In a world where words like sustainability are used in many contexts with widely varying meanings, we forget that the environmental community was once very choosy in its wording. Terms have specific meanings such that a single word can communicate a philosophy and accompanying ethics. Conservation and preservation are two such terms. The first denotes an effort to sustain a space or resource for perpetual use. Preservation denotes a fortress-like approach to nature, walling off human influence in order to maintain pristine “wilderness”. The terms are linked to big figures in American history, each of whom established a land ethic according to their philosophy now codified in US law. Continue reading Wording Matters: Conservation vs. Preservation
Photo credit: Jessica King, Marine Photobank
Earlier today, the California legislature voted to approve AB 376, the excitingly titled “act to add section 2021 to the Fish and Game Code, relating to sharks”. The ocean conservation community is happy, and we should be. The bill and its backing from Hollywood stars have generated substantial media coverage of the plight of sharks, and, if signed into law by the Governor and properly enforced, it could well save a lot of sharks. However, fin bans aren’t the perfect solution to the shark conservation crisis, and we still have a lot of work to do to protect sharks and closely related species around the world.
Continue reading Hooray for California, but there’s still much work to be done to save sharks
fireweed, a delicious wild edible in alpine climates
This week, Southern Fried Scientist and I have written about our personal adventures in making town life a little more sustainable. First, building a chicken coop – a deluxe one, complete with green roof and made out of recycled materials. Next, dwarf goats as milk-producing pets and clarifying some of the tall tales about goats (no, they don’t eat tin cans but yes, you can teach them to head butt on command). The chicken story continued with how to raise them – whether to get chicks or pullets, what they need as they grow to be egg producing hens or the cock-a-doodle-doo producing rooster. Plus, it’s hard to beat chicks in a basket. Finally, what you might have thought backyard agriculture was all about - the garden.
After our miniseries, you might be left wondering ‘now what’? Where to begin or maybe there’s still some hesitation over whether it’s all worth it. Here’s some other practical considerations you might think about before beginning your urban agriculture adventure.
Continue reading Adventures in Backyard Agriculture: A Summary and More
I have a basket of baby chickens. Your argument is invalid.
So you’ve decided to commit to a more sustainable lifestyle, you’ve built a Pico-farm and are ready to stock it with a flock of happy, egg-laying chickens. Congratulations, you’ve reached the fun part.
Before you go out and buy chickens, you need to ask yourself a few questions: do you want hens only, or do you want a rooster for breeding? Do you want to raise them from chicks or buy adults ready to lay? How big a flock do you want?
Continue reading Adventures in Backyard Agriculture: Raising Chickens
Following Southern Fried Scientist’s sustainable pets movement, two Nigerian Dwarf goats have recently joined my life. While they have garnered traffic-stopping attention in town upon their arrival, goats are not such a foreign idea to the old-timers in the neighborhood. Goats used to be fairly common in the urban homestead back when the line between city and rural was a little less clear.
Continue reading Adventures in Backyard Agriculture: Dwarf Goats
Several months ago, I began a new personal challenge to live more sustainably. I wanted to do something more substantial and larger in scale than the conventional methods of reducing your environmental impacts, which involve changes in habit, not changes in lifestyle. After many discussions, Bluegrass Blue Crab and myself decided it was time to try our hands at backyard agriculture.
Continue reading Adventures in Backyard Agriculture: Building the Pico-farm.