Million Gardens Movement

Modern Farmer is launching the Million Gardens Movement to build a community of people who believe our everyday decisions about what we eat and how we live directly shape our land and our society. We want to bring together people who understand the simple act of planting a tomato is an act of hope and resilience.

Covid-19 and the recession have revealed our food systems and our communities can be vulnerable. It is our hope that members of the Million Gardens Movement can come together to help address these issues, and to help their community.

Source: Modern Farmer Million Gardens Movement

Ideas for OWU

Perennial Gardens Proposal (PDF)


Mobile Gardens Proposal (PDF)

Research: intelligence is the ability to adapt to the environment

Ever since psychologists started measuring intelligence, including the academic skills measured by IQ tests and their proxies, they have known that intelligence is not really your ability to solve obscure multiple-choice problems with largely trivial content that will have no impact on your future life whatsoever. Instead, intelligence is the ability to adapt to the environment: adaptive intelligence.

Organisms that don’t adapt die.

Intelligence is not just about an inert ability to take tests; it is about the active deployment of that ability to solve problems of life.

In my in-press book, Adaptive Intelligence, I argue that all us, including colleges and universities, ought to focus not on producing test takers who are content to see the world go to hell in a handbasket so long as they get their degrees and make their money. Look around us. It’s not working! Instead, we need to develop and assess students’ adaptive skills in and willingness to make the world a better place. If not now, when?

Source: COVID-19 Has Taught Us What Intelligence Really Is (Inside Higher Ed)

Environmental Ethics Quiz: A hunter was fatally gored by the deer he thought he killed, officials say

So… did you think “that’s fair!” or something else?

An Arkansas hunter was killed Tuesday by a deer he assumed was shot dead, said Keith Stephens, a spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Thomas Alexander, 66, was an experienced hunter who had lived in the Yellville, Ark., area for several years, Stephens said. He was hunting Tuesday in the nearby Ozark Mountains using a primitive firearm known as a muzzleloader, according to Stephens, and called a family member at 6:30 p.m. to tell them he had successfully shot a buck.

But the timeline of events becomes less clear after that.

Stephens isn’t sure if Alexander, a licensed hunter, immediately left his deer stand or waited before approaching the buck. Muzzleloader season runs from Oct. 19-27, Stephens said — but regardless of the firearm, the commission recommends waiting at least 30 minutes to ensure a shot deer is actually dead.

More: A hunter was fatally gored by the deer he thought he killed, officials say

Externalities & Health: More Heart Attacks and Strokes on High Pollution Days & Recent Increases in Air Pollution: Evidence and Implications for Mortality

Externalities: Paying with your health (and related costs for increased health care)

Correlation between air pollution and serious medical emergencies (in England):

Each year emergency services see more than 120 additional cardiac arrests, more than 230 additional strokes and nearly 200 more people with asthma requiring hospital treatment on days of high pollution compared with the average on days of lower pollution.

The data, to be published in full next month, shows the extra strain that poor air quality is putting on already stretched NHS emergency resources

More: Scores more heart attacks and strokes on high pollution days, figures show.

And in the US: a new study reveals

After declining by 24.2% from 2009 to 2016, annual average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the United States in counties with monitors increased by 5.5% between 2016 and 2018.

More: Recent Increases in Air Pollution: Evidence and Implications for Mortality

Bee Vectoring of Organic Pesticides

On August 28, the EPA approved the first-ever bee-distributed organic pesticide for the US market—a fungus-fighting powder called Vectorite that contains the spores of a naturally occurring fungus called Clonostachys rosea (CR-7). CR-7 is completely harmless to its host plant and acts as a hostile competitor to other, less innocuous fungi. It has been approved for commercial growers of flowering crops like blueberries, strawberries, almonds, and tomatoes.

The beauty of Vectorite is that it mimics a “locally appropriate natural system,” said Vicki Wojcik, director of Pollinator Partnership Canada. “It’s an interesting twist… where care for the health of the pollinator is actually vital because it is your actual vector.”

Thus… bee vectoring.

More: A new pesticide is all the buzz: The EPA has approved the first-ever bee-distributed pesticide for the US market

Carbon Bubble


Are the world’s capital markets carrying a carbon bubble? This question related to the fact that there is unburnable carbon, and some of that is owned by listed companies. In terms of carbon there is a clear overhang of fossil fuels beyond what can be burned in a 2°C scenario; there is a lively debate about the financial implications. Some of the issues that have arisen include:

  • Are there assets which are being valued in a manner inconsistent with the expected future scenario?
  • Does the short-term bias of valuation models mean that the impact of lower-than-expected future demand is largely discounted out at present?
  • Is the market capable of pricing in the complex set of factors which could affect demand and price?
  • Do large diversified companies (eg mining stocks or oil majors) dilute the impact of a reduction in coal or oil revenues?
  • Do current accounting rules capture the value and any potential impairment of assets in a consistent and useful manner, (eg compare mining vs oil; contrast IFRS and US GAAP)?
  • If capital expenditure continues to be used to replace reserves could this lead to the inflation of a carbon bubble which would have to be corrected in a scenario of sudden drastic action to prevent dangerous climate change?

More: Carbon Tracker and Wikipedia entry on Carbon Bubble

Hedonistic Sustainability

…In Copenhagen, there’s a new power plant “embodying the notion of hedonistic sustainability.”

Known both as Amager Bakke and Copenhill, the site is a waste to energy plant designed to convert enough tons of waste to provide clean energy for 150,000 homes. The giant chimney was intended to blow giant smoke rings, but that plan was abandoned.

…The exterior features enough facilities to host the X-Games, including a ski slope, freestyle park, climbing wall, and running trail.

Source: Power plant looks like it’s holding a giant cigarette (and features its own year-round ski slope)

More information: Bjarke Ingels On The Future Of Architecture

Conspicuous Consumption: £335 flip-flops

Source: The Guardian, The £335 flip-flops: what the super-rich wear to look like everyone else

The headline is a bit misleading; one does not want to “look like everyone else” in these flip-flops; yes they are flip flops, but they are really expensive flip-flops.

In reference to the concept of conspicuous consumption:

Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power—of the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer. Wikipedia

Conspicuous sustainability: the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury sustainability goods, infrastructure and services to publicly display environmental piety and power—and the income or of the accumulated wealth of the buyer.

Or something like that…