 10 to 20 metres higher than today.
Yet our collective behavior indicate that we humans are still in denial. Here in the United States, beginning on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, commercial activity has exploded with preparations for the Christmas festivities. Whether we’re Christians or not, Christmas traditions permeate our lives.
Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, organized by our town and city halls, mark the beginning of the season. We decorate our homes. In some neighborhoods, homeowners seem to outdo each other in decorating their front yards. Our children take part in Christmas pageants that enact the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the cause of joyful celebrations among Christians worldwide. Traditional Christmas carols lift our spirits. Another important part of our Christmas traditions is Santa Claus with his workshop of elves, toiling year-round to make gifts for children for delivery during the wee hours on Christmas Day. Continue reading →
The succulent plants in my garden brighten my life. During humanity’s mad dash towards the abyss, their quiet dynamic presence calm my troubled mind. Under California’s scorching sunshine that set dry brush ablaze, my succulent plants have found a way to survive the extreme heat. Some change color; others become more compact in form.
“Flap Jack” or Paddle Plant – Parent plant under heat stress
“Flap Jack” or Paddle Plant – Area of little direct sunlight
Grown from cuttings from parent plant
Given their amazing ability to propagate from cuttings, I’ve planted succulents in several garden plots of our apartment complex. I marvel at their adaptation to different soil quality and amount of sunlight.
Aeonium “Mint Saucer” – Area with full sunlight
Aeonium “Mint Saucer” – Little sunlight during early morning
The adverse effects of our climate and ecological crises will intensify in the years ahead. It’s already happening here in California. People who have lost their homes in areas ravaged by wildfires must now question the viability of staying and rebuilding. This is also the case for areas facing prolonged drought and frequent flooding.
My birthplace in Georgetown, Guyana, is also under threat. The Guyanese Online Blog recently posted a video (duration 2:04 minutes) demonstrating the gravity of the situation.
A time is coming—perhaps, sooner than we envisage—when people everywhere across our country and planet will be on the move. Pulling up our roots and resettling in different lands is nothing new for our species. But the climate and ecological changes already underway will demand much more of us.
Like the succulents, will our species adapt to surviving on less water, on less food? How will we adapt to living on a hotter planet?