Nature Wants You to Stop Raking Leaves
We should let nature take back the yard.
Any reason not to rake the leaves is a good one in my book. However, the National Wildlife Federation writes, “Just let leaves stay where they fall.”
When homeowners let the leaves fall (and keep them there), a mini ecosystem begins to grow. Moth and butterfly species pass through the winter as pupae, taking shelter underneath fallen leaves. These insects in turn provide food for the birds once the snow begins to thaw.
Lawns are a marker of suburban America, but they take up a lot of space, like three times the space of irrigated corn. In a 2005 study, NASA reported that “[t]urf grasses, occupying 1.9 percent of the surface of the continental United States, would be the single largest irrigated crop in the country."
In a 2005 study, NASA reported that “[t]urf grasses, occupying 1.9% of the surface of the continental United States, would be the single largest irrigated crop in the country."
This space doesn't need to be mowed or raked. Lawns could be transformed into mini sanctuaries in suburban sprawls. Sarah Baker did just that on her one-acre plot just outside of Alexandria, Ohio. “A mowed lawn, put simply, is habitat loss,” she explained. “It’s a barren wasteland that provides no food or shelter for wildlife. It’s a virtual green desert.”
“Nature preserves and parks are not enough to fix the problem; much of wildlife is migratory and needs continuous habitat to thrive,” Baker wrote in a piece for The Washington Post. “Natural yards can act as bridges between the larger natural spaces.
Consider the bee. We're seeing die-off rates and colony collapses, and scientists aren't entirely sure why. As a way to help the bee, Norway's capital city, Oslo, created a “bee highway” along the rooftops. Beehives and flowers on the roofs of Oslo's buildings help give bees the food and shelter they need in order to survive the journey.
“We are constantly reshaping our environment to meet our needs, forgetting that other species also live in it,” Agnes Lyche Melvaer, head of the environmental group leading the bee highway project, said in an interview with The Guardian.
While I can appreciate a finely manicured lawn, we may need to let nature have its way or, at the very least, our back yard.
Mitchell Joachim describes the "non-future" of suburban sprawl and the need to rethink mobility in America: to uplift future-less locales and place them along moving, smart, renewable grids.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.
- The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
- But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
- Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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