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Category archives for Green Living

Nature Is Making a Comeback. It’s Time to Celebrate.

Legendary conservation biologist Tom Lovejoy shares his thoughts on the progress we’ve made in protecting the wild, and the reasons for continued hope as the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit gets under way.

A Fisherman’s Son Who Cannot Swim

Mayur, a young Koli fisherman’s son, never learned to swim because the beaches of Mumbai are too polluted. Few Koli youth want to follow their parent’s footsteps to be fishermen in Mumbai. The consumer demand for fish though is ever on the rise. Mayur teaches me to dig for clams and offers his perspective on Koli culture among shifting tides.

World Water Day: Six Trends for Optimism

By Brooke Barton Senior Program Director, Water & Food Programs, Ceres More than half a billion people today lack access to clean water, and with climate change, water pollution and booming population growth, pressures on limited water supplies are ratcheting up. Tackling the water crisis can feel like an uphill battle in the United States, with one…

Can Tourism Save the Countryside?

Beloved rural landscapes face challenges from outmigration, changing economies, development sprawl, environmental damage, and more. Tourism can help if done well, as we discovered right down our own gravel road.

How Music Inspires and Empowers Rural Africans to Steward Their Environment

The Power Of Music We all have a song that we never forget. Maybe it carried us through tough times. Or perhaps it reminds us of good times we’ve had. It may have taught us an important lesson… maybe even at just the right time in our life. Whatever the reason, it stays with us.…

Underwater photography and films advocate for ocean conservation

Documentary filmmaker Christine Ren combines her passions for the arts, sciences and dance to advocate for ocean conservation.

Improving the Sustainability of Thru-Hiking

Though I felt immensely connected to nature on my Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hike (an end-to-end hike of a long-distance trail within one season), I was disappointed by how environmentally degrading backpacking can be. I found countless coolers and campsites full of trash, and eating individually wrapped packets of ramen and Pop-Tarts generated an uncomfortable amount…

Forests Are Worthless Until Cut Down

Dasho Neten remembers a time when “people simply acted on their values informally,” while now the general sense of citizenship wanes. As a farmer and prominent activist in Bhutan, Dasho Neten challenges us not to depend on the government to build our societies. “We need to wake up! There is an inconvenient truth lingering, and we need to ask: are we really moving towards self-reliance? Sometimes we need reminders, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.”

Insisting on Truth – Bhopal and Beyond

“I cut all the pictures out of my textbook…they were so…” My friend Anu doesn’t finish her thought. She doesn’t have to. I know the words that she can use, but they will never fully articulate the horrific, gruesome, tragic images depicting the event of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, considered by many to be the…

Reframing Ocean Conservation in this Post-Election Era

Given the election, it seems wise to relinquish expectations of US federal leadership on ocean or climate policy. Our anti-science (among other deeply concerning antis) president-elect and his appointees have sent clear signals about their disregard for our environment and the ethos of sustainability. Yet, a healthy ocean is critical to food security, a stable…

All Plants Are Medicine; We Just Need To (re)Learn How

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Raghubir Singh Rawat, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Rawat bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his…

Saving Rice in Pictures

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

Apocalypse Paused: Scenes From Soviet-Era “Ghost Farms”

Picture two giant farms: one the size of France; the other the size of Wisconsin. That is how many acres of agricultural land sit fallow in Russia (45 million) and Kazakhstan (35 million).   The 250,000-acre Chilinka Collective Farm, in northern Kazakhstan, was once known as an oasis on the steppes. It was home to 500…

Kikeo and The Whale

Kikeo and The Whale is a bedtime story that submerges the young reader in a sea of dreams. Hand-in-hand with National Geographic Creative photographer Kike Calvo, the reader discovers a beautiful story of an encounter between Kikeo, the main character,  and a baby whale and her mom. “This children’s book comes at a time when…