robertogreco + plants   149

Perforated brick facade shades House for a Daughter in Vietnam // Daughter's House by Khuon Studio in Ho Chi Minh City
"A house in Vietnam by Khuôn Studio is built around a triple-height atrium filled with plants and shaded by a perforated facade of grey brick.

House for a Daughter in Ho Chi Minh City is split into two zones, one for a family who will frequently visit the house and another for their daughter who will live there throughout the year.

Due to the large amount of sun that hits the west-facing facade, air-bricks were chosen to provide shading and natural ventilation.

Custom-made curved concrete bricks inside a square frame allude to the curved walls of the interior.

From the outside it appears to be a unified house, but inside volumes with rounded edges hang within a triple-height atrium.

"Some corners of the house are rounded to carve out voids that blur the boundary between the atria and enhance the juxtaposition between the two floating architectural masses," explained the practice.

Trees and plants fill the open space and spill out over the top and dangle over the facade.

In the atrium areas for cooking and dining provide a communal area for the family to be together when they are all home.

Above the ground-level living and dining spaces, the front of the home is occupied bedrooms for the family.

A bedroom and study for the family's daughter are located towards the back of the house.

A series of living and office spaces are also provided at the front of the house, along with an external terrace at second floor-level.

These terraces overlook the street below through a series of curved wall sections that form the facade.

Each zone is linked both visually and physically by windows and thin wooden bridges, introduced by the practice in order to "facilitate family bonding."

Large, square skylights above the atrium flood the interior with light, drawn indirectly into rooms through the large windows overlooking the central space.

Finishes of wood and stone in the living areas contrast the crisp white forms of the house's walls.

To illuminate the home at night, lightbulbs hang from the top of the atrium down into the communal areas.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Khuôn Studio have previously designed several projects in the area, including a home with a perforated facade built using handmade concrete blocks and a tall, skinny house designed in collaboration with practice Phan Khac Tung.

Photography is by Hiroyuki Oki."
homes  houses  housing  vietnam  plants  light  shade  2019  khuônstudio  architecture  design  huynhanhtuan 
19 days ago by robertogreco
dandan the transient on Twitter: "I see these two found each other, bleh. For the record decolonization is about a return to traditional values and ways of thinking, adaptation to and of tech is a cornerstone of most Native traditions." / Twitter
[via and see also: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:1fb6a90208e0 ]

“I see these two found each other, bleh.

For the record decolonization is about a return to traditional values and ways of thinking, adaptation to and of tech is a cornerstone of most Native traditions. [quoting @kendrick_mccabe:]
@loisdum I’m convinced it’s a buzz word now with roots in something honorable but has lost its way. Wanting “decolonization” but utilizing the wheel, western technology, doesn’t make sense to me…

My ancestors didn’t see steel and think, “how nice but that’s not traditional.”

No they traded for and adapted it to their needs. The took the improved material and formed it into their traditional (and better) shape (the ulu).

I have any old ulu made out of a food lid that an ancestor made when Russians gave them canned foods.

Natives were often better armed then the US Army, with plains NAtives going from bows to repeater rifles while the cavalry still often used black powder.

(Note in most situations a good bow is better then black powder).

From methodology to material when most tribes found something useful they traded for it and found a way to impRove it for their use.

Adaption, ingenuity, and cleverness are traditional values.

That is why the majority of modern foods (like 87% from one article) originated from precontact Native food science.

Medicine, architecture, leadership, governmental systems, pragmatism, the list goes on, all because we experimented, discovered, and improved.

All that said, the wheel was known by most tribes before contact, and it was surely seen and understood not soon after.

It was deemed for the most part not very useful when we had canoes that could go farther, faster, and with less work.

The wheel requires roads to not only be built, but maintained. Don’t believe me, ask why the military has been trying to develop mechanical legged gear haulers since WW2. Or why hikers aren’t taking trailers on thru hikes.

And tracked vehicles are extremely damaging.

The wheel is great if you want to build and maintain an infrastructure, something pre industrial societies needed cheap or free labor to do the building and maintaining.

Laborers weren’t considered disposable to most Native cultures.

And why even go to that work when a river gets you there twice as fast and a fraction of the work?

Why struggle with a wagon up a mountain pass when a travois will glide along? I know which I’d rather have to repair on the fly.

A better question than “why didn’t Natives build wheels?” is “why did Europeans spend decades blocking, damming, and covering their natural roadways instead of just discovering kayaks and canoes?”

But now we have roads so not taking advantage of that with the wheel would be silly and untraditional.

The environment has been changed and we adapt as we always have.

A lot of folks bringing up “no domesticated beasts of burden” so let me remind you llama, dogs, and horses.

Just cause colonial history taught y’all an entire continent was filled with horses in 30 years from 8 escaped Spanish mounts don’t make it true.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y815zgfbox6wknk/Collin.Horse.Dissertation.pdf?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR1lLBDf6SD9hl9ivIpGnuN_z7G-mlhtx54wKMpD3QJVqKq1yEptAGDuNI8

Add to your knowledge even European history (though untrustworthy compared to Indigenous history) records that at least 3 Inuit at different times crossed over to England, one of them kayaking into London on a rainy day, all preColombus

We discovered you [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
And Inuit in kayaks crossed into England and back as is recorded in history and story so I mean, there ya go

I guess I should connect these two as one does [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
Ok so I love the positive and informative comments on my wheel thread, but I want to address my favorite flavor of statement that I just couldn’t believe anyone like believed.

Summing them all up “Natives didn’t use the wheel because we didn’t have agricultural societies.”

Ok once I got done laughing at this wrong statement I doubled down on any of them in that I believe pre industrial societies require a system of forced labor to build and maintain roads. Few tribes had that here, laborers weren’t widely accepted as disposable.

I mean like Europeans may have tried for an agricultural society but I think it’s pretty verifiable that the rest of the world was doing it better.
dandan the transient

Like 87% of the world’s food today comes from pre contact American food science, and the majority of the rest came from outside europe.

Now that’s based on articles cause the closest I’ve came to being a scientist is wearing a lab coat and waving a microscope at climate change deniers.

So my numbers may be off, but we still gave the world most of its modern food.

But what I’m not off about is many tribes had flourishing agriculture both in the generally accepted method and in what I would consider non standard.

First in the generally accepted category those dudes in central America like created corn from grass, they weren’t just kinda playing around, they like made something.

Tomatoes are another example of “hey look at this little berry I’m gonna create something the size of an apple.”

Not too mention quinoa, rices, grains, and orchids that covered the land. Just cause Europeans burned a lot of it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

But let’s go beyond the standard accepted forms because innovation is traditional in both method and thought.

The spread of bear poop filled with huckleberry seeds to increase the amount of plants, clearing one style of tree to make room for more useful trees, clearing brush to prevent damaging fires, or carrying seeds to easier each locations for medicines and craftable plants.

When settlers arrived here they were shocked at the “wild” paradise filled with useful things, it was like forests were engineered to suit the tribes’ needs.

Spoiler it was like that because we engineered it that way.

We did the work.

Their inability to see terraforming for what is was doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. They benefited and continue to benefit from thousands of years of planning and labor.

The fact that we didn’t clear cut trees or make long straight rows to labor over doesn’t mean we weren’t planning out and caring for our lands, it means we were working smarter not harder.

Clearing wide spaces opens the door for erosion and a lack of diversity ruins the soil, increasing salt content and sapping nutrients.

Sure you can rotate crops or haul fertilizer to combat this, but why add that labor when animals and other plants will do it for you?

And let’s remember when thinking about both our ancestors and our place in modern society that: [quoting @DanDanTransient:
Adaption, ingenuity, and cleverness are traditional values.

And I think the environment will agree with me, if your definition of agriculture is limited to back breaking labor that destroys the land than agriculture needs 🚮.

But if your definition can expand to land stewardship that improves the land for human and nonhuman people 👍

And link to the next stage I guess [quoting @DanDanTransient:]
Before someone comes at this with the same energy they did the wheel thread talking about population let’s hit that myth.
indigenous  technology  wheels  steel  decolonization  tradition  culture  trading  horses  natives  blackpowder  guns  adaptation  food  science  medicine  architecture  leadership  governance  government  pragmatism  canoes  kayaks  transportation  roads  vehicles  terrain  mobility  infrastructure  society  industrialization  labor  maintenance  repair  environment  waterways  nature  land  history  inuit  2019  agriculture  ingenuity  cleverness  work  terraforming  clearcuts  trees  crops  croprotation  fertilizer  animals  plants  horticulture 
26 days ago by robertogreco
The Miyawaki Method: A Better Way to Build Forests? | JSTOR Daily
"India’s forest production company is following the tenets of the master Japanese botanist, restoring biodiversity in resource-depleted communities."
forests  plants  india  japan  biodiversity  botany  multispecies  morethanhuman  miyawakimethod  akiramiyawaki  afforestation  timber 
july 2019 by robertogreco
Opinion | The Lessons of a Hideous Forest - The New York Times
"My God, I breathed. It was suddenly, momentarily beautiful. From a coyote’s-eye view, you could see what the trees were up to: Growth, failure, decay and the drip of acid water through the gravel were mixing a dirt out of the detritus. This hideous forest, I suddenly realized, was there to repair the damage done, and not at our bidding. Its intent was not to look good. Its intent was to stay alive, year by year, century by century, until at last it had recycled even the nylon stocking.

We know how long it takes most kinds of leavings to decay. Organic material goes quickly: cardboard in three months, wood in up to three years, a pair of wool socks in up to five. A plastic shopping bag may take 20 years; a plastic cup, 50. Major industrial materials will be there for much longer: An aluminum can is with us for 200 years, a glass bottle for 500, a plastic bottle for 700, and a Styrofoam container for a millennium.

A fallen willow tree sprouting new growth.

The forest does not know this. It does not think. It just acts. Because it is so good at sprouting, resprouting, reiterating, and repeating the entire process, it can keep up the living and dying for as long as it takes, even if that is a thousand years. The trees are not conscious. They are something better. They are present.

My colleague Laura met the genie of Fresh Kills one sodden afternoon among the garbage. It was not the only plastic doll’s head we had seen there, but this one was different. The cropped gray fusilli of its hair had become the matrix for a crew cut of living, growing moss. A sort of real-life Chia Pet. Well beyond the imagination of its makers — and almost in spite of them — the doll was coming to life. No human strategy of command and control had made it so, but rather the insistence of the wild.

We think of woodlands as places of beauty and repose. We are accustomed to judge a picturesque woodland as a good one and an ugly wood as bad. When Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980, there were endless plans to make it better. Instead, the rangers and scientists mainly stood back and watched. A new forest is slowly emerging. We need to change our thinking: Ask not just what these landscapes look like, but also what they are doing. Fresh Kills Landfill taught me that they may be places of struggle and healing as well, particularly when they come to restore what people have deranged."
forests  trees  nature  statenisland  nyc  anthropocene  resilience  plants  via:aworkinglibrary  2019  multispecies  morethanhuman  garbage  healing  williambryantlogan  damonwinter  mountsainthelens  restoration  growth  failure  decay  life  time  woodlands 
july 2019 by robertogreco
Magic and the Machine — Emergence Magazine
"Indeed, it is only when a traditionally oral culture becomes literate that the land seems to fall silent. Only as our senses transferred their animating magic to the written word did the other animals fall dumb, the trees and rocks become mute. For, to learn this new magic, we had to break the spontaneous participation of our eyes and ears in the enfolding terrain in order to recouple those senses with the flat surface of the page. I remember well, in first grade, the intensity with which I had to train my listening ears and my visual focus upon the letters in order to make each letter trigger a specific sound made by my mouth, such that now whenever I see the letter K, I instantly hear “kah” in my mind’s ear, and whenever I see an M, I hear “mmm.” If my ancestors once engaged in animistic participation with bent twigs, animal tracks, cliff-faces, and cloud shapes, I learned an analogous participation with the letter shapes upon the page. But notice: while a thundercloud or a raven might utter strange sounds and communicate strange sensations, the written letters always speak with a human tongue.

Hence, far from enacting a clear break with animism, alphabetic literacy can be recognized as a particularly potent form of animism, one which shifts the locus of magic—or meaning—away from our interactions with the more-than-human surroundings to the relation between ourselves and our own signs. Only as alphabetic literacy comes into a previously oral culture (often through Christian missionaries teaching how to read the Good Book) does that culture get the curious idea that language is an exclusively human property. The living land is no longer felt to hold and utter forth its own manifold meanings; the surrounding earth soon comes to be viewed as a mostly passive background upon which human history unfolds."




"For animism—the instinctive experience of reciprocity or exchange between the perceiver and the perceived—lies at the heart of all human perception. While such participatory experience may be displaced by our engagement with particular tools and technologies, it can never entirely be dispelled. Rather, different technologies tend to capture and channel our instinctive, animistic proclivities in particular ways."



"Despite the flimsy gesture toward a kind of magical reality, the fact is that we’re still speaking only to ourselves, to things that we have programmed to talk back to us. And so, after the initial novelty, which maybe lasts about twenty minutes, there’s nothing here that can surprise us, or yield a sense that we’re in communication with beings strangely different from ourselves."



"And maybe this attempt to recreate that primal experience of intimacy with the surrounding world will actually succeed. Certainly it’s giving rise to all sorts of fascinating gizmos and whimsical inventions. But it’s also bound to disappoint. The difficult magic of animistic perception, the utter weirdness and dark wonder that lives in any deeply place-based relation to the earth, is the felt sense of being in contact with wakeful forms of sentience that are richly different from one’s own—the experience of interaction with intelligences that are radically other from one’s own human style of intelligence. Yet when interacting with the smart objects that inhabit the always-online world of the internet of things, well, there’s no real otherness there. Of course, there’s the quasi-otherness of the program designers, and of the other people living their own wired lives; although just how other anybody will be when we’re all deploying various forms of the same software (and so all thinking by means of the same preprogrammed algorithms) is an open question. My point, however, is that there’s no radical otherness involved: it’s all humanly programmed, and it’s inhabited by us humans and our own humanly-built artifacts; it’s all basically a big extension of the human nervous system. As we enter more deeply into the world of ubiquitous computing, we increasingly seal ourselves into an exclusively human zone of interaction. We enter into a bizarre kind of intraspecies incest."



"Yet it’s the alterity or otherness of things—the weirdly different awareness of a humpback whale sounding its eerie glissandos through the depths, or an orb-weaver spider spinning the cosmos out of her abdomen; or the complex intelligence of an old-growth forest, dank with mushrooms and bracket fungi, humming with insects and haunted by owls—it’s the wild, more-than-human otherness of these powers that makes any attentive relation with such beings a genuine form of magic, a trancelike negotiation between outrageously divergent worlds.

Without such radical otherness, there’s no magic. Wandering around inside a huge extension of our own nervous system is not likely to bring a renewal of creaturely wonder, or a recovery of ancestral capacities. It may keep us fascinated for a time but also vaguely unsatisfied and so always thirsty for the next invention, the next gadget that might finally satisfy our craving, might assuage our vague sense that something momentous is missing. Except it won’t."



"Western navigators, long reliant on a large array of instruments, remain astonished by the ability of traditional seafaring peoples to find their way across the broad ocean by sensing subtle changes in the ocean currents, by tasting the wind and reading the weather, by conversing with the patterns in the night sky. Similarly, many bookish persons find themselves flummoxed by the ease with which citizens of traditionally oral, place-based cultures seem always to know where they are—their capacity to find their way even through dense forests without obvious landmarks—an innate orienting ability that arises when on intimate terms with the ground, with the plants, with the cycles of sun, moon, and stars. GPS seems to replicate this innate and fairly magical capacity, but instead of this knowledge arising from our bodily interchange with the earthly cosmos, here the knowledge arrives as a disembodied calculation by a complex of orbiting and ground-based computers."



"There is nothing “extra-sensory” about this kind of earthly clairvoyance. Rather, sensory perception functions here as a kind of glue, binding one’s individual nervous system into the larger ecosystem. When our animal senses are all awake, our skin rippling with sensations as we palpate the surroundings with ears and eyes and flaring nostrils, it sometimes happens that our body becomes part of the larger Body of the land—that our sensate flesh is taken up within the wider Flesh of the breathing Earth—and so we begin to glimpse events unfolding at other locations within the broad Body of the land. In hunting and gathering communities, individuals are apprenticed to the intricate life of the local earth from an early age, and in the absence of firearms, hunters often depend upon this richly sensorial, synaesthetic clairvoyance for regular success in the hunt. The smartphone replicates something of this old, ancestral experience of earthly acumen that has long been central to our species: the sense of being situated over Here, while knowing what’s going on over There."



"And so we remain transfixed by these tools, searching in and through our digital engagements for an encounter they seem to promise yet never really provide: the consummate encounter with otherness, with radical alterity, with styles of sensibility and intelligence that thoroughly exceed the limits of our own sentience. Yet there’s the paradox: for the more we engage these remarkable tools, the less available we are for any actual contact outside the purely human estate. In truth, the more we participate with these astonishing technologies, the more we seal ourselves into an exclusively human cocoon, and the more our animal senses—themselves co-evolved with the winds, the waters, and the many-voiced terrain—are blunted, rendering us ever more blind, ever more deaf, ever more impervious to the more-than-human Earth.

Which brings us, finally, back to our initial question: What is the primary relation, if there is any actual relation, between the two contrasting collective moods currently circulating through contemporary society—between the upbeat technological optimism coursing through many social circles and the mood of ecological despondency and grief that so many other persons seem to be feeling? As a writer who uses digital technology, I can affirm that these tools are enabling many useful, astounding, and even magical possibilities. But all this virtual magic is taking a steep toll. For many long years this techno-wizardry has been blunting our creaturely senses, interrupting the instinctive rapport between our senses and the earthly sensuous. It’s been short-circuiting the spontaneous reciprocity between our animal body and the animate terrain, disrupting the very attunement that keeps us apprised of what’s going on in our locale—the simple, somatic affinity that entangles our body with the bodies of other creatures, binding our sentience with that of the local earth. Today, caught up in our fascination with countless screen-fitted gadgets, we’re far more aloof from the life of the land around us, and hence much less likely to notice the steady plundering of these woodlands and wetlands, the choking of the winds and the waters by the noxious by-products of the many industries we now rely on. As these insults to the elemental earth pile up—as the waters are rendered lifeless by more chemical runoff, by more oil spills, by giant patches of plastic rotating in huge gyres; as more glaciers melt and more forests succumb to the stresses of a destabilized climate—the sensorial world of our carnal experience is increasingly filled with horrific wounds, wounds that we feel in our flesh whenever we dare to taste the world with our creaturely senses. It’s too damned painful. Hence … [more]
animism  davidabram  technology  language  alphabet  writing  oraltradition  secondaryorality  smarthphones  gps  multispecies  morethanhuman  canon  literacy  listening  multisensory  senses  noticing  nature  intuition  alterity  otherness  object  animals  wildlife  plants  rocks  life  living  instinct  internet  web  online  maps  mapping  orientation  cities  sound  smell  texture  touch  humans  smartdevices  smarthomes  internetofthings  perception  virtuality  physical 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Why we have grass lawns - Curbed
"With the invention of mechanical mowing, the lawn no longer required a small army of groundskeepers, and the once-unattainable lawn of the moneyed classes became available to the middle classes, which were now buying and building homes along streetcar lines outside of the city, in the first suburbs. The density of these suburbs relative to their later counterparts kept these lawns rather small, and the largest lawns tended to belong to those with large houses, keeping the big, grassy expanse aspirational.

With the massive car-based sprawl of the postwar era, the modern grassy, treeless lawn came into its own. The lawn, at this point, became part of American suburban culture: white and middle class, inextricable from the mundanities of conventional nuclear family life and the act of childrearing. Cold War paranoia placed a larger emphasis on surveillance in child-rearing, and the fenced-in, treeless backyard made it easier for parents to keep a continuous, watchful eye on their children.

Perhaps the most pervasive myth of the lawn is the oft-touted idea that lawns and fenced-in, grassy backyards are somehow safer or better for the activities of children than any alternative. This belief comes from a place of fear and isolationism. It subtly admonishes the decisions of non-suburban parents and erases the experiences of those children who grow up in the city or in rural areas. The idea that the woods or the city are unsafe for children is silly, as children have grown up in these environments for as long as people have lived in them. Rather than equipping children with the knowledge they need to be independent and adaptable to these environments, the de facto logic has been to eliminate all risk by only allowing children to play in a closed-off patch of turf grass.

Urban children may not have lawns, but they have public parks where they interact with other children from diverse backgrounds. Children (myself included) who grow up in rural places or near or in the woods are raised with information about the hazards of such environments and are taught the skills necessary to be self sufficient, such as plant and animal identification, navigation, first aid, and outdoor preparedness. The idea that children need a lawn, a cultural invention of the postwar era, is absurd.

Lawn care and horticulture are powerful industries whose future profits rely on the endurance of these myths and the persistent advance of sprawl. Many folks who enjoy the feeling of tending to land that the lawn gives them might scowl at me. The good news for people reading this and saying “what can I do?” is that wonderful alternatives to lawns are gaining momentum.

In desert climates, the most absurd places to have a lawn, xeriscaping—cultivating yards using native plants that require little irrigation—is becoming more and more popular because it saves time and resources. For others, taking space away from lawns and giving it to pollinator gardens, edible gardens, and vegetable beds, as well as gardening only with native plants that require much less fuss to keep alive, are great alternatives to the tyranny of the lawn, alternatives that not only save time, effort, resources, and money, but are good for the environment as well. Getting rid of turf grass and replacing it with native grasses, prairie, or whatever natural ground cover happens to be inherent to the place you live and that doesn’t require fertilization, pesticide use, or mowing is a great start. Allow native trees to grow, remove any invasive plants (sorry, folks, that means English ivy) from your yard, and the results will soon bear fruit, whether literally or figuratively, through the return of songbirds and pollinators to your outdoor space.

If you’re at all concerned about climate change and what you can do to help make the world a more habitable place for the millions of plants, animals, and people that live here, start by getting rid of your turf grass."
multispecies  plants  lawns  climate  ecology  monoculture  suburbia  2019  katewagner  cities  urban  urbanism  sustainability  xeriscaping  horticulture  children  safety  parks  cars 
may 2019 by robertogreco
14 Store Bought Vegetables & Herbs You Can Regrow - YouTube
"I am regrowing 14 store bought Vegetables and Herbs. These 14 vegetables and herbs are very easy to regrow. You can either grow these indoors, outdoors, or near your kitchen window."

[via: https://twitter.com/rmartinez2209/status/1117200495934885891 ]
plants  classideas  gardening  vegetables  fruit 
april 2019 by robertogreco
k'eguro on Twitter: "PERUVIAN PLANT ESCAPES BRITISH GARDEN CONFINEMENT!"
"I love this description

"Galinsoga parviflora was brought from Peru to Kew Gardens in 1796, and later escaped to the wild in Great Britain and Ireland"

#ANTICOLONIALPLANTS

PERUVIAN PLANT ESCAPES BRITISH GARDEN CONFINEMENT!

Aaron Boothby (@elipticalnight):
there MUST be a history of plants escaping colonial gardens to naturalize themselves & I really need to find it

k'eguro:
now I'm imagining a graphic novel: the great escape

Aaron Boothby:
[GIF]

k'eguro:
and then the little plant said to its friend, "there's a whole world out there, with soil for all of us"

Aaron Boothby:
some escaping in wind, others in rain, in the fur of cats, in bird's feathers, in bird's poop, by creeping past fences, by seducing human theft, by offering tasty fruits

Petero Kalulé (@nkoyenkoyenkoye):
ecological escape strategies"
plants  multispecies  colonialism  morethanhuman  keguromacharia  aaronboothby  peterokalulé  escape  confinement  liberation  anti-colonialism 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Watch Plants Light Up When They Get Attacked - The New York Times
"Scientists showed that plants are much less passive than they seem by revealing the secret workings of their threat communication systems."
plants  multispecies  morethanhuman  2018  communication 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Did a fig tree grow out of the remains of a Turkish Cypriot man missing since 1974? - Cyprus Mail
"News was spreading fast on social media and foreign media over the weekend that a missing Turkish Cypriot man’s remains from 1974 were uncovered after a fig tree grew out of a seed in his stomach.

The story initially published in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet last week has been picked up by the British tabloids, MSN and other outlets. According to the MSN account, Ahmet Hergune was killed in 1974 but his body was not discovered for decades until the fig tree connection.

“It was eventually discovered because the tree which grew from him was unusual for the area. Incredibly, the dead man had been taken into a cave with two others and both of them had been killed by dynamite that was then thrown in after them,” the report said.

“Yet the dynamite also blew a hole in the side of the cave, allowing light to flood into the darkened interior which in turn allowed the fig tree to grow from the man’s body.”

It goes on to say the tree was spotted in 2011 by a researcher who was curious as to how the tree had ended up in the cave and especially in a mountainous area where it was not usually found.

“While carrying out his research and digging around the tree, he was then horrified to find a human body underneath and raised the alarm. On digging further, police recovered a total of three bodies.”

The tale is fascinating but not quite an accurate description, according to Cyprus Mail sources close to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) on both sides of the divide.

But there is also much more to the story than was gleaned either from the short news reports, or the information obtained by the Cyprus Mail from the CMP sources.

According to the CMP sources, the case dates back to 2006 when the committee received information that there were Turkish Cypriot remains – three people – in a cave close to the sea and they went to excavate in accordance with their mandate.

The Cyprus Mail sources said it involved cave close to a beach in Limassol, and indeed there was a fig tree that had grown out of the cave. Over the years the tree had grown to the point where it caused the roof of the cave to collapse.

The entrance to the cave itself was underwater and blocked off due to the dynamite blast but the roots of the tree were inside the cave – some three metres down – and the tree had grown there for decades.

The remains of the three Turkish Cypriots, the sources said, were found several metres away from the tree roots during the excavations, suggesting it did not grow from a seed inside the deceased man. “There were similar news reports at the time that the tree had grown from the remains,” said one source.

Sources in the north close to the CMP also concurred that the remains were found away from the tree, adding that scientifically it was not possible that it happened the way it was related by the family. “It’s their belief,” the sources said. They added that sources said Hergune’s family wanted to believe that it happened that way. “It helped them with finding closure.”

Hergune’s sister Munur Herguner, 87, said, according to the MSN account: “We used to live in a village with a population of 4,000, half Greek, half Turkish. In 1974, the disturbances began. My brother Ahmet joined the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT). On 10th June, the Greeks took him away.”

She added: “For years we searched for my brother in vain.”

But she said that unknown to her, the grave had ended up being marked by the fig tree that grew from the seed in his stomach.

“The tree was spotted in 2011 by a researcher who was curious as to how the tree had ended up in the cave and especially in a mountainous area where it was not usually found,” the report goes on.

“While carrying out his research and digging around the tree, he was then horrified to find a human body underneath and raised the alarm. On digging further, police recovered a total of three bodies,” it added.

Munur Herguner said her brother was believed to have been the one that had eaten the fig, and blood samples from her family matched DNA fragments which confirmed it was her brother’s final resting place.

“As detectives investigated the killing, they discovered that the brother Ahmet and the other two had been killed by dynamite in the cave, and the blast had made a hole in the cave that let in light. He had apparently eaten the fig shortly before he died,” the report added.

His sister said: “The fig remnants in my brother’s stomach grew into a tree as the sun crept into the cave through the hole made by the explosion. They found my brother thanks to that fig tree.”

But there is even more to the story.

Turkish Cypriot journalist, author and peace activist Sevgul Uludag recounted the tale in 2008, two years after the find and just before the funeral of the three Turkish Cypriots whose remains had since been identified by the CMP.

Uludag was visiting by chance the same beach without making the connection between the ‘fig tree’ story from 2006 and the location she was currently at, Ayios Georgios Alamanos, until someone mentioned the connection.

According to her account, back in 1974, Ahmet Cemal was taken by three Greek Cypriots from the coffeeshop of the village Episkopi and was taken here to be killed together with Erdogan Enver and Unal Adil who were taken from the Chiftlik area of Limassol. According to Uludag, there was no entrance to the cave inside the rocks from land, so the three must have been brought by boat.

“The last thing Ahmet Cemal ate that day on the 10th of August 1974, was figs from his garden. But these were `Anadolidiga` type of figs, growing in his garden. This type of fig did not grow anywhere – it could grow in Episkopi and it only grew if it liked its soil… So the fig tree growing with hundreds of roots from the cave and coming out at the top of the cave and showing where the `missing` Turkish Cypriots were, this type of a fig tree called `Anadolidiga`,” she says.

Uludag observes that an ordinary person would not notice the significance of that fig tree on the beach but the beach was also a favourite beach for Xenophon Kallis, a Greek Cypriot, and head of the foreign ministry’s humanitarian affairs directorate who was deeply involved in missing persons issue, so in essence not some random person as related by the media over the weekend.

“Gradually as the fig tree grew, Kallis noticed the change in the scenery on the beach. What was that fig tree doing there? Kallis checked old photos he had of this beach – he drove for kilometres on this coast but there was no sign of another fig tree. And there was no place for the birds to perch on to poo inside the cave – the whole area was rocks and shinya,” wrote Uludag.

She said he discovered the fig tree was of the type `Anadolidiga` and as he deepened his research, he found out that the three Turkish Cypriot `missing`, among them Ahmet Cemal from Episkopi, was killed and buried in that cave.

“When the dynamite exploded [at the time], the UN had heard and had made a report about it. And Kallis discovered that the last thing Ahmet Cemal ate was `Anadolidiga` figs from his garden,” added Uludag.

“Maybe this `Anadolidiga` fig tree grew because of the last meal of Ahmet Cemal – maybe the bats had eaten this type of fig and came to the cave or maybe there is another explanation. But whatever the explanation, what was important was that this fig tree led Kallis to finding these `missing persons`. The fig tree had shown him the way…”

Uludag’s full account here:

https://www.stwing.upenn.edu/~durduran/hamambocu/authors/svg/svg2_13_2008.html "
plants  trees  figs  entanglement  2018  cyprus  1974  conflict  archaeology  morethanhuman  multispecies  fruit  closure  turkey 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Los Angeles trees and flowers: An illustrated guide - Curbed LA
"From palm trees to sweet jasmine, get to know some of the flora that give LA its distinctive local color"
losangeles  plants  illustration  trees  2018  monicaahanonu  paulineo'connor 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Planet Now Has More Trees Than It Did 35 Years Ago - Pacific Standard
"Tree cover loss in the tropics was outweighed by tree cover gain in subtropical, temperate, boreal, and polar regions."
trees  reforestation  plants  environment  2018 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Where Did All the Jacaranda Trees in Los Angeles Come From?
"When you look up at a vibrant purple jacaranda tree—or a bush of bougainvillea, sprout of birds of paradise, or fragrant patch of jasmine, for that matter—you can thank Kate Sessions, a pioneering female horticulturalist who helped make over the natural environment of Southern California.

Sessions was born in Barbary Coast-era San Francisco, amongst the gold speculators and vigilantes. Early in her childhood her family moved near Lake Merritt, which, in 1870, would be designated as the country’s first official wildlife refuge. She went on to be among the small cohort of women to attend U.C. Berkeley in the initial years after the Board of Regents opened admission to female students, and, in 1881, received her degree in natural science.

After graduation, Sessions went on to enroll in business school in San Francisco, but was lured south by an offer of a job as a school teacher in San Diego.

Plants had always been her passion, but once she arrived in Southern California, that passion exploded. Her job as a teacher lasted only one school year, but she quickly purchased a nursery and flower shop and established flower cultivating fields in Coronado, Pacific Beach, and Mission Hills.

She was fascinated with plants growing in exotic parts of the world, and was experimenting with bringing seeds and plants from Europe, Mexico, and South America, as well as cultivating native California plants. She became the most sought-after landscape designer for fashionable homeowners and residential developers in the fast-growing city.

In 1892, she made the deal that would change California’s landscape forever. Sessions leased 32 acres of land owned by the city of San Diego which was then known as City Park. The field was barren, pest-ridden, and lacked any formal landscaping. Sessions agreed to amend the situation by planting 100 new trees per year in the park and 300 trees per year elsewhere on public lands around the city. In exchange, she could use the property as a kind of laboratory and growing field. That property was filled with cypress, eucalyptus, palms, and jacaranda—and, along the way, was re-dubbed Balboa Park.

A bronze statue of Sessions was placed in the park in 1998, and it’s still the only statue of a historical woman anywhere in San Diego. In 2006 the Women’s Museum of California inducted her into their Women’s Hall of Fame and produced a short video about her contributions to the city.

[video embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JmBhL_R-e0 ]

Word of San Diego’s transformation into a colorful and lush environment quickly spread up the coast, as did the popularity of the exotic plants that Sessions demonstrated could flourish here. Jacarandas, with their beautiful blossoms in a distinctive purple color, were an easy sell, and in the 1920s and ’30s they were planted extensively in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Sessions died in 1940, but her legacy continued as Los Angeles grew and jacarandas became one of the most recognizable trees in the region.

Most of the jacarandas seen in L.A. are Jacaranda mimosifolia, one of the 49 different types of flowering jacaranda trees. One specimen in Santa Ana is on the official registry of Big Trees, measuring 58 feet high, 98 inches around the trunk, and more than 73 feet across the spread of the branches."
katesessions  jacarandas  california  losangeles  trees  plants  2018  sandiego 
july 2018 by robertogreco
A Color of the Sky by Tony Hoagland | Poetry Foundation
"Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.

I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.

Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.

Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
MEMORY LOVES TIME
in big black spraypaint letters,

which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more."
poems  poetry  morethanhuman  multispecies  tonyhoagland  2003  plants  trees  wastefulness  making  spring  everyday  ephemeral 
july 2018 by robertogreco
BBC World Service - The Documentary, Is Eating Plants Wrong?
"Plant scientists from around the world are coming up with mind-blowing findings, and claiming that plants cannot just sense, but communicate, learn and remember.

In an experiment in Australia, plants appeared to learn to associate a sound with a food source, just like the proverbial Pavlovian dogs linked the sound of a bell with dinner. In Israel they found that plants communicated a message Chinese whispers style, and that the transferred information was used to survive drought. In British Columbia and the UK they have shown that trees do not just pass information and nutrients to each other through an underground fungal network, but that this happens more with closely related trees or seedlings than with strangers. The question is, are the trees deciding on helping their kin, or are the fungi finding it easier to connect to genetically similar trees?

And in California it turns out that sagebrush shrubs have "regional dialects"!
Botanist James Wong explores these findings and asks whether, if plants can do all these things, and if, as one scientist says, they are a "who" and not a "what", then is it wrong to eat them?"
plants  multispecies  communication  2018  memory  learning  morethanhuman  toawatch 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The world is poorly designed. But copying nature helps. - YouTube
"Japan’s Shinkansen doesn’t look like your typical train. With its long and pointed nose, it can reach top speeds up to 150–200 miles per hour.

It didn’t always look like this. Earlier models were rounder and louder, often suffering from the phenomenon of "tunnel boom," where deafening compressed air would rush out of a tunnel after a train rushed in. But a moment of inspiration from engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu led the system to be redesigned based on the aerodynamics of three species of birds.

Nakatsu’s case is a fascinating example of biomimicry, the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus. She's a co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit encouraging creators to discover how big challenges in design, engineering, and sustainability have often already been solved through 3.8 billion years of evolution on earth. We just have to go out and find them."
biomimicry  design  classideas  janinebenyus  biology  nature  trains  shinkansen  japan  birds  sustainability  biomimetics  form  process  plants  animals  2017  circulareconomy  ecosystems  systemsthinking  upcycling  cities  urban  urbanism 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Common World | Children’s Relations with Other Species
"In following children’s relations with other species, our research works against the premises of exclusive human agency and paramount human interests. Instead it draws upon frameworks and methodologies that re-focus upon child/plant/animal interactions, entanglements and co-shapings. These include multispecies ethnographies, multi-sensory and affect-focused methods, and textual methods that examine the role of child/animal/plant narratives and deconstruct their discursive formations and effects. Much of this research responds to colonial and ecological legacies, such as the anthropogenic escalation of species extinctions, which provide context to contemporary children’s relations with other species. It seeks news ways of fostering ethical, recuperative and flourishing multispecies futures."
children  multispecies  morethanhuman  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  childhood  plants  animals  nature 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Scientists Still Can't Decide How to Define a Tree - The Atlantic
"So far, there is no standout gene or set of genes that confers tree-ness, nor any particular genome feature. Complexity? Nope: Full-on, whole-genome duplication (an often-used proxy for complexity) is prevalent throughout the plant kingdom. Genome size? Nope: Both the largest and smallest plant genomes belong to herbaceous species (Paris japonica and Genlisea tuberosa, respectively—the former a showy little white-flowered herb, the latter a tiny, carnivorous thing that traps and eats protozoans).

A chat with Neale confirms that tree-ness is probably more about what genes are turned on than what genes are present. “From the perspective of the genome, they basically have all the same stuff as herbaceous plants,” he said. “Trees are big, they’re woody, they can get water from the ground to up high. But there does not seem to be some profound unique biology that distinguishes a tree from a herbaceous plant.”

Notwithstanding the difficulty in defining them, being a tree has undeniable advantages—it allows plants to exploit the upper reaches where they can soak up sunlight and disperse pollen and seeds with less interference than their ground-dwelling kin. So maybe it’s time to start thinking of tree as a verb, rather than a noun—tree-ing, or tree-ifying. It’s a strategy, a way of being, like swimming or flying, even though to our eyes it’s happening in very slow motion. Tree-ing with no finish in sight—until an ax, or a pest, or a bolt of Thanksgiving lightning strikes it down."
biology  botany  classification  trees  2018  verbs  rachelehrenberg  plants  science  genetics  multispecies  wood  longevity  andrewgroover  ronaldlanner  evolution  davidneale  genomes  complexity 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering | Literary Hub
"In the most egalitarian of European—and New Mexican—traditions, forests were public commons in which common people could roam, graze flocks, hunt and gather, and this is another way that forests when they are public land and public libraries are alike: as spaces in which everyone is welcome, as places in which we can wander and collect, get lost and find what we’re looking for.

The United States’s public libraries sometimes seem to me the last refuges of a democratic vision of equality, places in which everyone is welcome, which serve the goal of an informed public, offering services far beyond the already heady gift of free books you can take home, everything from voter registration to computer access. I’ve joked for a long time that if you walked up to people in the street and asked them whether we could own our greatest treasures collectively and trust people to walk away with them and bring them back, a lot of people would say that’s impossibly idealistic and some would say it’s socialist, but libraries have been making books free for all for a very long time. They are temples of books, fountains of narrative pleasure, and toolboxes of crucial information. My own writing has depended on public libraries and then university libraries and archives and does to this day. I last used a public library the day before yesterday."



"So let’s begin by recognizing that all this was—and in many moral ways still is—Coast Miwok land, before the Spanish came, before Spanish claims became Mexican claims, before this was considered to be part of Mexico, before it was part of the United States."



"Browsing, woolgathering, meandering, wandering, drifting, that state when exploring, when looking to find what it might be possible to find rather than seeking one particular goal, is the means of locomotion. I often think that hunter-gatherers must move a lot like this, seeking game or plant foods, flexible about what might show up on any given day. I was lucky that children were weeds, not hothouse flowers, in those days, left to our own devices, and my own devices led in two directions: north to the hills and the horses, south to the library."



"These linked paths and roads form a circuit of about six miles that I began hiking ten years ago to walk off my angst during a difficult year. I kept coming back to this route for respite from my work and for my work too, because thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking. Walking itself is the intentional act closest to the unwilled rhythms of the body, to breathing and the beating of the heart. It strikes a delicate balance between working and idling, being and doing. It is a bodily labor that produces nothing but thoughts, experiences, arrivals. After all those years of walking to work out other things, it made sense to come back to work close to home, in Thoreau’s sense, and to think about walking.

Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts."



"Moving on foot seems to make it easier to move in time; the mind wanders from plans to recollections to observations."



"Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go…"



"Like many others who turned into writers, I disappeared into books when I was very young, disappeared into them like someone running into the woods. What surprised and still surprises me is that there was another side to the forest of stories and the solitude, that I came out that other side and met people there. Writers are solitaries by vocation and necessity. I sometimes think the test is not so much talent, which is not as rare as people think, but purpose or vocation, which manifests in part as the ability to endure a lot of solitude and keep working. Before writers are writers they are readers, living in books, through books, in the lives of others that are also the heads of others, in that act that is so intimate and yet so alone."



"Libraries are sanctuaries from the world and command centers onto it: here in quiet rooms are the lives of Crazy Horse and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Hundred Years War and the Opium Wars and the Dirty War, the ideas of Simone Weil and Lao Tsu, information on building your sailboat or dissolving your marriage, fictional worlds and books to equip the reader to reenter the real world. They are, ideally, places where nothing happens and where everything that has happened is stored up to be remembered and relived, the place where the world is folded up into boxes of paper. Every book is a door that opens into another world, which might be the magic that all those children’s books were alluding to, and a library is a Milky Way of worlds. All readers are Wu Daozi; all imaginative, engrossing books are landscapes into which readers vanish."
rebeccasolnit  2017  children  unschooling  deschooling  parenting  education  libraries  wandering  howwelearn  freedom  autonomy  forests  childhood  novato  california  learning  canon  publicgood  us  egalitarianism  democracy  socialism  thoreau  walking  cv  unknowing  uncertainty  woods  writing  howwewrite  books  literature  stories  storytelling  listening  reading  sanctuary  vanishing  nature  plants  wildlife  multispecies  morethanhuman  society 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Drupe - Wikipedia
"In botany, a drupe (or stone fruit) is an indehiscent fruit in which an outer fleshy part (exocarp, or skin; and mesocarp, or flesh) surrounds a single shell (the pit, stone, or pyrene) of hardened endocarp with a seed (kernel) inside.[1] These fruits usually develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries[1] (polypyrenous drupes are exceptions). The definitive characteristic of a drupe is that the hard, "lignified" stone (or pit) is derived from the ovary wall of the flower—in an aggregate fruit composed of small, individual drupes (such as a raspberry), each individual is termed a drupelet and may together form a botanic berry.

Other fleshy fruits may have a stony enclosure that comes from the seed coat surrounding the seed, but such fruits are not drupes.

Some flowering plants that produce drupes are coffee, jujube, mango, olive, most palms (including date, sabal, coconut and oil palms), pistachio, white sapote, cashew, and all members of the genus Prunus, including the almond (in which the mesocarp is somewhat leathery), apricot, cherry, damson, nectarine, peach, and plum.

The term drupaceous is applied to a fruit which has the structure and texture of a drupe,[2] but which does not precisely fit the definition of a drupe."
fruit  classideas  stonefruits  peaches  vocabulary  botany  plants  science 
march 2018 by robertogreco
OCCULTURE: 66. Gordon White in “Breaking Kayfabe” // Ursula Le Guin, Dragons & the Story Shape of the 21st Century
"If ya hit the ol’ play button on this one, it’s probably because of the name in the title. Gordon White is in the house. Mr. White as he’s known in the metafiction that is our current cultural narrative. But Mr. White is no reservoir dog in this story. He’s the Humphrey Bogart of High Magic, the main mage behind the oh-so-popular Rune Soup blog and podcast. You’ve read it, you’ve heard it. And if ya haven’t, well, you’re in for quite the trip on this here starship.

Gordon’s mind is a cabinet of curiosities and we pull out quite a bit of them here, including how we can rearrange our reality, the magic of fiction, artistic impulses, Game of Thrones, a game of tomes, and if ya ever wanted to hear Gordon White speak in pro wrestling terminology, well, there’s a bit of that too.

So let’s do this damn thing already and cast this pod off deep into the primordial chaos, where the protocols of the elder scrolls read more like a legend on a map of Middle Earth than they do a plan of global domination."
gordonwhite  fiction  fantasy  novels  art  makingart  magic  myth  mythology  belief  creativity  ryanpeverly  nonfiction  stories  storytelling  change  homer  bible  truth  ursulaleguin  2018  occulture  westernthought  carljung  josephcampbell  starwars  culture  biology  nature  reality  heroesjourney  potency  archetypes  dragons  odyssey  anthropology  ernestodimartino  religion  christianity  flow  taoism  artmagic  artasmagic  magicofart  permaculture  plants  housemagic  love  death 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Atlas for the End of the World
[via: https://kottke.org/17/06/an-atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world ]

"Coming almost 450 years after the world's first Atlas, this Atlas for the End of the World audits the status of land use and urbanization in the most critically endangered bioregions on Earth. It does so, firstly, by measuring the quantity of protected area across the world's 36 biodiversity hotspots in comparison to United Nation's 2020 targets; and secondly, by identifying where future urban growth in these territories is on a collision course with endangered species.

By bringing urbanization and conservation together in the same study, the essays, maps, data, and artwork in this Atlas lay essential groundwork for the future planning and design of hotspot cities and regions as interdependent ecological and economic systems."



"The findings of this research are threefold: first, a majority of the ecoregions in the hotspots fall well short of United Nations' 2020 targets for protected lands; second, almost all the cities in the hotspots are projected to continue to sprawl in an unregulated manner into the world's most valuable habitats; and finally, only a small number of the 196 nations who are party to the CBD (and the 142 nations who have sovereign jurisdiction over the hotspots) have any semblance of appropriately scaled, land use planning which would help reconcile international conservation values with local economic imperatives.6

By focusing attention on the hotspots in the lead-up to the UN's 2020 deadline for achieving the Aichi targets, this atlas is intended as a geopolitical tool to help prioritize conservation land-use planning. It is also a call to landscape architects, urban designers, and planners to become more involved in helping reconcile ecology and economics in these territories.

Set diametrically at the opposite end of modernity to Ortelius' original, this atlas promotes cultivation, not conquest. As such, this atlas is not about the end of the world at all, for that cosmological inevitability awaits the sun's explosion some 2.5 or so billion years away: it is about the end of Ortelius' world, the end of the world as a God-given and unlimited resource for human exploitation. On this, even the Catholic Church is now adamant: "we have no such right" writes Pope Francis.7"



"This immense and ever-expanding trove of remotely sensed data and imagery is the basis of the world's shared Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The subject of this cyborgian, perpetual mapping-machine is not only where things are in space, but more importantly how things change over time. Because the environmental crisis is generally a question of understanding what is changing where, we can say that with remote sensing and its data-streams we have entered not only the apocalyptic age of star wars and the white-noise world of global telecommunications, but more optimistically, the age of ecological cartography.

The "judgment and bias" of this atlas lies firstly in our acceptance of the public data as a given; secondly in the utilization of GIS to rapidly read and translate metadata as a reasonable basis for map-making in the age of ecological cartography; thirdly, in our foregrounding of each map's particular theme to the exclusion of all others; and finally in the way that a collection of ostensibly neutral and factual maps is combined to form an atlas that, by implication, raises prescient questions of land-use on a global scale."



"Who are the Atlas authors?
The Atlas for the End of the World project was conceived and directed by Richard Weller who is the Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). The Atlas was researched and created in collaboration with Claire Hoch and Chieh Huang, both recent graduates from the Department of Landscape Architecture at UPenn now practicing landscape architecture in Australia and the United States."
biodiversity  culture  future  maps  anthropocene  earth  multispecies  environment  ecology  ecosystems  mapping  data  visualization  infographics  dataviz  bioregions  atlases  geography  urbanization  cities  nature  naturalhistory  california  classideas  flora  fauna  plants  animals  wildlife  morethanhuman  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  economics  endangersspecies  statistics  richardweller  clairehoch  chiehhuang 
january 2018 by robertogreco
An Atlas for the End of the World
"The Atlas for the End of the World is a project started by Penn architect Richard Weller to highlight the effects of human civilization and urbanization on our planet’s biodiversity.
Coming almost 450 years after the world’s first Atlas, this Atlas for the End of the World audits the status of land use and urbanization in the most critically endangered bioregions on Earth. It does so, firstly, by measuring the quantity of protected area across the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots in comparison to United Nation’s 2020 targets; and secondly, by identifying where future urban growth in these territories is on a collision course with endangered species.

There’s lots to see at the site: world and regional maps, data visualizations, key statistical data, photos of plants and animals that have been modified by humans, as well as several essays on a variety of topics.

And here’s a fun map: countries with national biodiversity strategies and action plans in place. Take a wild guess which country is one of the very few without such a plan in place!"

[See also:
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/hotspots_main.html
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/hotspots/california_floristic_province.pdf
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/world_maps_main.html
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/flora_and_fauna.html
http://atlas-for-the-end-of-the-world.com/world_maps/world_maps_biodiversity_planning.html ]
anthropocene  maps  mapping  atlases  geography  urbanization  cities  nature  naturalhistory  california  classideas  flora  fauna  plants  animals  wildlife  multispecies  morethanhuman  human-animalrelations  human-animalrelationships  biodiversity  ecology  economics  ecosystems  endangersspecies  visualization  data  statistics 
january 2018 by robertogreco
The Fantastically Strange Origin of Most Coal on Earth – Phenomena: Curiously Krulwich
"This is a story about trees—very, very strange looking trees—and some microbes that failed to show up on time. Their non-appearance happened more than 300 million years ago, and what they didn’t do, or rather what happened because they weren’t there, shapes your life and mine.

All you have to do is walk the streets of Beijing or New Delhi or Mexico City: If there’s a smog-laden sky (and there usually is), all that dust blotting out the sun is there because of this story I’m going to tell.

It begins, appropriately enough, in an ancient forest …"

[See also:
"How Fungi Saved the World"
http://feedthedatamonster.com/home/2014/7/11/how-fungi-saved-the-world

"This was the one and only time in the last 300 million years that the wood-rotting ability evolved. All the fungi today that can digest wood (and a few that can't) are the descendants of that enterprising fungus. Its strategy may have been inelegant, but wood decay played a crucial role in reversing the loss of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and bringing about the end of the Carboniferous period.

What would have happened if white rot fungi had never evolved? We can only speculate, but it's possible the world of today would look a lot like the world at the end of the Carboniferous period – cooler, high in oxygen, and with a denser atmosphere. Dragonflies with foot-and-a-half wingspans might still roam the forests, but the plant life might still be primeval, stifled by the lower carbon dioxide concentrations. Many a homeowner may disagree, but we're lucky wood-rotting fungi evolved. "]

[via:
http://interconnected.org/home/2018/01/02/filtered

"For 40 million years, trees were not biodegradable.
430 million years before present, the first vascular plants emerged from early tide pools. In order to stay upright, these plants employed cellulose, a chain of simple sugars ... it was easy to make and offered rigid yet flexible support

This is from How Fungi Saved the World.

90 million years later, heralding the Carboniferous period,
plants developed a new kind of support material, called lignin. Lignin was an improvement development over cellulose in several ways: it was harder, more rigid, and, being more complex, almost impossible to digest, which made it ideal for protecting cellulose. With lignin, plants could make wood, and it lead to the first treelike growth form.

But lignin made the lycopod trees a little too successful. Because their leaves were lofted above many herbivores and their trunks were made inedible by lignin, lycopods were virtually impervious to harm.

Dead trees piled up without decomposing. Compacted by weight, they turned to peat and then to coal. 90% of all today's coal is from this period.

Wood pollution lasted 40 million years.
Finally, however, a fungus belonging to the class Agaricomycetes - making it a distant cousin of button mushrooms - did find a crude way to break down lignin. Rather than devise an enzyme to unstitch the lignin molecule, however, it was forced to adapt a more direct strategy. Using a class of enyzmes called peroxidases, the fungus bombarded the wood with highly reactive oxygen molecules, in much the same way one might untie a knot using a flamethrower. This strategy reduced the wood to a carbohydrate-rich slurry from which the fungus could slurp up the edible cellulose.

Which leads me to think:

There's a ton of plastic in the ocean. Why not engineer a fungus to rot it? Having this magical material that lasts forever is absurd. This is a controversial idea I admit. But although I agree that we need to reduce plastic pollution (via social change and by regulatory intervention), cybernetics tells me that's a fragile solution. Homeostasis is to be found in a ecosystem of checks and balances: instead of eternal plastic, we need plastic plus a plastic-rotting fungus plus an effective-but-hard-to-apply fungicide. Then balance can be found."
2016  coal  plants  trees  fungi  science  evolution  classideas  naturalhistory  decomposition  srg  plastic 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Mount Sutro - FoundSF
"Mount Sutro, a hill in San Francisco, is difficult to characterize. At 908 feet, it’s a very tall hill that comes close to being a small mountain. (Another 92 feet, and it would have that distinction.) Many hundreds of years ago it might have started life as a hybridized sand dune/chert rock outcropping: it sits to the south of the Great Sand Bank of the outer lands of the city where offshore gusts threw sand from west to east with impunity one hundred years ago. It has a lot of trees growing on it, so many that it’s called a forest, although properly speaking it’s more like a tree plantation. Most of the trees are from one species, Eucalyptus globulus, the Tasmanian blue gum eucalyptus. When Mount Sutro is viewed from a distance, it looks almost cartoonishly rounded, a great tree-laden lump rising in the center of the city. The ravines and slopes of Mount Sutro are filled with blue gum eucalyptus, Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. They are all non-native.

Craig Dawson, the executive director of Sutro Stewards, a habitat restoration organization, likes eucalyptus trees and prefers the native blackberry over its invasive cousin. “Native blackberries are sweeter,” he says. “Himalayan blackberries are really tart.” He is openly dismayed by the English ivy, Hedera helix, the villainous plant of the understory which prevents native plants from growing well or at all and kills eucalyptus trees. “The birds eat the berries,” he says, “and the seeds gets distributed everywhere. You can’t fight all this,” he says, gesturing at the glossy leaves of the ivy."



"The North Ridge Trail is steep. I huffed and puffed after Craig, while he continued to name plants as he went. We stopped before a tall tree. “Toyon,” said Craig. We looked at it in silence. Here was a tree, solid and growing confidently in its old home. Maybe it had always been here— a historic remnant of a once larger community. Or maybe the seed it sprang from had been scarified in the acidic confines of a bird’s digestive tract and shat out to land— miraculously— in the one place it could sprout. We didn’t plant hardly any of this, Craig had said. Overhead the ravens croaked and chattered. Craig looked up in amusement. “When the ivy is in fruit, you can’t hear yourself talk. They’re very loud,” he said. Seed bearers to blackberry and toyon alike, they proved one thing: Invasion depends on movement. All things that creepeth and crappeth add more weight to Mount Sutro’s unbalanced ecological system, top-heavy with homogeneity. The current ecological system in the reserve depends on movement in the sky and on the trail below: hikers, bikers and birds all help propagate the eucalyptus, ivy and blackberry. We walked out of the murky confines of the reserve and into the summit. I saw the first direct sunlight I’d seen since meeting Craig in the Parking lot.

Rotary Meadow sits on about two inches of topsoil. The dirt was removed during the construction of a Nike radar base in the 1950’s. In an email sent to me later, Craig elaborated: “Rotary Meadow is planted in a debris field of unconsolidated rubble atop solid chert. On the top there is a bare minimum of a couple of inches of gravel, rock chips, and 50 years of composting resulting from the broom, blackberry and weeds that called it home.” The summit plant community, fragrant with mugwort and artemisia, is scraping by. It’s the only place in the reserve that supports a coastal scrub community. It does so on just under two acres of land.

Two bush lupines sat alongside a San Francisco gum plant. The lupines, small and fragile looking, are the only source of food on Mount Sutro for the tiny and endangered Mission Blue butterfly. “They’re no bigger than your fingernail,” said Craig, extending his for comparison. The lupine is also the butterfly’s nursery. The butterfly sips nectar from the lupine and lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves. The eggs hatch in six to ten days and continue feeding and living on the plant as caterpillars. The caterpillars are protected from insect predators (mostly wasps), by ants. Lupines, butterflies, ants: this elegant triad illustrates the basic schematic of ecology: a relationship between locale, plant and animal that is historically congruent and interdependent. It’s simple and very easy to disrupt. On Mount Sutro, the relationship is struggling. Two elements are missing: the butterfly and the ant.

Prenolepsis imparis, the ant, is missing. The ant/nursemaid to the Mission Blue caterpillar feeds on honeydew, a substance secreted by the caterpillar. The ants defend this food source from other predators like wasps. But a 2008 study performed jointly by biologists from San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Science described a startling finding: the absence of any native ants— any ants at all— in the interior greenbelt of Mount Sutro, downhill of the summit. The ant, it was surmised, was missing so completely because of the absence of habitat. Like elk clover, ants need the sun. And like mice, ants also need bare patches of land to travel. The study concludes that dense understory plants and too much moisture discouraged the ants from making it to the summit, effectively removing one crucial element from the three-part production that results in a population of healthy lupines and adult Mission Blue butterflies. The understory rolling and tumbling in the depths below affects the summit ecology dramatically: People literally can’t see the ants because of the trees.

A look of consternation flitted across Craig’s face. “Look at that,” he said. I looked. Purple star thistle had sprouted in a recently cleared patch to our right. “Workmen brought that up here,” he said. He said nothing more: he didn’t need to. Purple star thistle is a “major problem” according to the California Invasive Plant Council plant; the sort of plant that people who manage urban forests and regional parks cite as an example of why herbicides must be used."



"For the general public, living on the margins of (or downstream from) urban forests, the use of glysophate and triclopyr seems not to be accepted at all. Tired of high-handed interventions into the earth’s ecological systems, they’re perhaps protesting not only an intentionally toxic process, but also the seemingly endless interference, or management, of meddlesome humans. When will the earth be left to itself? Craig looked at the star thistle disgustedly. We walked on.

We entered the south ridge, project area number one. The south ridge has been thinned not once but twice; first in the 1930’s when the Works Progress Administration employed local men to log the eucalyptus grove, (there was a mill on Seventh Avenue and Clarendon) and again in 1954 to make room for a new Nike Missile radar base. “These trees are 58 years old,” said Craig and they look it: epicormic shoots sprout weirdly from the sides of the trees, evidence of logging, military installations and the most common method of thinning, fire. There have been seven fires in the reserve since the late 1800’s. The largest, in 1899, burned 60 acres, practically the entirety of the reserve. Another fire in 1935 burned ten acres and took 400 firemen to extinguish. Mount Sutro, with its wet western perimeter and persistent fog, is not exempt from California’s fire ecology. In California, everything can burn."



"In the battle to understand and manage the future, one fire regime tends to gets pitted against another. Chaparral is dangerous, say the critics of the UCSF forest management plan. Grasslands are dry. Coastal scrub doesn’t harvest fog or moisten the soil as efficiently as eucalyptus trees do. Eucalyptus trees explode, counter indignant Californians weary of hearing their native plant communities maligned. They increase the fuel loads to dangerous levels. They hog water. They perpetuate a mistaken vision of beauty for California: one that lionizes imported trees, while the glory of California’s coastal scrub and chaparral gets denigrated as dangerously “dry” brush with little or no regard for the astonishing amount of biodiversity it promotes. But the words of Andy Hubbs resolve this argument: “Everything burns,” he said. Eucalypts, native chaparral, southern coastal scrub communities, and the type of maritime coastal scrub/chaparral plant community that once grew on the hills in San Francisco- all of it.

In California, everything burns.

As Craig and I walked through the south ridge, the change in ambient moisture was abrupt. Minutes before the air had been fairly dry. Now dripping water fell everywhere. We were in the fabled “cloud forest” of Mount Sutro, standing in fog so thick that there was nothing to be seen but tree after tree, shrouded in whitish-grey mist. “You should be able to see the Marin Headlands from here,” said Craig. I felt like a ghost standing there. There’s an odd lack of “place” on Mount Sutro, a landmark isolated from its cousin landmarks, the Marin Headlands, the sea, and the southern reaches of the San Miguel Hills. There is no context to widen the understanding of what you’re standing on, no chance to compare the hill with other hills, bluffs and beaches. There is no way to appreciate the contiguity of the coastal ridge that runs from Point Reyes down the peninsula. One is forced to consider only the spindly trees and the shrouding fog. We walked back to the parking lot. Craig pointed to a eucalyptus tree. “See that? That’s what a healthy euc looks like,” he said. I looked at it and saw what I’d been looking at my whole life, in paintings or in windbreaks that edge the 101 freeway: a magnificent tree with a truck the color of pale ivory and a crown of dark green leaves radiating horizontally from the branches. It was the very picture of edenic California, lovely, healthy and serene.

We love what we know. Perhaps California’s native plant landscape is not … [more]
mountsutro  sanfrancisco  history  classideas  blackberries  plants  trees  eucalyptus  elizabethcreely  trails  forestknolls  midtownterrace  clarendonheights  innersunset  nature  ivy  ravens  ecology  craigdawson 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Final Boss Form — faeralyn: Metsänpeitto is a phenomenon found in...
"Metsänpeitto is a phenomenon found in Finnish folklore. It was used to describe people or domestic animals who went missing in nature for unexplained reasons.

People “covered by forest” were described as not being able to recognize the terrain around them, even if they were on familiar grounds. In other cases they might have walked endlessly through unfamiliar terrain, or were rendered completely paralyzed, unable to move or speak. Unnatural silence devoid of the sounds of nature was also common.

People or animals under the influence of the phenomenon were described as becoming either completely invisible to other people, or looking like part of the nature around them, like a rock. In one story a man had been looking for a missing cow for days. When he finally gave up and returned to his work, the first tree stump he struck with his axe transformed back into his cow.

The cause behind metsänpeitto was usually credited to maahinens, who were small humanoid creatures living underground (usually translated to English as “gnomes”). Some people managed to free themselves from metsänpeitto by their own means, for example by turning their jacket inside out, by switching their shoes to the wrong feet, or by looking between their own legs. This was because of the idea that everything was topsy-turvy in the lands of the maahinens. Some were released seemingly without reason, others only after being sought after by a shaman. Some were never seen again."
words  finnish  suomi  gnomes  invisibility  multipsecies  morethanhuman  nature  plants  animals  forests  rocks  missing  disappearance 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Sally-Ann Spence on Twitter: "Tucked away in a drawer in @morethanadodo's entomological collection there is a little unassuming brown note book. In it observations are en… https://t.co/JFVpu2rmRo"
"Tucked away in a drawer in @morethanadodo's entomological collection there is a little unassuming brown note book. In it observations are entwined with a fleeting moment of a very human story...
(thread)

Beautifully written by hand with meticulously pressed specimens, this book records the observations of leaf cutter bees in the summer of 1852

Each plant used by the bees that summer was recorded & pressed. It would have required hours of careful observations & every plant was individually researched to correctly identity it

Detailed notes on the bees nesting behaviour was also recorded & observed. Tubes were diligently made, carefully fixed to the wall & patient hours spent watching the insects at work...

There are many important things to be drawn from this little note book. Data on insect behaviour supported by plenty of evidence certainly, but also a story that resonates with so many today & is something we are examining & studying right now

William was an inmate of Hanwell Asylum, the first purpose-built public asylum for the pauper insane in England & Wales opened in 1831. A little note by the warden accompanying his notebook tells of the benefit of this personal project to William & other patients mental wellbeing

So here is an example of real entomological data, an historical object in itself, evidence that supports modern day research & a very human story all contained in the corner of a drawer in a museum within a little unassuming brown notebook.

There is quantifiable evidence that in our rapidly urbanising world spending time in natural areas immersing ourselves in nature has positive affects on our mental health. I believe William found this in that summer of 1852."
insects  plants  classdieas  leafpressing  science  1852  entomology  collections  observation  inmates  data  evidence  research  nature  sally-annspence 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture | San Francisco Botanical Garden
"The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture, established in 1972, is northern California's most comprehensive horticultural library. The library houses approximately 27,000 volumes and 350 plant and garden periodicals. The library collections cover all aspects of horticulture including gardening, garden design, botanical art, ethnobotany and pest management, with an emphasis on plants grown in Mediterranean and other mild temperate climates. The library also features a 2,000-volume children's botanical library, Sunday children's story time programs and botanical art exhibitions."
libraries  sanfrancisco  classideas  horticulture  botanicalgardens  plants  gardens  gardening  ethnobotany 
november 2017 by robertogreco
The Sun and Her Flowers | CBC Books
"this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year 
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom"
poems  poetry  life  teaching  sfsh  rupikaur  growth  plants  humans  human 
november 2017 by robertogreco
kimberly rose drew on Twitter: "Tadao Ando wall text at the National Art Center was some of the most beautiful text I've ever encountered in a museum. https://t.co/xopnThMZeo"
"Tadao Ando wall text at the National Art Center was some of the most beautiful text I've ever encountered in a museum."

[image:

"Buildings and plants are similar in the sense that they will wither if neglected. They will not grow unless they are attentively watered or maintained and carefully looked after. Architecture is thus an endeavor not only for those who create it but also for all the people who use and nurture it.

A project to create a building and a project to create a forest have the same meaning to me as they both involve engaging with a site and imbuing it with new value. The tree-planting programs that I have led over the years, such as the Hyogo Green Network, Setouchi Olive Fund, Heisei-Era Alley of Cherry Blossoms Campaign, and Umi-no-Mori (Sea Forest), have all been projects to nurture forests through planting trees one at a time using funds donated by the general public. In other words, they have been initiatives premised on community participation. For me, this is the most important thing about these projects.

There is only so much that we can do to solve the problems of the environment as creators of buildings. In the end, it all comes down to the awareness and sensitivity of each and every person living within it. Imagine if everyone saw their everyday surroundings as their own problem and took action in whatever small way they could. There could be no endeavor more creative or richer with possibilities than this. I believe that such visions that people to think freely beyond preconceptions and existing frameworks will be crucial for our future."
tadoando  kimberlyrosedrew  architecture  environment  2017  forests  trees  everyday  responsibility  wareness  surroundings  treeplanting  multispecies  plants  maintenance  growth  care  caring 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Diana Sudyka
"Diana Sudyka (pronounced soo-dee-kah) is a Chicago based illustrator. She started out by designing and screen-printing posters for musicians including: Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, The Black Keys, Neko Case, and The Decemberists. Examples this early poster work can be seen in Gigposters Volume 1: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century (Quirk Books). Following, she began illustrating YA books, illustrating several volumes of the award winning and NYTimes bestselling series The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, The Secret Keepers also by Stewart, and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. She is currently illustrating the first of several upcoming children’s picture books to be released in 2018 and 2019. Working mainly in gouache, ink and watercolor, subject matter and aesthetic choices for her paintings are largely informed by a deep passion for the natural world, and inspired by a love of various folk art traditions. When not working or with her family, she volunteers in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History bird lab. Her instagram feed sometimes has a disproportionate amount of pictures of lichens and moss."
multispecies  morethanhuman  art  illustration  artists  dianasudyka  nature  animals  plants 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Biolojical on Twitter: "An emoji represents how many species?
"An emoji represents how many species?
1 💃🐼🐩😺🦁🐯🐎🐄🐖🐪🐨🥑🍍🌽
2-10 🦍🐘🦏🌰🎃
11-100 🦌🐬🦊🐰🐹🐧🐊🥕🌷🍓🍎🍐🍒🍇🌻🍅🥝
101-1K 🐒🐭🐀🦉🕊️🐢🐡🦈🐙🦑🍁🌲
1K-10K 🦇🐦🦎🐍🐸🐞🦂🦐🦀🌵🌴
>10K 🐟🐌🐜🐝🦋🕷️🍄🌳🌱"
emoji  nature  internet  web  online  animals  plants  multispecies 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing - A Feminist Approach to the Anthropocene: Earth Stalked by Man - YouTube
"To take seriously the concept of the Anthropocene—the idea that we have entered a new epoch defined by humans’ impact on Earth’s ecosystems—requires engagement with global history. Using feminist anthropology, this lecture explores the awkward relations between what one might call “machines of replication”—those simplified ecologies, such as plantations, in which life worlds are remade as future assets—and the vernacular histories in which such machines erupt in all their particularity and go feral in counter-intentional forms. This lecture does not begin with the unified continuity of Man (versus indigenous ontologies; as scientific protocol; etc.), but rather explores contingent eruptions and the patchy, fractured Anthropocene they foster.

Anna L. Tsing is a Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, and the acclaimed author of several books including Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection and In the Realm of the Diamond Queen.

This Helen Pond McIntyre '48 Lecture was recorded on November 10, 2015 at Barnard College."
annalowenhaupttsing  2015  anthropocene  multispecies  morethanhuman  ecology  disentanglement  feminism  naturalhistory  anthropology  ecologies  plantations  capitalism  humans  entanglement  interdependence  animals  plants  trees  birds  farming  fordlandia  rubber  environment  hope  science  humanism  agriculture  annatsing 
september 2017 by robertogreco
terra0
"terra0 is a selfowning augmented forest. The project is meant to be an ongoing art project that strives to set up a prototype of an self utilizated piece of land. A forest has an exactly computable productive force; the market value of the overall output of the forest can be precisely calculated. Beside its function as a source of raw material, the forest also holds the role of service contractor. The terra0 project creates a scenario whereby the forest, augmented through automated processes, utilitizes itself and thereby accumulates capital. A shift from valorization through third parties to a self-utilization makes it possible for the forest to procure its real exchange value, and eventually buy itself. The augmented forest is not only owner of itself, but is thus in the position to buy more ground and therfore to expand.

A Forest on the Blockchain

"On the Blockchain no one knows you're a forest"

A smart contract on the Ethereum Blockchain controls the in- and outputs of the forest. Every six months a programme fetches satellite pictures of the property from a supplier outside of the Blockchain. With the help of self-written image-analysis software, the programme can determine how much wood can be sold without overly-diminishing the tree population. The smart contract acts according to contractually invariable rules. A rudimentary function makes it possible for the system to buy additional properties and thus to expand."
forests  trees  ownership  multispecies  plants  terra0  land  blockchain  art  rural  ruricomp 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Making of a Giant - bioGraphic
"Stretching hundreds of feet into the air presents some very real physical challenges. See how these massive trees have overcome gravity to become the giants of the forest."
trees  sequoias  giantsequoias  nature  plants  california  forests  2016  howthingswork 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Garden for the Environment
"Whether you are a beginning gardener, an urban farmer, or simply "ag-curious"
we have classes and training opportunities for you in our nationally acclaimed teaching garden."
gardens  sanfrancisco  gardening  plants  sustainability  community  activism  sfsh  classideas  innersunset  forestknolls 
september 2016 by robertogreco
The Parliament of Things: Into Latour and His Philosophy
"Researching the conversations between Things, Animals, Plants and People and design the House of The Parliament of Things."



"The Parliament of Things is a speculative research into the emancipation of animals and things. It acknowledges that mankind has reached the end of an anthropocentric world. We can no longer maintain the distorted dichotomy between culture and nature. We share this world with many. Law should not be centred around Men, but around Life. We are just one party, among all animals, plants and objects. What if we welcome all things into our Parliament? What would be the plight of the planet? The reasoning of a fish? What claims would trees make, and what future would oil see for itself?

Do you you want to join? Send us an e-mail: info@theparliamentofthings.org

We at Partizan Publik have invented the Parliament and are playing the role of clerk by bringing it to you. The writer’s contest was a collaborative project that was organized by several partners. In the winter and spring of 2016 we invite several organizations to build the Parliament with us."



"We Have Never Been Modern and the Parliament of Things

Introduction

In We Have Never Been Modern (1991) Bruno Latour criticizes the distinction between nature and society. He states that our sciences emphasize the subject-object and nature-culture dichotomies, whereas in actuality, phenomenons often cross these lines. As an example, he mentions the hole in the ozone layer, and the different ways the sciences should look at it: ‘Can anyone imagine a study that would treat the ozone hole as simultaneously naturalized, sociologized and deconstucted?’ (6). With this mentioning of the hole in the ozone layer (as well as, among other things, computer chips, Monsanto, and aids) he gives an example of things or phenomena that are not merely objects, but that are hybrids between nature and culture.

With regards to the title of this work, Latour argues that this dualism between subject and object is a ‘modern’ mode of classification, and that this modern mode does not actually correspond with the practical ways in which we live. Thus, this modern dualism actually has never existed: we have never been modern.

The Constitution

‘Modernity is often defined in terms of humanism, either as a way of saluting the birth of ‘man’ or as a way of announcing his death. But this habit itself is modern, because (…) [i]t overlooks the simultaneous birth of ‘nonhumanity’ – things, or objects, or beasts (…)’ (13)

In this chapter, the question at hand is about the constitution. ‘Who is to write the full constitution?’, Latour asks (14). For political constitutions, this is normally done by jurists and Founding Fathers; for the nature of things, this is the task of scientists. But, if we want to include hybrids as well, who is going to write the complete constitution?

Latour calls this complete constitution the ‘Constitution’ with a capital C, to distinguish it from the political one. It defines ‘humans and nonhumans, their properties and their relations, their abilities and their groupings’ (14).

Hobbes & Boyle

When discussing the separation between science and politics, Latour uses the dispute between Robert Boyle and Thomas Hobbes as an example. Boyle can be seen as the founder of modern science – he developed the methodology in which scientists observe a phenomenon produced artificially in a laboratory (in Boyle’s case, the workings of a vacuum pump, in our case, for example, CERN).

Hobbes, on the other hand, rejected this manner of analysis, and focused on theorizing social and political order in terms of human conflicts and agreements. ‘Boyle and Hobbes, then, jointly constructed the program for purifying the discourses of nature and society – expunging from each the traces of the other’ (Pickering). This distinction between science and politics is not just typical for ‘modernity’, but actually defines it, as Latour argues: ‘they are inventing our modern world, a world in which the representation of things through the intermediary of the laboratory is forever dissociated from the representation of citizens through the intermediary of the social contract’ (Latour 27).

Hybrids

Latour established that the modern constitution ‘invents a separation between scientific power charged with representing things and the political power charged with representing subjects’ (29). However, he states we should not think that subjects are far removed from things. Even though Hobbes and Boyle create this distinction, they still speak about the same things: God, the politics of the King of England, nature, mathematics, and spirits and angels, to name a few. It becomes clear that in practice, this separation between science and politics, and nature and culture, does not hold. As Latour states:

Here lies the entire modern paradox. If we consider hybrids, we are dealing only with mixtures of nature and culture; if we consider the work of purification, we confront a total separation between nature and culture.’ (30)

The paradox of modernity, thus, is that we divided the world into two groups –

nature (science) and culture (politics) – but at the same time, in our daily lives, we constantly deal with hybrids between these two groups. But this division renders ‘the work of mediation that assembles hybrids invisible, unthinkable, unrepresentable’ (35). As Latour succinctly puts it: ‘the modern constitution allows the expanded proliferation of the hybrids whose existence, whose very possibility, it denies’ (35).

We Have Never Been Modern

‘Modernity has never begun’, Latour argues. Instead, he calls himself a ‘nonmodern’: ‘A nonmodern is anyone who takes simultaneously into account the moderns’ Constitution and the population of hybrids that that Constitution rejects and allows to proliferate’ (47). He states that hybrids – also called monsters, cyborgs, tricksters – are ‘just about everything; they compose not only our own collectives but also the others, illegitimately called premodern’ (47). So only minor changes separate our era from the periods that were before, Latour states.

Revolution

In this part, Latour discusses the action that has to be undertaken to acknowledge the existence and the importance of hybrids:

When the only thing at stake was the emergence of a few vacuum pumps, they could still be subsumed under two classes, that of natural laws and that of political representations; but when we find ourselves invaded by frozen embryos, expert systems, digital machines, sensor-equipped robots, hybrid corn, data banks, psychotropic drugs, whales outfitted with radar sounding devices, gene synthesizers, audience analyzers, and so on, when our daily newspapers display all these monsters on page after page, and when none of these chimera can be properly on the object side or on the subject side, or even in between, something has to be done. (50)

Latour calls for the need to outline a space that encompasses both the practice of purification as well as that of mediation. ‘By deploying both dimensions at once, we may be able to accomodate the hybrids and give them a place, a name, a home, a philosophy, an ontology and, I hope, a new constitution’ (51).

Quasi-Objects

Latour tries to locate the position of hybrids, quasi-objects and quasi-subjects by first problematizing the status of the social scientist. He argues that the social scientist, on the one hand, shows that ‘the power of gods, the objectivity of money, the attraction of fashion (…)’ have no intrinsic value, but ‘offer only a surface for the projection of our social needs and interests’ (52). To become a social scientist, Latour states, ‘is to realize that the inner properties of objects do not count, that they are mere receptacles for human categories’ (52).

On the other hand, social scientists also debunk the belief in the freedom of the human subject: they show how the ‘nature of things (…) determines, informs and moulds’ humans (53). So, Latour states that the social scientist ‘see[s] double’:

In the first denunciation, objects count for nothing; they are just there to be used as the white screens on to which society projects its cinema. But in the second, they are so powerful that they shape the human society, while the social construction of the sciences that have produced them remains invisible. (53)

The solution to these contradictory beliefs is dualism, much to Latour’s disapproval. The nature pole is divided into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ parts, the same partition is made for the subject/society pole. ‘Dualism may be a poor solution, but it provided 99 per cent of the social sciences’ critical repertoire’ (54).

Latour, instead, states objects are society’s co-producters. ‘Is not society built literally – not metaphorically – of gods, machines, sciences, arts and styles?’ (54). He argues we should not focus too much on dialectics, as dialectics foreground the existing dichotomies; instead, he focuses on quasi-objects.

Quasi-objects are in between and below the two poles (…) [and] are much more social, much more fabricated, much more collective than the ‘hard’ parts of nature (…), [yet] they are much more real, nonhuman and objective than those shapeless screens on which society (…) needed to be ‘projected’. (55)

By focusing on the two poles rather than on that what is in between, ‘science studies have forced everyone to rethink anew the role of objects in the construction of collectives, thus challenging philosophy’ (55).

Relativism

In this chapter, Latour treats the function of anthropology and the role it might be able to play, as well as the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry. If anthropology is to become symmetrical, ‘the anthropologist has to position himself at the median point where he can follow the attribution of both nonhuman and human properties’ (96).

To analyse this new field of study, anthropology … [more]
multispecies  objects  plants  animals  brunolatour  robertboyle  thomashobbes  hybrids  modernity  nonmodern  modern  quasi-objects  law  biology  anthropology  entertainment  science  architecture  campainging  literature  things  theparliamentofthings 
april 2016 by robertogreco
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I... | OLIVIA C.
"After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
Questions.

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost."

—Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.” I think this poem may be making the rounds, this week, but that’s as it should be. "
community  humanity  poetry  poems  naomishihabnye  sacraments  food  cookies  plants  communing  traditions  travel  language  communication  alburquerque 
february 2016 by robertogreco
German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too - The New York Times
"Reading up on the behavior of trees — a topic he learned little about in forestry school — he found that, in nature, trees operate less like individuals and more as communal beings. Working together in networks and sharing resources, they increase their resistance.

By artificially spacing out trees, the plantation forests that make up most of Germany’s woods ensure that trees get more sunlight and grow faster. But, naturalists say, creating too much space between trees can disconnect them from their networks, stymieing some of their inborn resilience mechanisms.

Intrigued, Mr. Wohlleben began investigating alternate approaches to forestry. Visiting a handful of private forests in Switzerland and Germany, he was impressed. “They had really thick, old trees,” he said. “They treated their forest much more lovingly, and the wood they produced was more valuable. In one forest, they said, when they wanted to buy a car, they cut two trees. For us, at the time, two trees would buy you a pizza.”

Back in the Eifel in 2002, Mr. Wohlleben set aside a section of “burial woods,” where people could bury cremated loved ones under 200-year-old trees with a plaque bearing their names, bringing in revenue without harvesting any wood. The project was financially successful. But, Mr. Wohlleben said, his bosses were unhappy with his unorthodox activities. He wanted to go further — for example, replacing heavy logging machinery, which damages forest soil, with horses — but could not get permission.

After a decade of struggling with his higher-ups, he decided to quit. “I consulted with my family first,” said Mr. Wohlleben, who is married and has two children. Though it meant giving up the ironclad security of employment as a German civil servant, “I just thought, ‘I cannot do this the rest of my life.’”

The family planned to emigrate to Sweden. But it turned out that Mr. Wohlleben had won over the forest’s municipal owners.

So, 10 years ago, the municipality took a chance. It ended its contract with the state forestry administration, and hired Mr. Wohlleben directly. He brought in horses, eliminated insecticides and began experimenting with letting the woods grow wilder. Within two years, the forest went from loss to profit, in part by eliminating expensive machinery and chemicals.

Despite his successes, in 2009 Mr. Wohlleben started having panic attacks. “I kept thinking, ‘Ah! You only have 20 years, and you still have to accomplish this, and this, and that.’” He began therapy, to treat burnout and depression. It helped. “I learned to be happy about what I’ve done so far,” he said. “With a forest, you have to think in terms of 200 or 300 years. I learned to accept that I can’t do everything. Nobody can.”

He wanted to write “The Hidden Life of Trees” to show laypeople how great trees are.

Stopping to consider a tree that rose up straight then curved like a question mark, Mr. Wohlleben said, however, that it was the untrained perspective of visitors he took on forest tours years ago to which he owed much insight.

“For a forester, this tree is ugly, because it is crooked, which means you can’t get very much money for the wood,” he said. “It really surprised me, walking through the forest, when people called a tree like this one beautiful. They said, ‘My life hasn’t always run in a straight line, either.’ And I began to see things with new eyes.”"
trees  peterwohlleben  2016  nature  plants  networks  forests  germany  resistance  resources  interconnectedness  interdependence  naturalists  resilience  interconnected  interconnectivity 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Rings – BLDGBLOG
"In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.

“From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible,” the CBC explained back in 2008, “but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them.”
Since they were discovered on aerial photos about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters… Astronomers suggest the rings might be the result of meteor strikes. Prospectors wonder whether the formations signal diamond-bearing kimberlites, a type of igneous rock.

While it’s easy to get carried away with visions of supernatural tree rings growing of their own accord in the boreal forests, this is actually one of the more awesome examples of where the likely scientific explanation is also significantly more interesting than something more explicitly other-worldly.

Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”

Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.

One of many things worth highlighting here is this suggestion that the trees are being influenced from below by ambient electrochemical processes in the soil, set into motion by the region’s deep geology:
Hamilton was testing an analytical technique over a Matheson gold deposit to determine if there was any kind of geochemical surface signal. To his surprise, there were signals coming through 30 to 40 metres of glacial clay.

“We’re thinking there’s no way metals can move through clay 10,000 years after glaciation.”
After ruling out transport by ground water, diffusion and gas, he theorized it had to have been lifted to surface on electrical fields.

He applied the same theory to forest rings and discovered that they were also giant negatively charged cells.

Any source of negative charge will create a forest ring.

In landscape architecture terms, a forest ring—which Hamilton describes [PDF] as “a plant assemblage that is different from the surrounding forest making the features visible from the air”—could be seen as a kind of indirect electrochemical garden taking on a recognizably geometrical form without human intervention.

In effect, their shape is expressed from below. For ambitious future landscape designers, note that this implies a potential use of plantlife as a means for revealing naturally occurring electrical networks in the ground, where soil batteries and other forms of terrestrial electronics could articulate themselves through botanical side-effects.

That is, plant a forest; come back after twenty years; discover vast rings of negative electrochemical charge like smoke rings pushing upward from inside the earth.

Or, of course, you could reverse this: design for future landscape-architectural effects by formatting the deep soil of a given site, thus catalyzing subterranean electrochemical activity that, years if not generations later, would begin to have aesthetic effects.

But it gets weirder: as Hamilton’s fieldwork also revealed, there is a measurable “bulge in the water table that occurs over the entire length of the forest ring with a profound dip on the ring’s outer edge.” For Hamilton, this effect was “beyond science fiction,” he remarked to the trade journal Northern Ontario Business, “it’s unbelievable.”

What this means, he adds, is that “the water is being held up against gravity” by naturally occurring electrical fields.

Subsequent and still-ongoing research by other geologists and geochemists has shown that forest rings are also marked by the elevated presence of methane (which explains the “stunted tree growth”), caused by natural gas leaking up from geological structures beneath the forest.

Hamilton himself wrote, in a short report for the Ontario Geological Survey [PDF], that forest ring formation “may be due to upward methane seepage along geological structures from deeper sources,” and that this “may indicate deeper sources of natural gas in the James Bay Lowlands.”

These forest rings might also be surface indicators of diamond pipes and coal deposits, meaning that, given access to an aerial view, you can “read” the earth’s biosphere as a living tissue of signs or symptoms through which deeper, non-biological phenomena (coal, diamonds, metals) are revealed.

Even better, these electrochemical effects stop on a macro-scale where the subsurface geology changes; as Hamilton points out [PDF], the “eastward disappearance of rings in Quebec occurs at the north-south Haricanna Moraine, which coincides with a sudden drop in the carbonate content of soils.”

If you recall that there were once naturally-occurring nuclear reactors burning away in the rocks below Gabon, then the implication here would be that large-scale geological formations, given the right slurry of carbonates, metals, and clays, can also form naturally-occurring super-batteries during particular phases of their existence.

To put this another way, through an accident of geology, what we refer to as “ground” in northern Ontario could actually be thought of a vast circuitboard of electrochemically active geological deposits, where an ambient negative charge in the soil has given rise to geometric shapes in the forest.

In any case, there is something pretty incredible about the idea that you could be hiking through the forests of northern Ontario without ever knowing you’re surrounded by huge, invisible, negatively charged megastructures exhibiting geometric effects on the plantlife all around you.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about the future of the “sacred grove” for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, based on a paper called “The sacred groves of ancient Greece” by art historian Patrick Bowe. I mention this because it’s interesting to consider the forest rings of northern Ontario in the larger interpretive context of Bowe’s paper, not because there is any historical or empirical connection between the two, of course; but, rather, for the speculative value of questioning whether these types of anomalous forest-effects could, under certain cultural circumstances, carry symbolic weight. If they could, that is, become “sacred groves.”

Indeed, it is quite thrilling and strange to imagine some future cult of electrical activity whose spaces of worship and gathering are remote boreal rings, circular phenomena in the far north where water moves against gravity and chemical reactions crackle outward through the soil, forcing forests to take symmetrical forms only visible from high above."
plants  nature  geoffmanaugh  2016  forests  canada  ontario  forestrings  plantlife  trees  watertable  geology 
january 2016 by robertogreco
hillary fayle
"I use found botanical material such as leaves, seedpods, and branches to explore human connection to the physical world. By combining these organic objects with the rich traditions of needlecraft, I bind nature and the human touch. Both tender and ruthless, this intricate stitch work communicates the idea that our relationship with the natural world is both tenuously fragile and infinitely complex.

The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world. What I do is about elevating details. It is about noticing cycles and connections. It is about regarding a familiar object in a new way. It’s about seeing things and considering their connection to you, their potential futures and possible pasts. There is a depth and an importance to what is present, and what is absent. Invisible narratives are woven into and around each piece, each interaction. As I gather materials with which to work, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another. I am a cartographer, drawing and plotting an imaginary map, from one object to the next, intervening with each. These objects naturally fit into categories, which relate to my own experiences, but also to their origins and how they came into my hands. The vertices of experience and the actual life trajectory of an object are what interest me the most; the points at which the object and I intersect.

I grew up in Western NY, and earned a BFA from Buffalo State College, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University."

[See also: http://www.hillarywfayle.com/ ]
embroidery  sewing  leaves  plants  glvo  hillaryfayle  art  trees 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Multispecies.net | A blog and resource hub for Multispecies Ethnography and Anthropology
"Emergent multispecies perspectives are currently challenging scholars to reconsider established approaches to pressing social, political, and environmental issues. With this in mind, we hope multispecies.net will provide a forum for creative thinking, critical commentary, and debate about relationships between humans and all other forms of life; animals, insects, plants, fungi, and microbes.

We welcome submissions which consider how humans shape, and are shaped by, relationships with other species, and which attend to the agency, subjectivity, and interests of life beyond human species bounds."
via:anne  multispecies  anthropology  ethnography  animals  nature  humans  society  environment  politics  insects  plants  fungi  microbes 
october 2015 by robertogreco
This Crazy Tree Grows 40 Kinds of Fruit - YouTube
"Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University, uses "chip grafting" to create trees that each bear 40 different varieties of stone fruits, or fruits with pits. The grafting process involves slicing a bit of a branch with a bud from a tree of one of the varieties and inserting it into a slit in a branch on the "working tree," then wrapping the wound with tape until it heals and the bud starts to grow into a new branch. Over several years he adds slices of branches from other varieties to the working tree. In the spring the "Tree of 40 Fruit" has blossoms in many hues of pink and purple, and in the summer it begins to bear the fruits in sequence—Van Aken says it's both a work of art and a time line of the varieties' blossoming and fruiting. He's created more than a dozen of the trees that have been planted at sites such as museums around the U.S., which he sees as a way to spread diversity on a small scale."

[See also:

“‘Tree of 40 Fruit’, A Hyper Hybrid Tree That Grows Over 40 Varieties of Heirloom Stone Fruits”
http://laughingsquid.com/tree-of-40-fruit-a-hyper-hybrid-tree-that-grows-over-40-varieties-of-heirloom-stone-fruits/

http://www.samvanaken.com/?works=tree-of-40-fruit
http://www.treeof40fruit.com/

"The Tree of 40 Fruit is an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees by contemporary artist Sam Van Aken. Each unique Tree of 40 Fruit grows over forty different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. Sculpted through the process of grafting, the Tree of 40 Fruit blossom in variegated tones of pink, crimson and white in spring, and in summer bear a multitude of fruit. Primarily composed of native and antique varieties the Tree of 40 Fruit are a form of conversation, preserving heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available." ]
fruits  trees  stonefruits  peaches  nectarines  plums  cherries  apricots  almonds  2015  art  samvanaken  plants  food  flowers  hybrids  grafting  orchards  fruit 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The man who grew a church from trees | Stuff.co.nz
"You'd think that with a passion for trees and an encyclopedic knowledge of them that Barry Cox would have enjoyed a long career in arboriculture.

Not so; before the age of 10 (too young to understand the criteria required for the top job at the Vatican), Barry wanted to be the Pope. Instead, he settled for the revered position of head altar boy in his home town of Shannon, in Horowhenua.

Barry thinks his appreciation for the architecture and pomp and ceremony of churches stems from his Italian ancestry. He fed this interest over many years touring New Zealand, Europe and America, often on a motorbike, studying the proportions, angles, heights and pitches of church roofs, walls and porticoes.

After planting more than 4000 trees on his 90ha dairy farm in the Waikato, Barry finally settled on a flat 1.2ha property near Cambridge. With a blank canvas, free-draining sandy loam and Mount Pirongia rising majestically in the distance, the climate, location and soil were ideal for growing specimen trees.

Connecting his love of trees with a desire for an income, Barry started Treelocations, a business that moves large trees (up to 6m tall) using a specially designed tree spade – a huge machine that resembles an apple corer. Mounted on the back of a truck, it works by digging down and under the tree to scoop up cleanly the whole plant, including its vast root ball.

There are only three such tree spades in use in New Zealand. "People know how much I love trees," says Barry, "so they call me when there are trees that would otherwise be cut-down or removed. I go and kind of rescue them."

Rehoming semi-mature trees has enabled Barry to accelerate the landscaping of his own property, giving it the look of a project 20 years in the making rather than just four years old.

Trading trees, growing and moving them for clients deepened Barry's connection and knowledge of them over time, reinforcing his decision to surround himself with these stately plants. Cue his next project."
trees  via:anne  churches  2015  plants 
july 2015 by robertogreco
This is What Happened When an Australian City Gave Trees Email Addresses | Smart News | Smithsonian
"Trees get fan mail and even write back to Melburnian residents"

"They provide shade, air to breathe, and an undeniable sense of grandeur. But would you ever write a letter to the tree? Officials in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that for many, the answer is a resounding yes — The Guardian’s Oliver Milman reports that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees in a bid to help identify damage and issues, they discovered that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.

The city is calling it “an unintended but positive consequence” of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. On their urban forest data site, Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to each of the city’s trees so it would be easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.

Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail to trees, complimenting their looks and leaves and telling tales of how they’d helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even write back.

The effort is part of a larger initiative to protect Melbourne’s 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. But it turns out that Melburnians have always been arboreal enthusiasts: the city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eucalyptus trees to “absorb bad gasses” emanating from a nearby manure depot."

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/07/when-you-give-a-tree-an-email-address/398210/ ]
australia  trees  internetofthings  email  2015  melbourne  plants  multispecies  iot 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Field Recordings by Gastropodcast
"Plants that can hear themselves being eaten. Microphone-equipped drones that eavesdrop on sick chickens. Lasers that detect an insect’s wing-beats from dozens of feet away.

In this James Bond-inspired episode of Gastropod, we listen to the soundtrack of farming, decode the meaning hidden in each squawk, moo, and buzz, and learn how we can use that information to improve our food in the future. Tune in now for this special broadcast of the barnyard orchestra!"

[via: https://digg.com/2015/field-music

"This is the first of a two-part series exploring the relationship between sound and food." ]
sound  fieldrecordings  plants  cows  insects  nature  science  farming  gastropod  nicolatwilley  cynthiagraber  food  multispecies  animals  animalwelfare  agriculture 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The sound of a plant dying of thirst › News in Science (ABC Science)
"That is the sound of a plant dying of thirst. Heartbreaking isn't it?

As a plant's water source dries out, small bubbles form in the xylem — the hollow strands that carry water from the soil to the leaves of vascular plants.

The recording was made 30 years ago by Dr Kim Ritman, using a very low-fi phone receiver with a pin soldered onto it to amplify the sound.

Ritman, who is now chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, spent a good part of his PhD poking the pin into leaf stems of plants and recording the clicks as bubbles formed. The idea was to see if the diameter of the xylem determined the frequency of the sound, and he found that the larger the xylem, the lower the clicking sound.

"In general, our hypothesis that larger conduits produced lower frequency signals and smaller units at the ultrasonic frequencies was supported", he writes in his study Acoustic Emissions from Plants: Ultrasonic and Audible Compared."
via:anne  plants  audio  sounds  botany  physics  nature  biology  kimritman 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Do trees communicate with each other? › Ask an Expert (ABC Science)
"Do trees communicate with each other?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

They might seem like the strong, tall and silent type, but trees actually communicate with each other.

Forest ecologist Dr Suzanne Simard, from the University of British Colombia, studies a type of fungi that forms underground communication networks between trees in North American forests.

Big old trees — dubbed 'mother trees' — are hubs in this mycorrhizal fungal network, playing a key role in supporting other trees in the forest, especially their offspring.

"If you're a mother and you have children, you recognise your children and you treat them in certain ways. We're finding that trees will do the same thing. They'll adjust their competitive behaviour to make room for their own kin and they send those signals through mycorrhizal networks," says Simard.

"We found that the biggest oldest trees had more connections to other trees than smaller trees. It stands to reason because they have more root systems," she says.

"So when a seedling establishes on the forest floor, if it's near one of these mother trees it just links into that network and accesses that huge resource network.""
trees  communication  plants  life  via:anne  2015  multispecies  suzannesimard  biology 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The roots of artistry | Harvard Gazette
"Artists eager to capture earth’s beauty know that Mother Nature often hides her wonders from easy view. But a clever new exhibit at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is bringing some of that organic beauty out of the shadows.

Rosetta Elkin’s “Live Matter,” organized in collaboration with Radcliffe’s Academic Ventures arts program and on display in Byerly Hall through May 29, transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary through a simple shift of perspective.

Visitors to Byerly’s Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery will get a rare look at the complex and creative architecture of plant life typically hidden underground. Suspended by an intricate latticework attached to the gallery ceiling is part of the mature root system of a white poplar, Populus alba in Latin

“I wanted to extract a root system in order to highlight its beauty,” said Elkin, assistant professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “The exhibition is taking a view on live matter, plants, trees, that is never taken.

“I hope people take away an appreciation for the aliveness of the plant world,” she added, “and the mystery.”

The section of the root system was delicately extracted from a poplar at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. Elkin worked closely with the arboretum staff, using an air spade (a tool that blasts away the soil with pressurized air while keeping the roots intact).

An artist whose preferred medium was silkscreen, Elkin’s 2-D fascination became 3-D once she discovered landscape architecture after college. From then on, she “couldn’t work without space.”

Her professional projects have involved large-scale ventures: master plans, vegetation research in North Africa, and even a green reimagining of the headquarters of China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange. But in such extreme urban or drought-affected environments, said Elkin, “It’s not about planting, but cultivating. It’s a very different set of operations, and it gave me a great appreciation for aliveness.”

Such big projects, which often involve large teams of architects and specialists, also gave her an appreciation for a smaller scale. For the past five years, she has turned to such projects for her installations. Her operating rule is: “Can I lift it? Can I move it? I need to be able to do the work myself.” For an installation at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum titled “Tiny Taxonomy,” Elkin offered up an inventory of some of the forest floor’s smallest plants for viewers to inspect at eye level.

Elkin hopes to shift the botanical narrative with her scaled-down approach to the seemingly ordinary. Scientific botany, with its measureable classifications, quantifiable data, simplification, and regularity, provides a “singular perspective that raises awareness of what we can do with plants, rather than what plants are actually doing,” notes her exhibit’s accompanying catalog.

Elkin is fascinated with the white poplar because of its capacity to clone itself endlessly. The tree sprouts its spindly root systems, consisting of long and fibrous fingers, in perpetuity. Its robust reproductive cycle makes it unpopular with homeowners, but it’s a botanical wonder to Elkin.

“This individual mother sends out roots not only to gain nutrients but also to reproduce,” Elkin said of the roughly 80-year-old poplar — still thriving in the arboretum — that yielded a part of its root system for the show. “Genetically, it’s exactly the same as the mother plant … it’s an everlasting, endless loop of the same kind of immortality of this plant that is just so successful that it tends to dominate.”

Elkin’s desire to shift people’s perspectives by highlighting the inherent beauty in living things is mirrored in her show catalog. Paired with images and text are comments and quotes from a range of scholars who “write with a deep appreciation for the aliveness of the plant.”

German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, naturalists Charles Darwin, Asa Gray, and others all wrote about plants, said Elkin, in a very different way than “capital-S science does.”

One of her favorite quotes appears at the beginning of the guide. It’s a line from the Austro-Hungarian botanist Raoul H. Francé, who wrote: “Form is but the track left by life.”

“It takes a particular kind of botanist,” said Elkin, “to write that line.”"
plants  trees  nature  poplars  2015  art  via:matthewbattles  rosettaelkin  roots 
may 2015 by robertogreco
How to Grow a Forest Really, Really Fast — TED Fellows — Medium
"A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. What if we could make the process happen ten times faster? Eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma’s figured out a way of growing native, self-sustaining forests anywhere in the world, with the efficiency of industrial processes. He tells us how.

*****

Back in 2008, I was an industrial engineer at Toyota in India, helping prepare assembly lines and dispatch systems for car manufacture. One day, a scientist named Akira Miyawaki came to the factory to plant a forest on Toyota’s campus. He gave a presentation on his methods, and I became so fascinated that I decided I wanted to learn how to plant a forest myself.

Miyawaki is quite famous, and very old; he’s now 87. He has planted around 40 million trees all over the world, and in 2006, he won the Blue Planet Prize, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the environmental field. His method’s based on what’s called “potential natural vegetation”— a theory that if a piece of land is free from human intervention, a forest will naturally self-seed and take over that land within a period of around 600 to 1,000 years, with the species that would be native and robust, and that would require no maintenance. Miyawaki’s methodology amplifies that growth process to establish a mature, native forest in ten years — ten times the normal rate of forests planted by humans.

Intrigued, I volunteered with Miyawaki and studied his methodologies, and then planted a forest of 300 trees of 42 species in a 93-square-meter plot in my back garden. It was such a success that I decided to quit the car industry to start Afforestt, a for-profit company devoted to planting native forests for all kinds of clients, from farmers to corporations to city governments.

Here’s how it works. It takes six steps.

1. First, you start with soil. We identify what nutrition the soil lacks.

2. Then we identify what species we should be growing in this soil, depending on climate.

3. We then identify locally abundant biomass available in that region to give the soil whatever nourishment it needs. This is typically an agricultural or industrial byproduct — like chicken manure or press mud, a byproduct of sugar production — but it can be almost anything. We’ve made a rule that it must come from within 50 kilometers of the site, which means we have to be flexible.

4. Once we’ve amended the soil to a depth of one meter, we plant saplings that are up to 80 centimeters high, packing them in very densely — three to five saplings per square meter.

5. The forest itself must cover a 100-square-meter minimum area. This grows into a forest so dense that after eight months, sunlight can’t reach the ground. At this point, every drop of rain that falls is conserved, and every leaf that falls is converted into humus. The more the forest grows, the more it generates nutrients for itself, accelerating further growth. This density also means that individual trees begin competing for sunlight — another reason these forests grow so fast.

6. The forest needs to be watered and weeded for the first two or three years, at which point it becomes self-sustaining. After that, it’s best to disturb the forest as little as possible to allow its ecosystem, including animals, to become established."

[via: https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/590778628419485698 ]
trees  forests  agriculture  environment  2015  plants  kareneng  shubhendusharma  rewilding  afforestation  geoengineering  afforestt  akiramiyawaki  india  toyota 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change? Trees - The Atlantic
"Between now and 2050, forests are one of our "most promising" geo-engineering tools."



"When people talk about technologies that might offset climate change, they often evoke not-yet-invented marvels, like planes spraying chemicals into the atmosphere or enormous skyscrapers gulping carbon dioxide from the clouds.

But in a new report, Oxford University researchers say that our best hopes might not be so complex.

In fact, they are two things we already know how to do: plant trees and improve the soil.

Both techniques, said the report, are “no regrets.” They’ll help the atmosphere no matter what, they’re comparatively low-cost, and they carry little additional risk. Specifically, the two techniques it recommends are afforestation—planting trees where there were none before—and biochar—improving the soil by burying a layer of dense charcoal.

Between now and 2050, trees and charcoal are the “most promising” technologies out there, it said.

It also cautioned, however, that these so-called “Negative Emissions Technologies” or NETs should only be seen as a way to stave off the worst of climate change.

“NETs should not be seen as a deus ex machina that will ‘save the day,’” its authors wrote. NETs should instead be seen as one of several tools to meet the international goal of avoiding climate change greater than 2 degrees Celsius. Another crucial tool is reducing emissions.

It’s a solution that makes sense, as forest management is one of the oldest ways that humans have shaped their environment. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native communities in the Americas had been burning forest fires for millennia to support the growth of desirable plants like blueberries and to manage ecosystems. British communities have long practiced coppicing, a tree-cutting technique that keeps forests full of younger trees.

In other words, humanity has been “geoengineering” with trees for a very long time. The authors of the Oxford report add that afforestation will need global support in order to be successful.

“It is clear that attaining negative emissions is in no sense an easier option than reducing current emissions,” it says (emphasis mine). “To remove CO2 on a comparable scale to the rate it is being emitted inevitably requires effort and infrastructure on a comparable scale to global energy or agricultural systems.”"
trees  climatechange  2015  robinsonmeyer  geoengineering  plants  history  soil  forests 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The magical Brassica oleracea plant
"The apples that you buy at the market are all from the same species of plant, Malus domestica. Within that species, there are 7,500 different varieties (or cultivars) of apples. The list of apple cultivars includes Red Delicious, Macoun, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and the like. They look and taste different but are all recognizable as apples.

Brassica oleracea is a species of plant that, like the apple, has a number of different cultivars. But these cultivars differ widely from each other: cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collard greens, and cauliflower. Nutty that all those vegetables come from the same species of plant."
cabbage  kale  broccoli  brusselssprouts  kohlrabi  collardgreens  cauliflower  food  vegetables  plants 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Scientists Seeking to Save World Find Best Technology Is Trees - Bloomberg Business
"Oxford University scientists, after a year of research, have determined the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and try to reverse global warming.

It’s trees.

They considered methods ranging from capturing emissions from factories and power stations to extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air, and adding lime to oceans to increase their absorption of the gas, a study released on Tuesday showed.

None were more promising than planting trees, or baking waste wood to form a type of charcoal that can be added to soil. Relative to other so-called Negative Emissions Technologies, afforestation and biochar are low-cost, have fewer uncertainties and offer other benefits to the environment, the research shows.

Policy makers need to work to increase their use as they are the most encouraging of the possibilities through 2050, the scientists wrote.

The study follows a report by the university in November that also found using geoengineering, like spraying sea salt or sulphate aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, won’t provide a “magic bullet” to combat global warming. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in April said extracting emissions may become necessary to curb global risks.

Deploying NETs by 2050 could help to draw 2.5 years of CO2 from the atmosphere, almost exclusively using afforestation, biochar and improvements to soil carbon, the university found.

Most other technologies are high cost, need large amounts of energy and have many uncertainties and challenges, it said. Using them isn’t easier than cutting emissions to start with.

Beyond 2050, it’s “conceivable” that NETs will have more potential and investments now are sensible in case they’re needed. Their deployment doesn’t mean “business as usual” and shouldn’t foster continued fossil-fuel use, the research shows."

[See also: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/02/the-best-technology-for-fighting-climate-change-trees/385304/
via:jbushnell  trees  climatechange  technology  science  nature  plants  geoengineering  2015 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Trees Returning Emails | Urban Forest Strategy - Broadsheet Melbourne - Broadsheet
"Did you know that you can email every single tree in the City of Melbourne – and they’ll write back?

Right now, you can log onto the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Visual map and email any tree you’d like within the council’s boundaries.

Yep, all 60,000 of them.

Each tree has a unique ID number and, theoretically speaking, each tree will get back to you. But don’t picture an elm sitting down in a special tree-friendly computer cafe – it’ll be council staff answering your messages (so behave, now).

“Some said we were wasting money, but the trees were always going to have individual ID numbers anyway. So it was only logical we’d assign the ID numbers to an email which connects these trees to the community,” says Melbourne city councillor, Arron Wood.

So far the messages have ranged from piss takes to genuine expressions of devotion. So, if you’ve ever used a tree to prop yourself up with on a night out, the world’s most liveable city is now giving you the chance to apologise the morning after.

The idea came about through the council’s Urban Forest Strategy, which was launched in 2007. It wants to make Melbourne a city within a forest. But converting this plan into action won’t be measured by a few emails. That’s just a way to get the public on board.

Melbourne is currently in the midst of a change that will affect most of the city’s streets, parks, and gardens. Emailing our trees is one way the council is trying to communicate this fundamental shift to all Melburnians."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/29/city-of-melbourne-prepares-to-see-some-emails-lovely-as-its-trees ]
trees  melbourne  internetofthings  iot  data  cities  environment  plants  natue  email 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Ursula K. Le Guin, Keynote 5/8/14 on Vimeo
[Starting at 7:00]

“My little talk is called “Deep in Admiration.” This conference is going to be thinking about how to think outside the mindset that sees the techno fix as the answer to all problems. Just this week, I heard a poet say that the essence of modern high technology is to consider the world as disposable: use it and throw it away. Well, we know that we don't need more infantile new technologies that demand throwing away all the old ones every Tuesday. We need adult rational technologies, old and new: pottery making, bricklaying, sewing, carpentry, solar power, sustainable farming. But after our long orgy of being lords of creation and texting as we drive, it's hard to stop looking for the next technofix. We have got to change our minds. To use the world well, we need to relearn our being in it, renew our awareness of belonging to the world. How do we go about it? That awareness seems always to have involved knowing our kinship as animals with animals. Darwin gave that knowledge a scientific basis and now both poets and scientists are extending our awareness of our relationship to creatures without nervous systems and to non-living beings, our fellowship as things with other things. Relationship among all things seems to be complex and reciprocal. It's always at least two way, back-and-forth. It seems as if nothing is single in this universe and nothing goes one way. In this view, humans appear as particularly lively, intense, aware nodes of relation in an infinite network of connections, simple or complicated, direct or hidden, strong or delicate, temporary or very long lasting, a web of connections infinite, but locally fragile, with and among everything, all beings, including what we generally class as things, objects.

Decartes and the behaviorists willfully saw dogs as machines without feeling. Is seeing plants without feeling a similar arrogance? We don't know. But one way to stop seeing trees or rivers or hills only as natural resources is to class them as fellow beings, kinfolk. I guess what I'm trying to do is subjectify the universe because look where objectifying it has got us. To subjectify is not to co-opt and colonize and exploit. Rather, if it's done honestly, it involves a great reach outward of the mind and the imagination. What tools do we have to help us make such a reach? Mary Jacobus, in a book called Romantic Things, wrote, “The regulated speech of poetry may be as close as we can get to such things, to the stilled voice of the inanimate object or the insentient standing of trees.” Poetry is the human language that can try to say what a tree or a rock or a river is, that is to speak humanly for it in both senses of the word for. A poem can do so by relating the quality of an individual relationship to a thing, a rock, a river, a tree, the relationship to or simply by describing the thing as truthfully as possible. Science describes accurately from outside and poetry describes accurately from inside, you could say. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the language of both science and poetry to save us from ignorant irresponsibility.”

[via: https://twitter.com/steelemaley/status/560283083430445057
"“To use the world well we need to relearn our being in it” -Le Guin http://vimeo.com/97364872 "]

[See also: “ARTS OF LIVING ON A DAMAGED PLANET”
http://anthropocene.au.dk/arts-of-living-on-a-damaged-planet/
https://vimeo.com/artsofliving

“Ursula K. Le Guin: Panel Discussion with Donna Haraway and James Clifford, 5/8/14”
https://vimeo.com/98270808

“Donna Haraway, "Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble", 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97663518

“Inhabiting Multispecies Bodies: Panel Discussion with Donna Haraway, Margaret McFall-Ngai, and Jenny Reardon, 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97663316

“On Damaged Landscapes: Panel Discussion with Kate Brown, Deborah Bird Rose, Eric Porter and William Cronon, 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/97852132

“Jens-Christian Svenning, "Future Megafaunas: A Historical Perspective on the Scope for a Wilder Anthropocene," 5/9/14”
https://vimeo.com/98751434 ]
ursulaleguin  plants  animals  art  2014  technosolutionism  via:steelemaley  things  objects  interconnectedness  interdependence  networks  systemsthinking  technology  jens-christiansvenning  donnaharaway  anthropocene  margaretmcfall-ngai  jennyreardon  katebrown  deborabirdrose  ericporter  williamcronon  jamesclifford  multispecies  objectification  subjectification  fellowahip  kinship  poetry  science  religion  morality  compassion  henryvaughn  maryjacobus  nature  humans  humanism  responsibility  environment  universe  interconnected  interconnectivity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Grow Your Own Indigo — Graham Keegan
"Indigo pigment grows naturally in the leaves of a large number of plant species from around the world. This plant, Persecaria Tinctoria, also know as Polygonum Tinctorum, has been a staple source of blue in East Asia for millenia. It is known for being relatively easy to grow. All it needs is lots of sunshine, plenty of water, and some food.

As an experiment, I've germinated a bunch of indigo seeds and want to get the seedlings into as many people's hands as possible! I hope to spread the wonder about the fact that color can be grown, to raise the consciousness of humanity's original sources of pigment, and to get people to exercise their thumbs, green or otherwise!

The pigment can be extracted from the mature leaves and used to dye all types of natural fibers. As the season goes on, I'll be posting harvest and processing instructions, as well as invitations to two separate harvest parties where we pool our collective leaves and do some dyeing!

These seedlings will be available for pickup from my workshop in Silver Lake (Los Angeles, CA) from June 6-8, 2014 (10 AM - 2 PM Daily). They will be ready to be (and should be) transplanted ASAP. I will also have a limited number of growing kits available for purchase for apartment dwellers that will include a suitable pot, soil, and plant food ($12) There is no charge to adopt an indigo seedling. However you must sign the pledge poster to properly care for your plant (pictured below) in order to receive your indigo seedling. You will also receive a copy of the poster to hang in a prominent place in your home, lest you forget about your little baby!

There are a limited number of seedlings available. Please reserve yours by filling out the form below.

For those of you not able to pick up a seedling here in Los Angeles, I am willing to experiment with shipping them directly to you in the mail for the cost of postage. I have zero real world experience with this but have been reading up on the process and believe that it is possible. There is no guarantee that the plants will arrive alive, but I'll do all that I can on my end to ensure safe travel!

Remember, this is an experiment! If we fail this year, we'll try again next year!

Please grow along with me!

Graham"
glvo  dyes  indigo  shibori  plants  grahamkeegan  gardening  losangeles 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Selin Jessa on Twitter: "Phrases, lately: (0. "bits of poetry stick to her like burrs" Jenny Offill's Dept. Speculation)"
"Phrases, lately: (0. "bits of poetry stick to her like burrs" Jenny Offill's Dept. Speculation)"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549813158462775296

"i. "between kind wildness & wild kindness" @mojgani, https://twitter.com/mojgani/status/548544254339846144 …"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549813370346405888

"ii. "a practice of worlding" http://thomvandooren.org/2014/07/19/care-some-musings-on-a-theme/ …"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549813522259906561

"iii. "craftmanship of knowing" Latour in Visualization and Cognition"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549813748819439617

"iv. "to bring the body back in" Towards Enabling Geographies, Chouinard (ed)"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549814454817280000

"v. "your bones as piccolos" http://poeticise.tumblr.com/post/73755575134/how-to-love-bats-by-judith-beveridge …"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549814682618302464

"vi. "the bone of the planet" a misreading of @alexismadrigal's 11/05 5IT"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549814925434966017

"vii. "each cell shimmying on its little mitochondrial hilt" Carson, Red doc >"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549815236123844608

"viii. "the tree unleafing" http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/18623/auto/TO-SPARENESS-AN-ASSAY …"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549815847921786881

"ix. "visitations of light" Ledgard, Submergence"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549815954545180672

"x. "May your listening be good!" http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/passerby-these-are-words …"
https://twitter.com/selinjessa/status/549816439117332480
selinjessa  language  phrases  jennyoffill  anismojgani  brunolatour  judithbeveridge  poetry  poems  alexismadrigal  redcarson  janehirshfield  jmledgard  submergence  yvesbonnefoy  verachouinard  thomvandooren  worlding  craftmanship  knowing  visualization  cognition  body  bodies  bones  biology  unleafing  plants  science  nature  light 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Trees | The Evergreen State College
"How do trees, and forest communities, function? What makes them tick? What determines the tallest trees in the world? What makes trees some of the oldest organisms on earth? These and many other questions about trees have captivated humans since the dawn of time. In this program we will closely examine trees in their variety of form and function. We will use our studies to learn how understanding of tree form and function integrates study of botany, mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography and ecology.

Our studies will be divided between those that focus on individual trees, forests and whole forests. We will also read classic and recent texts about human interactions with trees and how our relationships to trees still help shape our collective identities and cultures. Students will learn how to read and interpret recent scientific studies from peer-reviewed journals and be challenged to reconcile popular belief about the roles of trees with scientific observations. Day trips, workshops, labs and a multiple-day field trip will allow us to observe some of the largest trees on the West Coast and observe and measure trees in extreme environments. Communication skills will be emphasized, particularly reading scientific articles and writing for scientific audiences. We will also practice skills for communicating to a broader public using nonfiction and technical writing."
evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  biology  botany  environment  environmentalstudies  naturalhistory  riting  fieldstudies  forestry  trees  plants  ecology  naturalscience  science  dylanfischer 
september 2014 by robertogreco
The Multispecies Salon | a companion to the book
"A novel approach to writing culture, multispecies ethnography, has come of age. Plants, animals, fungi, and microbes are appearing alongside humans in novel accounts of natural and cultural history. Anthropologists have collaborated with artists and biological scientists to illuminate how diverse organisms are entangled in political, economic, and cultural systems. Delectable mushrooms flourishing in the aftermath of ecological disaster, microbial cultures enlivening the politics and value of food, and emergent life forms running wild in the age of biotechnology all figure in to this curated collection of written prose and artifacts.

Coming on October 17th with Duke University Press.

Recipes provide instructions on how to cook acorn mush, make cheese out of human milk, and enliven forests after they have been clear-cut. The Multispecies Salon investigates messianic dreams, environmental nightmares, and modest sites of biocultural hope."
art  multispecies  multispeciesethnography  ethnography  via:anne  anthropology  biotechnology  animals  plants  2014  books  food  landscape  life 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Exploring the Faroe Islands, a Modern-Day 'Land of the Lost' - Bon Appétit
"He seemed upbeat for a guy who’d just lost his job, but then I remembered the day he drove me around, introducing me to his world: pointing out a field where a farmer had been trying, for years, to grow him carrots; visiting the potter who made his plates; noting a brewery that was trying to grow its own grain. And, every so often, he pointed out someone in a passing car: “There goes the hotel florist.” “There goes the nephew of a famous artist.” “There goes the son of a Faroese language expert, who calls me every time I’m on the radio to tell me how many things I said wrong.”

I kept thinking about how hard it must be to work in such a small place, but the sense of connectedness to the people every day must be what grounds him, too. Or maybe grounds is the wrong word. On that day, we stopped at the village of Gjógv, where, just beyond where the land meets the North Atlantic, the water goes down so far locals call it “The Deepness.” The colors of the houses—peach and pink and pastel blues and black—popped against the grass. Before us was grinding water and gasping wind; behind us, the land slashed up toward the clouds.

It’s the kind of place that makes you realize the earth is so much bigger than you can ever imagine. At some point, it dawns on you that there are no trees, no woods to get lost in: nothing to block your sight. It makes you think you can go right up to anything you see and touch it. It feels a little bit like floating. You feel a little bit magical, like anything is possible. And I wonder if that, too, is what keeps Sørensen going."
food  faroeislands  renéredzepi  noma  denmark  leifsørensen  place  nature  plants  travel  small  slow  slowfood  local  connectedness 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Trees That Miss The Mammoths | American Forests
"Trees that once depended on animals like the wooly mammoth for survival have managed to adapt and survive in the modern world."



"Warning: Reading this article may cause a whiplash-inducing paradigm shift. You will no longer view wild areas the same way. Your concepts of “pristine wilderness” and “the balance of nature” will be forever compromised. You may even start to see ghosts.

Consider the fruit of the Osage-orange, named after the Osage Indians associated with its range. In the fall, Osage-orange trees hang heavy with bright green, bumpy spheres the size of softballs, full of seeds and an unpalatable milky latex. They soon fall to the ground, where they rot, unused, unless a child decides to test their ballistic properties.

Trees that make such fleshy fruits do so to entice animals to eat them, along with the seeds they contain. The seeds pass through the animal and are deposited, with natural fertilizer, away from the shade and roots of the parent tree where they are more likely to germinate. But no native animal eats Osage-orange fruits. So, what are they for? The same question could be asked of the large seed pods of the honeylocust and the Kentucky coffeetree.

To answer these questions and solve the “riddle of the rotting fruit,” we first need to go to Costa Rica. That is where tropical ecologist Dan Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania noticed that the fruits of a mid-sized tree in the pea family called Cassia grandis were generally scorned by the native animals, but gobbled up by introduced horses and cattle. Janzen, who received the Crafoord Prize (ecology’s version of the Nobel) for his work on the co-evolution of plants and animals, had the idea that the seeds of Cassia grandis, and about 40 other large-fruited Costa Rican trees, were adapted to be dispersed by large mammals that are now extinct. He teamed up with Paul Martin, a paleoecologist at the University of Arizona, to develop the concept of ecological anachronisms.

An anachronism is something that is chronologically out of place: a typewriter or floppy disc in a modern office. Leather helmets at the Super Bowl. Or, hopefully, the internal combustion engine in the near future. An ecological anachronism is an adaptation that is chronologically out of place, making its purpose more or less obsolete. A tree with big fruits to attract huge mammals as dispersers of its seeds is anachronistic in a world of relatively small mammals.

In the case of Cassia grandis, Janzen and Martin figured that the foot-long woody seed pods were eaten for their sweet pulp by giant ground sloths and elephant-like gomphotheres. These multi-ton animals had such big gullets that they didn’t need to chew a lot, so most of the seeds passed through the animals unharmed and ready to propagate more Cassia grandis trees. However, the gomphotheres and giant groundsloths disappeared about 13,000 years ago, toward the end of the last Ice Age of the Pleistocene.

Gomphotheres and ground-sloths? The Ice Age? What, you may be wondering, do they have to do with Osage-oranges, honeylocusts, and coffeetrees today?"



"Now let’s return to the forlorn fruit of the Osage orange. Nothing today eats it. Once it drops from the tree, all of them on a given tree practically in unison, the only way it moves is to roll downhill or float in flood waters. Why would you evolve such an over-engineered, energetically expensive fruit if gravity and water are your only dispersers, and you like to grow on higher ground? You wouldn’t. Unless you expected it to be eaten by mammoths or ground-sloths.

According to my field guide, Osage-orange has a limited natural range in the Red River region of east-central Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and adjacent Arkansas. Indians used to travel hundreds of miles for the wood, prized as the finest for making bows. Then European settlers planted it widely as living fences, taking advantage of the tree’s ability to spread via shoots from lateral roots. But Osage-orange persisted, and became widely naturalized long after the invention of barbed wire rendered them useless to farmers. The tree can now be found in 39 states and Ontario. If Osage-orange does so well elsewhere, why was it restricted to such a small area?

The answer likely lies in the disappearance of its primary disperser. Without mammoths, groundsloths, and other megafauna to transport its seeds uphill, the range of the species gradually shrank to the Red River region. In fact, fossils tell us that Osage-orange was much more widespread and diverse before the megafaunal extinctions. Back then, Osage-oranges could be found north up to Ontario, and there were seven, not just one, species in the Osage-orange genus, Maclura."



"Today, the evidence of human impact is all around us, but now we know that even the most pristine of wilderness areas have many missing pieces. We’ve learned to see the ghosts of the lost megafauna in the rotting fruit, poor dispersal, and useless thorns of Osage-orange, Kentucky coffeetree, honeylocust, and others. But what are we still missing?"



"The first Americans could not have known they were causing extinctions, and they could not have understood the implications. But we no longer have such an excuse. As Aldo Leopold has advised, “The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the pieces.” We have tinkered, lost some of the most important pieces, and tried to put many where they don’t belong. That we will continue to tinker there is no doubt. Everything will depend on how intelligently we do it. And that will depend, in part, on our ability to see the ghosts that haunt our trees."

[See also: http://scientopia.org/blogs/guestblog/2012/09/25/forgotten-fruits-or-megafaunal-dispersal-syndrome-and-the-case-of-the-missing-herbivores/ ]
ecology  evolution  via:vruba  whitbronaugh  animals  plants  mammoths  extinction  trees  mastadons  giantgroundsloths  anachronisms  iceage  pleistocene 
april 2014 by robertogreco
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