The Sunset Magazine blog Fresh Dirt has been mentioning a book — Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien — that I want to get a hold of. One of the lawns (pictured above) in the book caught Fresh Dirt’s particular eye, and they followed up on in the recent post, Another good example of a turf-free front yard. Now I really can’t wait to check out that book. :)
The relation of our species to plant life is one of total dependence and total exploitation — the relation of an infant to its mother. Without plants the earth would have remained bare rock and water; without plant respiration we’d suffocate promptly; without vegetable food (firsthand or, as in meat, secondhand) we starve. There is no other food.
A very savvy genre, science fiction often acknowledges our plant-dependence — filling a room in the spaceship with hydroponic tanks, or “terraforming” the new planet so the colonists can raise grain — but with some notable exceptions (such as the film Silent Running), science fiction lacks much real interest in what’s green. The absolute passivity of plants, along with their absolute resistance to being replaced by an industrial-age substitute (we can have iron horses, steel eagles, mechanical brains, but robot wheat? Plastic spinach? If you believe in that you must eat the little green hedge on your sushi plate) probably makes them terminally uninteresting to the metal-minded and those to whom technology is not a way of living in the world, but a way of defeating it.
Alex and I on our 4.44-mile SART walk last weekend found a couple of spots where erosion had eaten away at the paved path, but the situation is reportedly much worse than just that — Press-Enterprise: “Storms trashed Santa Ana River wildlife areas”
The Santa Ana River just north of Riverside is rich wildlife habitat, home to a plant, a fish and a songbird protected by the Endangered Species Act and at least 20 varieties of other birds.
But now, in the wake of December’s flooding, some stretches of the Santa Ana River Wildlife Area look more like a refuse dump.
On a recent day, orange fluorescent plastic netting, plastic bottles, grocery bags, Styrofoam chunks, glass liquor bottles, aluminum cans, two-by-fours, twisted lawn furniture, plywood scraps and the tatters of a woman’s skirt were among the flotsam mixed in with the leaves, branches and tree trunks also left behind by the December torrents.
From TED 2009,
Biodiversity warrior Cary Fowler wants to save the world from agricultural collapse, one seed at a time.
The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring.