Friday, April 25, 2008

Beltane = Sunflower Planting Day!

Next Thursday is International Sunflower Guerilla Day! So all your wanna-be guerrilla gardeners, get out there and do some planting. Sunflowers grow very easily, just choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day (that bare patch by the bus stop? The neglected flower bed in front of the elementary school? Those big empty planter pots in the drugstore parking lot?)

Go forth and make the world beautiful! In London, where the Guerrilla Gardening website founder is based, he is giving away free seeds next week.

Sunflowers are beautiful, long-blooming and a great food source for birds!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day! I feel a rant coming on...

I both love and hate Earth Day. I am happy there is at least one day out of the year which attempts to remind all of us dumb, gluttonous, narcissistic Westerners that we really ought to pull our heads out of our asses and wake up to what is going on in the world around us. But at the same time, amid the raising of consciousness and awareness, I sense a smarmy helping of self-congratulatory glad-handing. I mean, how many people really are buying that the President is "green"? I believe it was Ronald Reagan (a stellar specimen embodying the greedy, thoughtless American stereotype) who had the solar panels installed by Jimmy Carter removed. Dubya has as much as said he thinks global warming is a fantasy.

And do we really believe all these goofy-ass green marketing ploys? I am sorry but I do not for a minute think that new cleaner from Clorox is devoid of harmful chemicals. It bugs the crap out of me that the company once known as ChemLawn is now known as TruGreen. Painting your factory a charming shade of avocado or olive does not mean you suddenly stopped making asbestos-flavored widgets and suddenly started making organic hemp-fiber thingamajigs. Although it'd be nice if that were true.

I sometimes get cynical about the idea that one person can make a difference. Those of us who reduce, reuse, recycle, try to reduce our carbon footprint, all that happy horseshit, we see how this whole global warming thing is going and we feel despair that no amount of composting, bottle returning, xeriscaping, thrift-shopping or other -ing meant to help Mother Earth is really going to make a damned bit of difference once Long Island, Los Angeles and Miami start sinking into the ocean. The polar bears have spoken. The bees are departing Dodge, and are no longer interested in pollinating plants to feed our fat, wasteful, sloppy, stupid asses any more. Las Vegas is running out of water, and there are still too many damn SUVs on the road. Trash lines the sidewalks and streets and mars the beauty of my walks in parks and woodlands. I want to strangle people but I usually just shrug, or cry (sometimes both).

But then I see a gorgeous spring day like today, full of promise and colorful blooms and sun-dappled shade, and, well, the cynicism melts away a tiny bit. And I have to believe there is a future, and I am willing to work for it. I am willing to admit I am one of many, many humans who fucked up along the way. And I am willing to be part of the solution.

Every Day is Earth Day, people. I think I wrote that a few years ago, in an article somewhere...ah, yes, here it is. Read it and weep. I did. For we are no closer today than we were then to solving the problem of how to protect the planet (and by extension ourselves) and undo the damage we have done. I honestly believe this is not about cycles and patterns of human evolution over the millennia. It is about too much, too many people, too fast. Speeding up our karma with alarming velocity. If anyone has any bright ideas, I am all ears.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Smog Makes Flowers Smell Less Sweet, Study Says

Well, duh.

But seriously, this article also discusses the possibility that smog may be one reason behind the decline in honeybees and other pollinators in some areas, since the flower scents are losing potency.

If the bees die, we die. It's pretty much that simple. No pollination means no plant growth. No plants means no food, among other things...oh yeah, and a lot less oxygen.

Now get on out there and use those SUVs for errands less than ten blocks away, everyody!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

White Stag Sighting!

The wonderful BBC News website reports on the sighting of a rare white stag in the Scottish Highlands...

Births of white animals are associated in some cultures with the End particular the White Buffalo Calf prophecies of Native Americans (Hopi I think, must check on that).

But in Celtic mythology, white or albino animals are not seen as portents of future trials, but expressions of magic and mystery, strange and rare occurrences to be seen as powerful and unique phenomenon. I believe there are stories of several heroes who see white deer and are given power towards their quests...

I have a friend named "Whitedeer" who got his name after an odd experience in the forest. As an angst-ridden teenager, he decided to commit suicide by "dying of exposure." Little did he know, this would take some time. So after several days of hunger, cold and impatience (not to mention boredom), he had made up his mind to go home when, awakening in the dawn mist, he saw a herd of female deer around him, some of them lying close by his side. After a few moments marveling at them, he realized that a herd this large must have a buck somewhere near. That is when he saw a huge stag...a solid white one. And it was apparently angry that my friend was cavorting with his females!

It is heartening to learn there are still white stags being sighted in Great Britain. Especially since last fall there was a horrifying story of a white stag killed and beheaded by poachers and left hanging from a tree in the Forest of Dean...the story link is here.