Heal from Nature Blindness

In an age where we know more corporations by their logos than trees by their leaves, it’s far time that we reconnect with nature!

dsc_8574aAre you nature blind?  Do you suffer from plant blindness.’  It seems that many people have difficulty perceiving plant life in greater detail than ‘grass,’ ‘flower,’ ‘bush,’ or ‘tree.’ Perhaps it’s because we are hard-wired to focus on fauna in a backdrop of flora.  Or, perhaps we’ve become caught up in urbanized society and disconnected from nature, especially plants. Either way, we should definitely make an effort to know more about plants. 

In today’s world, it’s too easy to ignore the great detail and diversity in the plant kingdom.  Our plant-based foods come pre-packaged and processed.  Our building materials come pre-chopped-down and pre-cut.  Our plant-based or plant-inspired medicines come in a pill.  Our landscape plants come pre-identified and propagated.  We aren’t really forced to deduce detail as a consumer.  We choose plants for curb appeal, going straight to the garden center for whatever is in color or on ad.  Great…but do you know what you bought?

We should definitely stop to consider plants in greater detail. John Muir, the father of our National Park system, found ‘botanizing’ and praising plants to be important. And furthermore, humanity has an inherent desire to connect with nature (see Living Walls and Biophilia). Next time you visit a park or assess your own landscape, consider exactly which plants lay at your feet and which trees tower above you.

Get yourself tree and plant identification guides, edible native plant books, plants for pollinators guides, and ask great questions! Kids are especially great at the latter.

Questions to get you started:

  • Are these vines invasive? (Maybe)
  • Will these flowers return next year?
  • Are these plants native? (Missouri’s Grow Native!)
  • Is that the right tree for the right place? (Arbor Day Foundation)
  • Will that shrub attract birds, bees, and butterflies? (Bringing Nature Home)
  • Can plants communicate with each other?  (Yes.)
  • Can plants become friends?  (Yes.)
  • Is that a Northern Red Oak or a Black Oak? (Ask the Missouri Department of Conservation)
  • Is that a grass or a sedge?
  • What’s a sedge?
  • Is it OK for insects to eat my landscaping?
  • What is a companion plant?
  • Is that Mistletoe in my tree? What is the deal with that? (Many have asked)
  • How diverse is the flora in my backyard?
  • What plants are good for indoors? (NASA tested, lungs approved)

Get outside, get curious, and get detailed!  Nature will reward you with inspiration.

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Threshold of Consequence

…and somehow a snowball disproves our impact on a global scale. Riiiight.

stewardsofearth

To some, it seems incomprehensible that 7 billion people can have lasting influence on our planet, inducing harmful changes to our environment.  Climate change cannot exist, say some folks.  

Humans have an impact on the environment.  I think most would agree.  But the argument that extends from this concept is the line, the threshold at which our species can impact parts or all of our world.  What is the threshold of our influence? How far does the impact of humankind extend?  At what level do we stop having an influence?  And what are the consequences of our evident influence?

One personcan affect one tree by topping it, inviting disease and early death. The pathogen spreads to nearby trees, plaguing the neighborhood. One person generates 4.4 lb of trash per day, which goes to a landfill.  If one person dumps in old batteries, old cleaners, plastics, construction material…

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Muir’s Biblical Reason for Praising Plants

Botany and Taxonomy: If we understand what we have, we understand what can be lost forever.

stewardsofearth

On his 1,000 mile walk from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico, not long after the Civil War ended, John Muir encountered a man who questioned his motive to study plants, or ‘botanize’ as he often put it.

The man said, “You look like a strong-minded man, and surely you are able to do something better than wander the country and look at weeds and blossoms.  These are hard times, and real work is required of every man that is able.  Picking up blossoms doesn’t seem to be a man’s work at all in any kind of times.”

John Muir asked, ” You are a believer in the Bible, are you not?”  The man replied, “Oh, yes.”

Muir then responded, “Well, you know Solomon was a strong-minded man, and he is generally believed to have been the very wisest man the world ever saw, and yet he considered it was…

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More Green Wall Blogging

Thought I would also share some blog entries I wrote during my time at The Living Wall Company. I certainly enjoy writing about green infrastructure and living architecture.  It is very important to return vegetation to urban environments and restore natural communities in natural environments.

Enjoy!!

Green Wall Blogging

Green Wall Blogging

I’ve been a little quiet on here lately.  But I have kept myself busy.Green Wall

After about 2 years of being involved with the start-up living wall company, I am pursuing other opportunities in St. Louis (or KC, or beyond). Entry-level opportunities of interest include: environmental scientist or specialist, sustainability coordinator, program coordinator, product manager, environmental educator, renewable energy sales, consulting, landscape architecture, green roof or wall representative, native landscaping representative, marketing/outreach/social media, etc.

Anyway, with my career search ongoing, I’ve been sharing some thoughts on green walls as a blogger with NewProContainers.com.  Their new blog is focused on informing the interiorscaping and interior design industry.  Green walls are a becoming increasingly popular inside and out.

So, here are the entries I’ve generated so far.  Keep in mind the audience is geared towards interiorscapers.

Enjoy and let me know what you think.  Let me know if you have any questions about green walls.

Have a great week!

Nature and Beauty are Bread for the Soul

Nature Beauty Bread“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

Photo taken a few days ago in Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, Missouri.  Get out and enjoy Autumn before the wind and cold sweep away all the color!

Creeping into Autumn

Virginia Creeper Turning

I took this picture a couple weeks ago as the local Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) population began changing into its vibrant red garb.  Thank you, Nature!!!

Virginia Creeper often gets mistaken for Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), but is 5-leaved, whereas the Poison Ivy is 3-leaved.  Both are native to this area, but I’d highly recommend Virginia Creeper for your garden or natural landscaping.

Just make sure not to landscape with Poison Ivy, unless you’re itching to repel your neighbors…  Ha!