“The main characteristic of Nature’s farming can therefore be summed up in a few words. Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease.” ~ Sir Albert Howard
“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”
Sir Albert Howard
Sir Albert Howard, 1873-1947, considered the father of modern organic agriculture, learned about composting through observation of farmers in India. Creating a compost pile or bin should be on the to-do list for all backyard gardeners. The three bin composter, pictured above, is an example of one way to compost kitchen scraps and green waste. Refer to the following sites to determine materials that can be composted, as well as other types of composters. So quit hauling yard waste to the curb and throwing kitchen scraps, pet hair, and dryer lint into the garbage can. Compost it!
“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. “– David Hobson
Southern checkerspot butterfly sipping nectar from flower of basil plant
Newbies, wanting to participate in America’s favorite pastime, should remember to start small. Basil and other herbs are easy to grow from seed and attract butterflies as well as provide table fare. A 4’x8′ garden plot is ample space to grow a variety of plants and develop gardening experience. Refer to the Alabama Extension Service site for assistance. Get growing!
“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ~ Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold, 1887-1948, author of Sand County Almanac, is associated with the development of modern environmental ethics and wilderness conservation. Leopold’s words are as relatable to the actions of elected officials today, as they were in his lifetime. Please refer to the December 12, 2018 article concerning the sale of public lands near national parks and monuments in Utah. Hubris and financial greed should not determine the fate of America’s public lands. Voice concerns to one’s legislative representatives. Silence signifies approval of the exploitation and degradation of America’s national treasures.
Each species on our planet plays a role in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, on which humans depend. – William H. Schlesinger
Residents along Fowl River count among their most favorite neighbors, the brown pelicans. Year-round residents can be seen daily gliding above the waterways, resting on pilings, and diving for fish. Learn more about these delightful members of the Alabama coastal environment by clicking here.
“The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future.” Aldo Leopold
Alligator in Monroe County Creek
Aldo Leopold, author of Sand County Almanac, the 1949 classic concerning conservation and land ethics, reminds us of the continued need to protect America’s wild places. Although current leadership equates undeveloped land with opportunities to extract and destroy, voters can speak out to defend national treasures against exploitation and annihilation. Not everyone can write a book, but almost everyone can write emails to elected officials -start today-for your grandchildren.
“Biophilia, if it exists, and I believe it exists, is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. “ — Edward O. Wilson
Camouflaged deer on a hillside in northern Alabama
Look closely near the center of the photo.
Green snake hunting among sweet pepper plants in south Mobile county
Biophilia is defined as the innate ability to relate to nature and living things. While everyone may not be blessed with this characteristic, all should develop an understanding and appreciation of how all living things are interdependent. The links below help to explain interdependence through food webs and ecosystems.
“My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden.” Nancy Ross
Female monarch butterfly rests on a tropical milkweed plant.
Monarchs overwinter in Mexico, journey north and arrive in Alabama in February and March. Two beautiful adventurers were spotted in a garden in South Mobile County on February 2. Landing on a bedraggled tropical milkweed, the female deposited her eggs and then continued her journey north. Learn more about these remarkable Lepidoptera at the Journey North website.
Make a calm connection with life by developing a garden attracting pollinators, including the monarch. The following links will help in making appropriate choices.
Shore Acres, located on Bellingrath Road in South Mobile County, is a commercial plant farm that welcomes backyard gardeners. It sells a huge variety of plants and an excellent potting soil. Plan a trip to South Mobile County soon.
US Hardiness Zones Big box stores sometimes sell plants that may not be suitable for the local climate. Avoid disappointment by referring to a hardiness zone map to determine the zone in which one gardens.
“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” —David Attenborough
Lake in North Alabama
Salt Marsh in Coastal Alabama
It has been said that Sir David Attenborough is one of the most well traveled people in the whole world, second only to astronauts. Creator and host of award winning natural history programs, this nonagenarian is a perfect example of how the natural world makes life worth living. His example is one worthy of attention.
Exploration of the natural world can begin right here in the state of Alabama. Check out the links below for help in planning one’s own documentary journey. Sir David Attenborough certainly knows how to make a life worth living. So – Ready! Set! Go!
“The term ecology comes from the Greek word oikos, and means ‘the household.’ Ecological responsibility, then, begins at home and expands to fill the entire planet.” — Jeremy Rifkin
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines ecology as: “the relationships between the air, land, water, animals, plants, etc., usually of a particular area, or the scientific study of this.” The term, ecological responsibility, was introduced by Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess, in 1973. This responsibility is individual and collective. Many are expanding individual choices made in consideration of the environment to include how businesses and corporations accept ecological responsibilities. Consumer preferences are given to those making positive steps. Click here to read about an example of positive steps in a recent CNBC article.
A January 15, 2019 article, “A New Tactic In The War Against Plastic Waste,” aired by NPR (National Public Radio), highlights the work of Filipino community activist, Froilan Grate. Years of work to rid his community of plastic trash made him realize that the responsibility to prevent the overwhelming plastic pollution of his community and the oceans (8 million tons per year) lies with the corporations utilizing plastic packaging. The shaming of these global corporations through “brand auditing” or identification of the trash producers led to a summit invitation in Washington DC. Click on the article title to read this compelling story.
Ecological responsibility is not just an individual mandate for the future of the planet, it is a corporate mandate as well. Make consumer choices to reinforce that corporate mandate.