Wednesday, January 28, 2009

APLS in Eden: A Carnival of Nature

(Update: the carnival is now posted over at the Green Phone Booth)


Every month I look forward to reading the Affluent Persons Living Sustainably carnival. Topics in the past have ranged from the mechanics of buying locally to the ways we think about our children and future generations when we try to green up our lives. I've really been enjoying all the posts in the new January edition about the mind games we play as we try to live more sustainable lives.

I am honored to be the host for the February edition of the APLS carnival. The topic for the month will be NATURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

I think I must be the Last Parent in the World to read Richard Louv's excellent book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv's work is complex, thoughtful, and beautifully written. The author argues that a deep connection with nature leads to a calmer mind, a fitter body, and a more socially mature relationship with the world. Yet we are raising an entire generation with "denatured childhoods"--that is, childhoods where entertainment is more about electronic screens than it is about free play in the wild. Louv asked us to consider how these disconnected youngsters can ever become the good stewards of the land that we need in this era of environmental crisis.

I would love to see what connections you see between experiences in nature and your own efforts to live more sustainably.

What is "nature" in the first place? How is our experience of the natural world different in a place of awesome majesty (like the Grand Canyon), a place of more basic but still unstructured land like a local forest, and a more constructed outdoor space like a garden or park? What if we're just reading about an area we may never have seen, like a rainforest or a desert savanna?

What makes nature so powerful or meaningful? How has your experience with the natural world shaped your own environmentalism? Is love of the natural world an essential motivation for sustainability? Have you found ways to share a connection to nature with your loved ones, young and old?

To participate in February's carnival, please submit your posts to aplscarnival (at) gmail (dot) com by February 13. The carnival will be published at the Green Phone Booth on February 20.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Making Vinegar

My partner and our 9yo son went apple picking one gorgeous autumn day this fall. With their incredible harvest, we made crisps, baked apples, and apple sauce. We also dried hundreds of slices in the dehydrator. Some of them we packed up as holiday presents. Some we enjoyed as car snacks on our interminable winter drive to our families. And others we'll enjoy, cooked into pies, as the winter proceeds.

As we cut up the fresh apples in preparation for those treats, we put all the cores and skins and seeds in a big jar. When it was about two thirds full, I topped it up with water and then covered with a tea towel. The mixture stood on our indoor porch for a while, waiting for fermentation.

CONTINUED over at the Green Phone Booth

Friday, January 02, 2009

Eating Local on the Road

I've not been posting much recently about our efforts to eat locally, but that does not mean we haven't been doing it! At home, much of our diet is sourced locally--so much that we sometimes take it for granted. Quite often, we realize half way through a meal that all ingredients other than salt and pepper are local.

On the road, however, it is a little more difficult. Our two week vacation to visit our families has had a few local moments--including one of my favorite annual traditions: roasted oysters, gathered and prepared in coastal South Carolina where my parents are from. Delicious!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Begin It Now

Until one is committed there is hesitancy,

the chance to draw back,

always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation.

There is one elementary truth,

the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans;

That the moment one definitely commits oneself,

then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred.

A whole stream of events issue from the decision,

raising one’s favor, all manner of unforeseen incidents, and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you do, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.

(or not)


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