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Musings on the Relativity of Time and The Arithmetic of Overpopulation

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I celebrated my birthday recently. Beyond a certain age, birthdays become a double-edged sword. You’re glad you made it to the next one, but realize that there are far fewer years ahead of you than behind you. The list of absent friends grows ever longer. Colleagues grow grey; everyone else looks like they just graduated from middle school.

I used to console myself by calculating that I still had at least 25 more years to go, which made the end point seem very far off. But, now that would mean I’d live to an unrealistically old age, a concept supported by neither family history nor actuarial tables. I’m reminded of Einstein’s summary of his Theory of Relativity:
"When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour."

I guess I’ve been having too much fun. But that can’t go on forever. My immortality would not be good for the planet. It’s not sustainable. At the same time that medical advances have been add…

Please Farm Responsibly. Because What Grows On The Farm Doesn’t Stay On The Farm

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Recently, I was able to stream the GreenBiz’17 Conference in Phoenix without leaving the comfort of my office. I was surprised and delighted to hear the same refrain repeated again and again by heavy hitters from the multi-national companies whose sustainability officers comprised both presenters and audience:
“It’s too late to turn back now.”
Sustainability Tipping Point Reached
As one speaker pointed out early on, a direct consequence of doing business on a global scale is that corporations must abide by the international agreements on sustainable development if they want to do business in any of the signatory countries. That includes selling farm products, sourcing raw materials, as well as manufacturing; regardless of whether or not the U.S. government ever signs any of those conventions or treaties. This should be big news, but it’s yet to make big headlines.

In addition, so many American consumers and investors are demanding that corporations pay more attention to their impact on t…

Please Garden Responsibly. Because What You Spray in Your Garden Doesn’t Stay in Your Garden

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Scores of their silky tents covered the licorice plant in the container on my porch. Inside the tents, something was gobbling up the leaves faster than I could pick them off. The plant must have been infested when I bought it.

As I reached for my organic insecticide, I thought, “Wait, you don’t know what kind of caterpillars these are!” I recalled an article on pest management by a friend who cautioned:
“Sometimes, the best treatment is no treatment at all.”
It took the better part of the afternoon for me to identify the miniature mowing machines. In the meantime, half of them had started dropping from their perches and wriggling off into the underbrush. I hoped I had made the right decision.

The licorice plant was devastated. But then I noticed that the caterpillars had not eaten the leaves all the way down to the stem. Possibly, secondary buds could sprout and still provide a silvery foil beneath my ‘Calypso’ geranium for the rest of the season.

It was an ugly few weeks, but eventually I…

How to Start a Sustainable Garden Without a Lot of Back-breaking Work

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Facing the four fundamentals

When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat,“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
He replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
In a similar vein, in thinking about how to create a more sustainable garden, you need to first determine where you want to go.

1. Set a clear objective. Where are you along the road to a more sustainable garden? Do you want to completely revamp how your garden functions? Or tackle just a few small changes that can be done quickly? Perhaps you’ve scoped out a single project that would make a big difference, but it needs to be done in stages. Make sure your choice(s) align with your deepest convictions and abilities; you want this to be a labor of love so that it feels rewarding and fulfilling at the end.
Set a realistic budget based on real-world, written price quotes if contractors are involved; establish milestones to keep everything on schedule; prepare for the…

Can A Garden Ever Really Be Sustainable?

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Well, that depends on our definition of sustainable gardening, doesn’t it?

The short answers are no, and no. Why? When we say a system is “sustainable,” we imply that it will stay the same without additional inputs of whatever keeps that system running. Look out the window. If you took a two-month vacation in high summer, how would your garden look when you came home? Without someone to take care of it while you’re away…..

If it would be a disaster, with brown grass, shrubs dropping their leaves, and perennials fried to a crisp, plants defoliated by insect pests, or decimated by disease, then your garden is not very sustainable. If, instead, it would look pretty much the same as when you left, except that it would be less tidy and everything would seem to have grown six inches, then it’s more sustainable.
Despite what you may have heard, there’s no such thing as a sustainable garden, only one that is more sustainable or less sustainable. Here’s why:Gardens are artificial environments
Gard…

Got Sustainable Gardening Information? We want to work with you.

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The Sustainable Gardening Library makes it easy for homeowners to find the information they need to create their own environmentally friendly gardens, for professionals to find information on sustainable landscape practice, and for those who want to grow wholesome food to find information on alternative farming methods.

Our founders care deeply about the future of our planet, the other species with whom we share it, wise and respectful use of the land, and how our food is produced.
You can help by becoming a Sustainable Gardening Library collaborator.We’re looking for public gardens and arboreta, colleges and universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit horticultural or agricultural education organizations that want to share their content on sustainable gardening and farming research, demonstration gardens and projects, and sustainable landscape practices. It’s Easy to Work with Us

You
•    Supply the content
•    Retain copyright to your own information
•    Incorporate the Libr…

Because 62% of Consumers Want More Sustainable Gardening Information

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We’ve built the Sustainable Gardening Library
Our goal is to ferret out those techniques that provide the best potential for helping people garden and farm more sustainably. We’re doing it by curating and organizing resources from expert sources and delivering them through an interactive web application.

We’re breaking down barriers by promoting the exchange of sustainable gardening information between and among public gardens, arboreta, and other educational non-profits, colleges and universities, and government agencies, taking a new, cross-disciplinary approach. If your organization has relevant content, let’s talk. Contact

The Sustainable Gardening Library is comprehensive, but not overwhelming
Too much information is the bane of everyone’s existence these days, but particularly for those who would rather be planting than searching though millions of web pages for answers to simple questions. That’s why the Sustainable Gardening Library is specialized, curated, and limited to 50 topi…