Threshold of Consequence

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


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.


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.



“There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.  It is purpose that created us.  Purpose that connects us.  Purpose that pulls us.  That guides us. That drives us.  It is purpose that defines us.  Purpose that binds us.”

  ~Agent Smith(s), Matrix Reloaded


Hello Mr. Steward

To be straight forward, I am exploring my career paths right now, so this is more like an open cover letter than a blog post.  This is in light of the 3 million ‘green’ jobs that were available last year.  I’ll have one of those, please.  But what makes a job green?  What qualifies someone to take on a green job?  How can one get experience in a nascent industry?  How can one jump the experience-needed-for-job/job-needed-for-experience hurdle in an exceptionally young and broad industry frontier (and during an economic downturn)??

These are all questions I have asked myself as I pursued an undergraduate degree emphasizing sustainability and a MS in Environmental Sciences. In undergrad, I was immersed in interdisciplinary studies among biology, botany, environmental health, geology, aquatic ecology, economics, and political science.  I even took the capstone sustainability course (team-taught by a geologist, an economist, and a political scientist), which led me to feel that all college students should be exposed to an interdisciplinary, introductory sustainability course.  In graduate school, I took fascinating courses like pollution ecology, plant ecology, GIS, hydrology, and environmental law.  For my thesis project, I delved into the world of living architecture.  I evaluated the stormwater control potential and urban heat island benefits of living retaining wall systems.  As a part of the same laboratory group, I also helped with numerous green roof projects at SIUE.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the academic world.  But for now, aside from studying for and recently obtaining a LEED Green Associate credential, I’m done with academia.   I’m ready to find one of those new-fangled green jobs.  But which job?  I suppose with my broad educational experience, there are a few possibilities.

But based on my interests and education, I’ve got a few paths that may yet be passable.


I’ve always been a listener and an observer.  On top of that, graduate school brought with it hours of research experience.  Researching means finding solutions and giving greater advice.  With training or perhaps an apprenticeship, I could consult on topics of green building, living architecture, sustainability, or perhaps even ecological restoration.

Green Building and Living Architecture Advocate

I’m already entrenched in this field with experience researching living walls and green roofs.  I attended and presented at the 2011 Cities Alive Conference in Philadelphia.  I’ve been involved with a new company that markets living wall systems.  I just became a LEED Green Associate, so I’m now more familiar with the rating system and how living architecture enters into the green building equation.

Conservation and Ecological Restoration

I’ve been fascinated with native plants and the restoration of natural areas for years.  I have particular interest in reclaiming old fields, restoring and expanding prairies, and protecting riparian zones.    I’ve had exposure to some plant, fish, and aquatic macroinvertebrate taxonomy.  I’ve enjoyed classes like Ecology of Plants, Taxonomy of Flowering Plants, Aquatic Ecology, Pollution Ecology, and Environmental Biology.  Since last May, I’ve even had the pleasure of volunteering as a horticulturist at a nature reserve.  There I’ve helped collect and clean native plant seeds.

Some days I envision a great paying job with an office; other days, as I wade through restored prairie, I feel as though my office could be outside.

For now, the networking continues.

Speaking of networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Thanks Mr. Muir…

On a side note, I highly recommend following hiking2christ’s blog!



“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.”

-John Muir

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