Category: Nature

The Soil Solution | Climate Change

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 21, 2020

The many climate change solutions for lowering atmospheric carbon levels and keeping our children’s futures and lives safe, are all mapped out and well documented. The climate crisis is therefore more about the vast majority’s failure to implement, especially in America, rather than not knowing what to do to correct.

The most frustrating part about the startling failure to act, is how simple and easy the solutions are. Why so much resistance? Or is it more about apathy and procrastination?!

Let’s focus on the soil solution for a second. Soil stores 2x the amount of carbon than air and plants combined, British fungal network expert and author Merlin Shedrake outlines in his new book The Entangled Life, How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Shedrake passionately opens reader’s eyes to the hidden fungal mycelium network below our feet, pointing out that fungi are the “guts of the earth.”

Toxic fertilizers and pesticides destroy these vital, ecosystem-saving mycelium networks. While home and community composting preserves, strengthens and grows these networks enabling that much more carbon to be stored in our soil, as well as simultaneously supporting the good health of nature above ground.

Increasing the amount of nature grown above ground, increases the number of mycelium networks below the surface. The strategy is thus very clear and straightforward.

  • Home and community composting is imperative in maintaining healthy soil, begin today if you haven’t already started
  • Grow far more nature above ground; trees as well as shrubs, flowers, ground cover and window boxes
  • Don’t use toxic fertilizers or pesticides, instead choose one of the many organic alternatives

That’s it! These easy life-saving and game-changing steps in soil health are this simple. Let’s all begin TODAY! No procrastinating. 🌱

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Bartram’s Garden Philadelphia | Eco-Solutions

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 9, 2020

Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, founded nearly 300 years ago by botany pioneer John Bartram, a plant hunter, who trekked through the American wilderness in search of unique species not native to Philadelphia, and returned with seeds, trimmings and saplings to plant on his farm, eventually acquired species from all thirteen colonies. Bartram’s garden now contains more species than any other botanical garden in North America, and is the longest surviving botanical garden on the continent.

In 1787, during the Constitutional Convention, when James Madison was trying to pass the US Constitution and the small states were at odds with the big states, after weeks of heated debates an immovable stalemate evolved. In apparent despair, Madison inspired several of the naysayers to journey with him to Bartram’s Garden to walk around for a few hours, believing nature to be a great cure, especially for troubled minds.

Madison’s stroke of genius worked. When they returned to cast their votes, several who had been at Bartram’s Garden changed their votes and the US Constitution was passed.

Bartram’s Garden | Photography by Noreen Wise All Rights Reserved

Nature is one of the most effective climate change solutions, and can successfully battle climate’s most vicious side effects. Scientists refer to nature’s positive impact on climate change as ecosystem based adaptation.

Spending a day at Bartram’s Garden over the weekend, made me feel as inspired as Madison must have felt back at the beginning in 1787. Extensive acres of layers upon layers of nature’s most wondrous species. What better way to cure such a destructive enemy than to beautify every inch of our landscapes with as much nature as possible. Come on, America, we can do this. We must begin today.

The layering of all different tree heights, shrubs, flowers, ivy, and ground cover, not only captures carbon, but captures and inspires the human spirit to respect and protect our vital resources and our children’s futures. 🌳

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No More Natural Gas| Berkeley, CA

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 13, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It’s always the small things that make the difference in big transitional changes. So too with our transformation into renewable energy. If every household committed to replacing gas stoves and gas grills with electric in 2020, we’d be well on our way to converting our homes to solar and wind. Bloomberg Green’s recent article about this new trend highlights the pros and cons.

Realistically though, it’s all about taking the first step. We need to eliminate all fossil fuel usage including appliances. If we know that the elimination of fossil fuels is inevitable, (does anyone doubt that it is), then we should all immediately begin to replace easy to replace appliances. This is how progress is made. One step at a time.

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Last summer, Berkeley, California  became the first city in the United States to ban natural gas in new homes. The law was passed unanimously and went into effect January 1, 2020. Interestingly, Berkeley was also the first city in the United States to ban smoking in restaurants and public places back in 1977. There’s a saying in California: As goes Berkley, so goes California. Let’s be on the look out for more California cities to continue with this trend, creating the much needed momentum.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s Episode: What to do when the devil walks into your life.

Berkley of the East, Takoma Park, Maryland just passed a climate agenda in which they plan to become the first city in the United States to ban all fossil fuels. According to the Washington Post, the town’s 2020 Climate Emergency Response Act, was written in an effort to guide local officials in policy making in the upcoming years.

As always, the changing of the tides comes when one person, one town is willing to step boldly in the right direction. Thank you, Berkeley, California. May your small step with climate action be as successful as the revolution you kicked off when you banned smoking in 1977. Think of how many lives Berkeley saved. Cheers to the Butterfly Effect.🦋

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What’s the Wet-Bulb Temperature | Survivability Threshold

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 12, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

According to a recent report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the official wet-bulb temperature of 35ËšC (95ËšF)  is the maximum temperature the human body can successfully cool itself on its own to keep from overheating. Once we cross the survivability threshold into the danger zone, the combination of heat and humidity results in the skin’s inability to sweat fast enough to cool the body, and we can succumb to heatstroke within a few hours of being outside, which is potentially fatal.

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Bloomberg Green reports that there are several cities along the Gulf Coast that have already experienced this type of extreme condition, maximum heat combined with maximum humidity, and have repeatedly crossed into the danger zone. New Orleans is one such city. The concept of there being a survivability threshold that has already been reached in some parts of America, is almost unfathomable. Large populations live in these areas. If the conditions are unsurvivable, they’ll be forced to move. The injustice is maddening.

It always seems to be the same routine. A certain percent of the population disregards the warnings and recommended guidelines, and selfishly pursues material gain at the exclusion of everything else. This causes a negative ripple effect that impacts those of lesser means, with limited resources, resulting in a downward spiral for large segments of the population that involves further financial strain. The rich get richer, everyone else becomes more financially challenged, and climate change extremes increase, impacting an increasing number of vulnerable communities and  cities.

If we can’t immediately recognize that this is one of the most significant wake-up calls yet, there’s no hope. Everyone has to be all in on climate to save planet earth. If individuals aren’t self-motivated to make the necessary changes, then local, state and federal governments will have to force them. Period. 🌎

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Redesign of Products & Packaging for Zero Waste

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 11, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With an aggressive goal of zero waste in many personal products and detergents, new sustainability companies are blossoming, offering everyday essentials sold as solids instead of liquids, which can be packaged in paper or even more simply, without any packaging at all. One company in particular has an expansive zero waste product lineup, the Zero Waste Store.

Personal staples like shampoo and conditioner, and even laundry detergent, have begun capturing  consumer attention. Recycling has been a challenge during the stay home orders, resulting in stronger consumer awareness of just how much plastic packaging households toss out daily, and how quickly it accumulates in garages, closets and cars.

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I’m very particular in my preferences for personal products like shampoo and conditioner, and have been using one particular brand for many years. In fact, I have a huge crate of empty plastic shampoo and conditioner containers that I have to wash as soon as I have time. The problem is, I’ve become so busy that I never actually do have time. So, the pile keeps growing larger, creating a more daunting task, with no end in sight.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s Episode: How developed are your survival instincts? Two key essential traits.

The Zero Waste Store is an online presence with exceptional shipping procedures from a waste perspective:

  • everything shipped using plastic-free materials
  • 100% water activated paper tape
  • compostable shipping labels
  • recycled padded mailers
  • corn starch packing peanuts
  • everything 100% biodegradable

There’s no time to waste in confronting plastic waste. Covid has highlighted how imperative it is to be prepared and get out in front of life-impacting crises as quickly as possible. Switching to no waste products during covid, while we’re making so many other changes to our daily routines, is the ideal way to build strong habits during one crisis, that will help alleviate the impact of another crisis.

I can’t wait for my shampoo and conditioner to arrive so I can check it out. ♻️

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Change One Thing | Climate

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 7, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

There’s an amazing campaign underway in Europe, #Change1Thing. Brilliant. And even though we each need to change many of our daily habits to save the planet and our futures, if we begin with one small change, we’ll soon find how contagious it is.

My #change1thing is window boxes and adding as many flowers and as much nature around my home as possible. A friend suggested dropping wildflower seeds along fence lines and forest trails. Seeds are fantastic. They can easily be ordered online. They’re inexpensive and lightweight and a positive mood booster once they blossom.

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Nature curbs atmospheric carbon levels by storing carbon. Our oceans are stuffed with carbon and overheating, so we need more nature to store the increased carbon emissions. Flowers and shrubs grow faster than trees, thus we can quickly raise the amount of carbon storage in the near term, by adding many more layers of nature around our homes and yards. Window boxes also increase property values. Eco Architecture is springing up across Europe, creating amazing nature wallscapes of live green up and down office towers.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s conversation, can one small act of kindness change the trajectory of someone’s life?

Additionally, nature boosts serotonin, the feel good hormone that improves mental health. And flowers are pollinators which promotes biodiversity, resulting in a much healthier environment.

Let’s all jump in with #change1thing. Action is a healthy feel good during such a calamitous pandemic. If we can learn valuable lessons from covid, and apply to climate, we’ll be miles ahead and on the road to recovery and a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you One One World – Instagram! Change1Thing âś…

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Home Composting Essential for Climate| Especially During Covid

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 1, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It was an exciting excursion to the grocery store today to see as many as 90-95% of shoppers wearing a facial covering and gloves. It spoke volumes. The grocery store itself was doing an amazing job of keeping the public safe:

  • huge roll of paper towels on top of carts with spray cleaner (yes, I washed my cart down)
  • repeated overhead announcements that there’s a global pandemic and that covid19 requires social distancing, “please stay six feet apart”
  • the self-checkout area of two parallel rows of five cash registers on each side, was spaced appropriately so that only four of the ten registers were in use
  • everyone waiting in line was six feet apart

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

It gave me peace of mind to see with my own eyes that the vast majority of us in Northern Virginia are paying attention and following directions. That we care about the well-being of others. We respect the advice of the experts: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Fauci, our own Governor Northam, and many others. And that we understand that as soon as we’re all onboard with these types of daily habits — facial coverings, gloves, keep our distance, respect of others, follow advice — we’ll be able to phase back into society and slowly restart the economy one step at a time. We’re showing by our actions that we’re ready to do what it takes.

Look how quickly we accomplished this. Less than six weeks. Commendable.

Let’s do the exact same for climate, nailing one component at a time. Home composting is ultra simple. Food scraps that we normally throw into the sink composter, get thrown into a covered plastic kitchen bin, that can be added to a larger yard or garage bin weekly or daily depending on how many are in our household.

Natural food waste recycling concept
See how easy this is?

 

It’s advised that once compost is tossed into the larger bin, that the heap should be turned once a week, and water added to speed up decomposition. It will take approximately one month for it to be ready to till into our yard and or forest soil. The breakdown of the larger garage or outdoor bin, should be one third green scraps — food scraps that include all foods, tea bags, coffee grounds and filter, egg shells, lint and grass trimmings — and two thirds brown scraps, made of leaves, twigs, shredded newspaper, and hay. The green scraps contain nitrogen, and the brown contain carbon. The ratio of one third green to two thirds brown is important.

 

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According to Home Composting Made Easy, as much as thirty-five percent of our household waste can be reduced if we home compost. Waste management has been a thorny challenge during covid stay-at-home, so a reduction in the amount of waste to pick up will improve the well-being of these essential workers, conquering two challenges at the same time.

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When home compost is added to the soil, the increase in nutrients enables the soil to sink more carbon. Further, the fungus and good bacteria found in the compost protects trees from deadly nematodes as well as other plants which increases the amount of carbon each can store. The compost nutrients nourish nature, enabling it to grow taller and fuller and in so doing, store that much more carbon.

Okay, let’s go! Can we all nail this in six weeks the way we accomplished covid facial coverings? Of course we can. I’ve been home composting since October 2019, and find that it’s a significant improvement in household waste management. I love how my kitchen garbage is so lean. I only need to empty once a month. Nothing stinky to worry about. I either recycle or compost, so the only garbage is plastic bag packaging, the kind that frozen vegetables are packed in. Good luck!🌱

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The Natural World’s Guidance During Difficult Times

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 1, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It’s fascinating to learn how much secret communication occurs between animals, plants and all living organisms. Trees are probably the best example of a complex communication network that exists below the surface, enabling all the trees in a forest to share information about dangers they may be experiencing, a 911 call of sorts, conducted through fungus “threads.”

Different animals can communicate with each other as well. The Irish Examiner has provided a detailed analysis about how animals connect through “body language, sound, smell, touch, and even chemical and electrical communication.”

And we know how well our pets communicate with us, in fact, at times it seems like they can even read our minds. Therefore, it’s quite logical to imagine that wildlife animals can communicate with us too. For example, one scientific test proved that crows never forget a human face. Bizarre, especially in today’s era of facial recognition. Who would have imagined that a crow would have that type of advanced sensory ability. I’ll be dashing for cover the next time I see a crow in my vicinity, worried it might be a stalker.

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Interestingly, what I have noticed from past experiences, and past personal experiments testing my hypothesis that an animal crossing our paths is actually communicating with us, giving us a clue that will help answer a question we may have or solve a dilemma. I’ve become much more aware of my surroundings now, of each and every bird, forest animal and bug, and quickly google to see what it symbolizes. I interpret each chance encounter as the natural world sharing a piece of advice that I can apply to my current circumstance. The advice has never failed me. Ever. I don’t think I can say the same about human advice. It almost seems as though animals, and even plants for that matter, are able to tap into our spirit. Perhaps we somehow inadvertently transmit distress on a high level frequency that the natural world is connected to.

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Who knows, really. But what I am certain about is that during difficult times like these, I’m forever on the lookout to see what animals come my way and quickly google to checkout the meaning and interpret it as advice that I should apply to my situation (patience is quite common). Interestingly, throughout history, there have been multiple cultures who have believed in something along these lines. Native Americans are one such culture. Native Americans have a whole “spirit animal” association structure. And there are others. The bright side of our current distress is that we all have the opportunity to test this out for ourselves and see what it nets.

The fox I pass frequently when I’m running on the trail near my home is my constant reminder to live passionately. The fox also represents cleverness in the trickiest of situations, which is very valuable advice indeed, especially during the horrific covid-19 crisis. Apparently, I need to stay sharp and alert like a fox. “Will do,” say I in reply.

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Time to Plant Climate Gardens While We’re Stuck at Home

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 14, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Backyard gardens are one of the easiest most inspiring ways to lower our carbon footprint. Adding multiple layers beneath trees and along fences, lining the front of homes. Shrubs, flowers, vines, ground cover. Ivy and creepers up and down walls, around mailboxes and lamplights. International cities like London and Paris have perfected this.

The best part about zeroing in on a giant burst of nature as the solution, is that it works immediately, especially if we all collectively execute ASAP, during these next few weeks while we’re stuck at home hoping tp stay clear of the coronavirus pandemic.

Imagine the positive impact.

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In the nick of time, no less. We’re down to only nine years to save humanity from climatocalypse. So, the silver lining of being thrown into our current heart-wrenching calamity, with unexpected at-home time on our hands, is that we can pause and focus on the long term, and alter our destiny by conquering what otherwise would most likely be an improbable collective gardening effort.

Live in an apartment or condo? Balcony, patio and rooftop gardens or plantings on every available flat surface is a life-and-planet-saving difference. With a success rate as significant as this will be, at a minimal cost, we can all jump in first thing in the morning.

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Bringing back nature, will not only be a giant leap forward in our progress at lowering our atmospheric carbon level back down to 350 PPM, but has multiple other valuable benefits.

Nature improves mental health, not only an emotional positive boost, but a sensory one as well. Sunlight provides the much needed daily dose of vitamin D that will keep our outlook positive and optimistic. Additionally, nature’s scent has an array of therapeutic properties. Some species are calming and supportive, while others keep us alert and energized. There’s also the tangible, yet little understood, sentient characteristics of nature that indicate plants and trees can problem solve, even connect with other plants and animals, as well as communicate with each other, and some believe communicate with humans, in addition to nurturing humans,  .

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Considering how many alarming societal threats we face — climate, suicides, drug addiction, physical and mental health — the fact that nature can aid in improving every single one of these, is a very compelling reason to quickly sow our climate gardens during this unexpected period of being stuck at home (at least it’s spring, the planting season). In fact, there’s no better way to keep our minds off this extended emergency, than to dig into a powerful solution that will not only bring back nature, but will keep us calm in a crisis.

Once nature is back, the wildlife that goes along with it will also return. Our planet will be healthy again, which will make humankind that much healthier too. It all begins right now, during these mandated weeks of social distancing.

Let’s GO!

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Protecting Our Water Supply this Spring | Beware of Lawn Fertilizer

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 8, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

After Trump’s recent roll back of Obama’s Clean Water Act, we have to be more mindful than ever of what we can do as individual citizens to be the stewards of our community water supply in the hopes that we can minimize the negative fallout now that these life-saving federal regulations have been repealed.

I feel traumatized by the horrible news that 60% of our waters will again be unprotected. Climate change has created a seemingly apocalyptic ripple effect from the fallout of the flooding and run off that occurs from the now regular rain bombs, as well as the threat of the new Category 6 hurricanes (not that the National Hurricane Center has officially added Category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, but recent Hurricane Dorian with winds of 185 mph that flattened the Bahamas, was so far off the charts there’s certainly been a fewa discussions about the need to do so).

Factor in the flooding of superfund sights alone, during this age of climate change, and the frightening consequences for future generations in the calamitous way that water pollutants cause birth defects. This reality is already rattling nerves and alarming homeowners close to these toxic sights. The unseen leaking of life-threatening pollutants  into ground water from buried storage tanks is certainly of grave concern, but all the more troubling is seeing the vacant wastelands flood and the damaging toxic waters flow through town drains as well as the surrounding nearby community property.

Farmland with pesticides and fertilizer is equally as concerning. Weather bombs know no borders. Heavy rains will spread these toxins for miles. They’re usually invisible, but the damage they cause humans is very tangible and physical.

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So with these significant issues now plaguing American communities this spring 2020, and some states stepping in to protect its waters and passing much needed state regulations, we have to do our part too, after all, we’re the ones with the most to lose.

We love beautiful lawns, or course. And we likely use fertilizer to make sure our yards have the right nutrients to nurture our favorite flowers, shrubs and trees. However the ammonium nitrate found in most sterilizers, amongst other hazardous nutrients, are the very pollutants that may cause birth defects after running down the town drains during heavy spring rains.

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Birth defects caused by the nitrates found in fertilizer:

  • spina bifida
  • cleft palate
  • missing limbs

Rules of thumb to avoid contaminating the town water supply?

  • home composting from food scraps that can be added to garden and yard soil
  • many town farmer’s markets now offer free compost
  • organic alternatives that are not water soluble like ammonium nitrate
  • don’t fertilize in the spring, wait until fall when there’s much less rain.

So let’s be more aware, and make a commitment to finding an alternative to fertilizing with heavy nutrients in the spring. We can do this!🌱

 

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