November 2011 marks the arrival of 3 things in my dismal little life, all of them beginning with “c” and all of them good in their own way. The cold (really?!), the crisis (again) and the build-up to Christmas – which is not here yet but which will be by the time I am done writing the first two Blog posts.
“C” number 1. The Cold
Really? Yes because hot weather in autumn does not bode well for the environment. For starters it fools nature into thinking it’s time for a second spring; it’s no coincidence that this is the hottest autumn ever registered in the UK (that’s 300 years worth of records) and British wildlife organisations have been inundated with freak sightings – dragonflies, frogs, birds refusing to migrate and even a swallow. Then there is the question of water. The hotter the winter the greater the pressure on water reservoirs, rivers and underground aquifers and the more likely it is there will be summer droughts, which no one likes.
Photo: National Geographic – porn hustler or innocent bystander?
I had no idea I was into ecoporn until this morning. Indeed, I didn’t even know such a thing existed until, to my shock and horror, I discovered that I was drowning in the stuff. It was everywhere, hanging on my fridge door, hiding inside my dvd collection, insinuating itself into the lessons I teach schoolchildren and even holding my holiday pics in its seedy clutches.
Picture: Lewis Gordon Pugh
As the temperatures on planet earth rise so does my heartbeat and the world turns a slushy hue of pink. Glaciers melting into puddles, soil turned into sand by droughts, cyclones twisting life off the edges of the earth can mean only one thing: Mother Nature is screaming out for help. Luckily for her (and the rest of womankind) Man is coming to her rescue, and what a man he is! This Prince Charming of the 21st century – dare I call him Father Nature? – has shed the shining armour for more casual gear but his bravery knows no bounds. He travels the world seeking adventures that will tell the world about our Mother’s plight and is willing to risk it all — his life, even — to save our damsel in distress. [...]
Photograph: The Eurasian Pygmy Owl
This cute little fellow answers to the name of Glaucidium passerinum, Eurasian Pygmy-owl to you and me. He owes his fame to his size, or lack of, as he is the smallest owl in Europe; size aside he is a smart one for having made his home in one of Europe’s most bewitching places: the Bialowieza Forest.
Picture: American Burying Beetle
Following in the footsteps of Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia of Life is a free, online resource to which anyone can contribute. Its aim is to digitalize all the information about every species known to man and make it available online. Users can upload text, photographs, images and videos and the accuracy of all information that is “posted” will be verified by a group of curators. [...]
Picture: Fresh alfa-alfa sprouts
As I tend to my batch of edible sprouts (this week its alfa alfa, cress and mustard – yum) I can’t help but think that there is much to learn from the tiny seeds.
As a student I was fascinated by the deep-ecology philosophy. Their understanding of life in terms of networks, flows and cycles made a lot of sense to me, and I truly saw their models, based on nature’s laws of birth, growth, decline, death and decay, as being the answer. [...]
Picture: The eROCKIT
Push bike or motor bike? This is the question on everyone’s minds these days in Berlin as inventor Sefan Gulas wizzes through the streets on his eROCKIT. Travelling at a top speed of 80 km per hour, the vehicle – half bike, half motorbike – is not just fast but also very cool. [...]
Picture: Neil Armstrong’s lunar footstep
I know I am not alone in being terrified by news headlines. Thankfully I only speak a couple of languages and am spared from most of the world’s screamers but this is meagre consolation for a life-enthusiast, believe me.
Its not so much what they say as what they fail to mention. [...]
Picture: From the 2007 London Naked Bike Ride
As Europe recovers from the excitement of last weekend – the affirmation of our very own European environmental guru, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and the release of the nature documentary of all nature documentaries on the one hand, on the other the disappointing results of the EU elections announcing the dawn of a difficult new era ahead for all social economy enthusiasts – this weekend’s global naked pedal fest comes as a breath of fresh air to remind us that LIFE CAN BE FUN!! [...]
Picture: Vertical courgettes
Do you live in the city? Do you want to grow a vegetable garden but don’t feel you have the space? Apartment dwellers of the world unite! Its time to pull out your green thumbs and get planting.
Far from being the latest green fad, vertical vegetable gardens – yes, gardens that grow upwards, rather than outwards - are by no means a novelty to the well-seasoned horticulturalist; trellises, fences, wire netting and poles are all fairly common garden accessories. But even the coolest of green minded urbanites may be surprised to find out that they don’t have to pack it all in and move to the countryside to cultivate that long sought after dream of eating home grown veggies. [...]