Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Radio Waves

My good friend / talented illustrator / expert infographic designer (and fellow science nerd) Joe Shoulak clued me in last week to an interesting episode of Science Friday on NPR that discusses the advantages of landscaping with native plants. Just a couple of nights later, my soon-to-be housemate Renee (who has a fabulous blog on urban homesteading) gushed enthusiastically about the same broadcast. I couldn't wait to listen to it myself! You can hear it by clicking here, or you can go to the Science Friday website here. Click on the yellow caterpillar picture like the one above to see a series of impressive photos, captioned to explain the basic concepts.

Finding a discussion like this in the media is SO exciting to me. I feel like the stars are aligning in the U.S. (so to speak): economic, scientific and political variables catalyze the push for environmental solutions, and thus a healthy and heated dialogue is sparked about how to improve and implement land and natural resource management. What's even more exciting, is that people are getting motivated to rethink their landscapes on an individual level.

Like any complex issue (and what worthy issue isn't?), this one has a lot of angles to consider, and a lot of angle enthusiasts to argue their points. (How did you like that extended "angle" metaphor? Double double meaning!) I'm particularly interested in people's views about mixing permaculture practices with native plantings. How can we inform our landscape decisions to create low-energy, food-producing, water-managing, environment-supporting, and aesthetically beautiful landscapes? What about public landscapes? Is it possible to do all this in an urban space that fits the needs of the surrounding community?

I have so much to learn and so many questions. I can't wait to start school!

[Update: Dr. Doug Tallamy, who is featured in this broadcast, has a great website for his book, which includes a clickable map of the US where you can get suggestions for native plants in your area that you can plant in your yard.]

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