Feature documentary: Symphony of the Soil

Transition Brockville / 14 February 2018

Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.

There will be floods — and Ontario’s not ready for them

TVO / Tim Alamenciak / 20 February 2018

The audience at the Provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning Workshop sat silently as the rug was pulled out from under them.

Municipal and provincial staff — many of them forecasters and emergency managers — were gathered at a Brampton conference centre to hear Gord Miller, Ontario’s former environmental commissioner, talk about climate change. What he had to say challenged many of the established practices and assumptions that had guided their careers.

His point was this: climate change has altered the fundamentals of the weather system. All of our old predictions — which were used to build thousands of kilometres of road, drainage pipe, and sewers — are inadequate. The changes to the weather system are so profound that old models and methods can’t accurately predict what’s going to happen; new models predict catastrophes so great that preparing for them could lead to bankruptcy.

“I don’t think here in Canada we understand what’s coming,” said Miller during the talk. “We have no predictability any more. One has to look from the perspective that all culverts are undersized. All sewers are undersized.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Companion planting with vegetables and flowers

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / April/May 2011

The idea of “companion planting” has been around for thousands of years, during which time it has become so besmirched with bad science and metaphysics that many gardeners aren’t sure what it means. The current definition goes something like this: Companion planting is the establishment of two or more species in close proximity so that some cultural benefit, such as pest control or increased yield, may be achieved.

Historically, North American and European gardeners have based many of their attempts with companion planting on widely published charts, which were mostly derived from funky chemistry experiments using plant extracts in the 1930s. But it turns out many of the plant partnerships listed in these “traditional” companion-planting charts don’t actually work well. Reaping the benefits of companion planting is possible, though, as long as you look to time-tested crop combinations.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

It’s misleading to ask what Earth’s ideal temperature is

Mashable / Andrew Freeman / 14 February 2018

Earth’s average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980
Climate scientists say that it’s not so much the exact global average surface temperature in 2100 that makes the most difference for whether certain species will survive global warming or if Miami will be inundated by rising seas. Instead, the rate of change is what is so important.

The faster that climate changes, the more significant the impacts will be. Just this week, for example, a study was published showing that due to the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, sea level rise is now accelerating, making adapting to new water levels far more difficult.

“Human civilization developed during a period of remarkable climate stability,” said Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Are pickles fermented? Pickled vs. fermented foods

Mother Earth News / Chelsea Clark / 11 May 2015

Since I discovered the various health benefits of fermented foods, I have become a complete fan of these sour, delicious treats. I have learned to make my own fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and more. But when it comes to grabbing a fermented snack from the grocery store, choosing the right product can be confusing. So what are fermented foods, exactly? And are pickles fermented, or are pickled foods different from fermented foods? These types of questions shouldn’t be ignored; there is a crucial difference between pickled and fermented foods that impacts their nutritive value.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Climate modeling is more powerful than ever before

MIT Technology Review / James Temple / 08 February 2018

Just a few years ago, the conventional wisdom held that you couldn’t attribute any single extreme weather event to climate change. But now scientists increasingly can and do state the odds that human actions caused or exacerbated specific droughts and hurricanes.

One big reason for the change is that the science of climate modeling is becoming increasingly powerful as improvements in technology, techniques, and data sharing allow researchers to set up novel experiments or simply run many more of them.

Climate models are sophisticated computer simulations that approximate how the planet responds to various forces, like surges in carbon dioxide. They break down the oceans, surface, and atmosphere into 3-D boxes and calculate how shifting conditions track across time and space.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

Transition initiatives share many of the same goals as other groups, and work collaboratively with a variety of organizations in their local areas. Transition differs in that it focuses specifically on preparing communities for the changes associated with unprecedented resource depletion and transitioning away from fossil-fuel dependency.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

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