Do you think of yourself as a visitor in Nature, or a part of it?

In our fast-paced society, we seldom make time for Nature. When we do, it is a quick visit to a park or a short trek along a favorite trail. These brief intervals surrounded by the natural world refresh and relax us.

Then, we return to our “real” lives. Deadlines, commitments, paperwork, phone calls. What a strange way to view the world. People are, and always have been an integral part of Nature. The more removed from Nature we are, the more removed we are from our true selves.

Too often, environmentalists implicitly underwrite and perpetuate the false assumption that humans are trespassers or interlopers. Granted, we as a species have wrought horrific terrors upon the earth, and taken many concepts to extremes which threaten the health of the earth. The answer to that, however, is not a strict preservationist’s “hands off” attitude. The answer to that problem is moderation and a realization that what we do to the earth, we ultimately do to ourselves.

Living in balance, there are many uses we can make of our natural endowment that can enhance our lives and still leave the system healthy. This ultimately brings us closer to Nature, and to our own ultimate reality. Check out “Thumping Hickories,” a new essay from naturalist William Hudson, and then get outside, learn something, and refresh your soul.

 

Good Plants Gone Bad: Invasive Plants of Southeast Ohio

Want to learn about ways to combat nuisance plants, network with others interested in controlling invasives, and enjoy a great workshop? Try this Ohio Invasive Plants Council program. You could not ask of for a better value. The council always has well-informed experts presenting at these workshops.

Check it out:

When?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Registration: 8:45 – 9:30 am
Workshop Program: 9:30 – noon
Lunch (provided) 12:00 – 12:45 pm
Workshop Program (cont.): 12:45 – 3:15 pm

Where?
710 Colegate Dr.
Community Room, Administration Building
Washington State Community College, Marietta, OH

What?
-Aren’t Invasive Plants Just Weeds by Another Name?
-Breakthrough! A Biological Control for Mile-a-Minute
-Should YOU Be Part of a Cooperative Weed Management Area?
-The Story of What Happened When One Yard Went Native
-2009: The Year the Vine-that-ate-the-South Met Push-back in Ohio
-Funding Your Invasive Battle

How?
Registration: $10.00/person, those registered by Sept. 4 receive a free lunch
Register at: oipc.info.

Who?
For more information please contact:
-Marilyn Ortt, marilynortt@suddenlink.net, 740-373-3372
-Cheryl Coon,ccoon@fs.fed.us, 740-753-0558

 

Of Fairydiddles, Truffles, and Trees, an essay by Naturalist William Hudson


We are all connected. I don’t mean just us children of Adam and Eve. The “we” is an inclusive one.

  • People
  • Other animals
  • Plants
  • Streams
  • Lakes
  • Rivers
  • Oceans
  • Dirt
  • Fungi
  • Trees
  • Squirells.

All of it is “we” and is connected. In the words of our friend, naturalist William Hudson, “Most things in nature are connected in some very complex ways. Take for example fairydiddles, truffles, and trees.

Check out his essay, and be amazed by the intricacy of Nature. Then, go outside and re-connect with your source. Take care of yourself by just enjoying that connection.

Thanks Bill!

 

City Living 70% Less Carbon Intensive Than In Suburbs: TreeHugger

This Treehugger.com post was interesting mostly for the cool heat map of transportation-related carbon. It seems fairly obvious that if you live in an urban area and work close to your home (or in your home, if you are lucky), you will have significantly less commuting time, and hence a significantly lower carbon footprint.

What if, however, you live in an urban area and drive to the suburbs or another city to work? Does that happen? Sure it does. I guarantee that my current 4 mile round trip daily commute in a suburban township is much less carbon intensive than the 108 mile round daily round trip when I lived within the City of Akron, Ohio and worked in the City of Painesville, Ohio.

Or, what about this: Live in a rural area and work at home. Live in a suburb and ride your bike to a “sprawl” office complex a few miles away. I think the carbon intensity of these alternatives should compare favorably to urban living.

Maybe the analysis that really matters is not a geographical one. Maybe the choices that people make and how they relate to carbon footprint are just as important as their choice of geography, which in many case is an accident of socioeconomics as much as it is a choice of lifestyle and “green” over unsustainable.

For those of us who can choose where to live, maybe we should select the kind of surroundings that energize us, then figure out how to live there in the least consumptive way possible, whether urban, suburban, or rural.

 

Symbolic river may be removed from polluted river list

Ohio.com – Groups working to get Cuyahoga River off pollution list: “The once-dead and still-symbolic Cuyahoga River might be removed from an international list of polluted Great Lakes hot spots.”

The burning river that spurred on the environmental movement is clean enough in some places to be removed from the list of polluted rivers. Where once no fish could live, now dozens of species of fish thrive.

The Clean Water Act calls for swimable, fishable water. The Cuyahoga River is to the point where it is fishable. Continued problems with combined sewer outflows on the middle and lower Cuyahoga keep it from being considered swimable, and canoeing is not recommended, but this is real progress. I have canoed the lower Cuyahoga and it is a wonderful, peaceful, wild experience. I can’t wait until the day the bacteria levels from combined sewers and other sources are low enough that someone decides to open a canoe livery.

What a wonderful success story that is coming together.

 

Do your Part

Comment on pending decisions in your National Park!

Ever wonder how major environmental decisions are made? Well, the National Park Service, and other federal agencies, must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when deciding about “major federal actions having a significant effect on the environment. Essentially, a federal agency has to consider reasonable alternatives to any proposal that might significantly effect the environment, and gather public input while doing so.

They are not necessarily constrained to choose the alternative with the least impact. They are, however, required to make a statement about it and are subject to public scrutiny. Such statements are called Environmental Impact Statements. They are created when it is fairly clear that there will be significant impacts. When the implications of an action are not as clear, and Environmental Assessment (EA) may be completed. An EA is less comprehensive than an EIS, but analyzes whether an EIS must be done or not.

When preparing an EA or EIS, agencies are required to seek public input, both early in the process (called scoping) and when they have formulated the alternatives and are ready to make a decision. How does the public get involved? How can you and I make a difference?

Well, since this blog is mostly interested in parks, here is a link to the National Park Service’s site where you can find opportunities to comment on current decisions being considered. For those of you in northeast Ohio like me, here is a link to find what decisions are being made at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

If you care about parks and the environment, you have an obligation to keep up on the decisions our public employees are making, and to tell them how you feel. If you support the decisions they are making, tell them so. If you don’t support their path, tell them that too, and tell them what they ought to do and why. After all, maybe your comment will be the one that saves a precious resource that would otherwise have been lost.

So, keep tabs on what is going on in your National Park, and get outside and get to know the nature of the parks so that when the time comes to defend it, you know what you value about your parks!