Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Saving the Monarch Butterfly

butterflies-afasdIf you’re planning on doing some gardening this spring break, you should try and include some milkweed seeds in your planting. Why? Because the Monarch butterfly is in danger of becoming extinct, and it needs all the milkweed plants it can find. The decline is illustrated by the fact that only 33 million monarchs were estimated to have made their yearly migration from Canada to Mexico-compared to 1996’s one billion. Here on the west coast, the extension of urban territory has contributed greatly to the loss of Monarch habitat-milkweed plants, to be exact, the sole plant that Monarchs lay their eggs on. This is a rare example in which we humans have the ability to neutralize (or at least push back on) the loss of habitat we have created. Simply by planting milkweed seeds, we can help the species of Monarch butterflies grow strong in numbers once again, and prevent the possible loss that may come if nothing is done. Check out this site for info on finding the right kind of milkweed to plant.

Urban vs. Rural Living

Urban-and-RuralYou’re walking amidst a sea of other people. Lights from the buildings above line the sky. All kinds of sounds are reaching your ears from every angle, each of them representing an action or movement of human life. You close your eyes. Now you are in the middle of a field, making your way towards a barn in the distance. On the other side of the trees to your right, you can hear the ocean, water rushing in and dissolving in the sand. Maybe a cow moos somewhere. Now snap back to wherever you are at the present moment. In which setting did you feel most alive? Both in different ways, perhaps? Continue reading

Saving Honeybees

image1A while ago I wrote about the return of the western bumblebee and the efforts one could take to create a more welcome environment for bumblebees to thrive. As it turns out, the problem with bee scarcity may extend to more than just those under the prefix of bumble. As reported by Time Magazine, honeybees, otherwise known as pollinators of apples, watermelons, cucumbers, and more, are dying in numbers these days due to the harms of pesticides. Continue reading

Trees Bring People Together

Community-treeAnd you thought that trees were just good for oxygen and looking awesome. A study conducted within a Chicago public housing development shows otherwise, finding that residents of buildings with more greenery surrounding them had more frequent interactions with their neighbors and a stronger sense of community than those who lived in more barren areas. Continue reading

Yardless Gardening

canSo you want to start a garden. Grow things. Hold a watering can and feel like a nurturer of life. The only thing standing in your way? A lack of yard. No outside space to call your own. So you hang your head, lost to an eternal absence of that beautiful (insert favorite color) watering can you’ve had your eye on for so long. But wait! Perhaps there is a way that we apartment-dwellers can have our confining indoor spaces and grow things in them too. Continue reading

Strawberry Mood Boost

Hands Holding a Seedling and SoilImagine opening your medicine cabinet and finding a pile of dirt sitting peacefully next to your advil, hair gel, shaving cream, what have you. Now imagine that you find this to be completely normal, and you even take a pinch of it in your fingers and rub it on your arm at the start of every day. It seems doubtful that this will become a regular routine across the globe, but did you know that soil has a neuro-chemical effect on the brain similar to Prozac? I certainly didn’t. Apparently, soil contains a bacteria that activates brain cells into producing the brain chemical serotonin, a mood booster also stimulated by antidepressants. If you were thinking about breaking into gardening and/or food growing this summer, consider this some extra motivation. And if I might focus in on one delicious option, let’s talk strawberries. Continue reading

Finding S.P.A.C.E. on Campus

ImageSharing my knowledge of the on-campus club SPACE (Seattle Pacific Agriculture for the Community and Environment) usually comes with blank stares or “Garden club? We have a community garden?” Yes! In fact, I would highly encourage checking it out firsthand. You’ll be happily welcomed by fresh fruits, vegetables and perhaps a couple weeds here and there.