ADMISSION: THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE, A RANT, IF YOU WILL
That said, with California stealing headlines, thanks to our historic drought, the LADPW’s offer of grass for cash here in Los Angeles feels like a win-win, no-brainer. Lose your water-guzzling lawn, and get paid handsomely to do it. One could think of it as Saving the Planet With Benefits. But the fact is, tearing up your lawn only to lay down DG and even a few paltry succulents, or worse, a gravel pee-pad, is just “paving paradise to put up a parking lot”, to paraphrase Joni.
Since the day our daughter came home from the hospital, her world has been virtually overrun with wild things: Gorillas, tigers, lions, chimps, bears, giraffes and whales lead an endless parade of anthropomorphized beasts in the form of books or toys, all focused on helping her get to sleep, learn to read, learn share, play, pee, poop, you name it. My unscientific guess would be that 9 out of ten of people shepherding her to adulthood, one way or another, aren’t people at all, but kindly charismatic mega-fauna, lovingly doling out life’s big lessons. The irony of course, is that nearly all of the cuddly critters populating the pages and injection molded toys of her world are scarce-to-long-gone in reality. And it’s precisely this irony that compelled journalist-and anxious father-Jon Mooallem, to take this brilliant, sometimes disheartening journey into the world of animal conservation. “Wild Ones” is the story of precisely what lengths some people will go to in their attempts to the save the last of God’s great creatures.
Being a passionate environmentalist – albeit a deeply flawed one- and the father of a one year old girl presents some pretty huge challenges. It’s impossible to ignore the overwhelming onslaught of bad news regarding the natural world. It’s hard, in short, not to feel hopeless. At the same time, there’s this ecstatic, tiny, wild-woman tearing around my house, exploding with tales and adventures yet written. Her future, and the future of the planet, is not cast in stone. And the truth is, its dangerous and lazy to assume we have any idea what life on earth will look like 100 years from now. Sure, we can extrapolate, but we can’t know. Therefore, we, as parents, have to raise our kids to think- and act- beyond the current seeming reality. And to do that, we have to present working models for a new possibility, models which, in this case just might prevent global collapse. We desperately need to get beyond, “Holy shit, WHAT HAVE WE DONE!!??”, and switch into, “Ok, what can we do?” And then we have to ask, “What is our sphere of influence?” I’m not the president, and on a great day, about 20 people read my blog, so for me, the answer is simple: “Create wildlife habitat where we live.” Call it my high horse. Here’s why:
Caught this late-season Monarch caterpillar as he wandered along our retaining wall, into the brush, making his pilgrimage to his final transformation…Of course Sian named him “Charles”.
For reasons no one really knows, Monarch caterpillars often travel fairly vast distances away from the milkweed to pupate. Charles here was about 10 feet from the milkweed plant he had been feeding and living on.
Late season Monarch caterpillars are often darker than their summer kin. The increased width of the black bands allows them to absorb more heat as days get colder and shorter.
This Charles survived last week’s storm and dips into the 40’s, but his journey is just getting started. Later, Charles.
New York’s radical greening is becoming world famous, from the High Line to an overall, pollinator-friendly park’s initiative that is making all 5 boroughs more beautiful and more environmentally sound. Taking environmentally smart design to a whole new level, here’s an interview @ InHabit.Com with Ate Atema Architects about a bio-design idea that could radically impact water quality, CO2 emissions, and biodiversity, all in one, not-so-simple but very elegant living machine for the people of New York City.
Who’s In? This is a pretty cool way to explore- and create – the LA River. As described by it’s creators:
Play the LA River is a come-one-come-all project by the arts collective Project 51 that invites Angelenos to enjoy, explore, reclaim & reimagine the mighty LA River as a grand civic space that can green & connect our communities.