Category Archives: restoration

Biomimicry! Looking to Nature for Design Solutions

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Guys! This is really exciting! For a ceramics class, we have to make a piece emulating a concept I’ve never heard of, biomimicry. Basically this term means modeling technology after nature. They have innovative solutions and designs for agriculture, architecture, medicine, energy, transportation, and even communication!

There are so many examples of products/services listed at  https://biomimicry.org/biomimicry-examples/#.WBudRS0rK70

some examples are: learning from mosquitoes to create “a nicer needle”, or learning from prairies how to grow food in resilient ways, modeling a bullet train after a king-fish, learning from the texture of whale’s fins about how to create efficient wind power, even learning from termites how to create sustainable buildings!

Check out this website!

Creek CNP Outline 11/2/16

Creeks of Johnson County

Theme: Restoration and Conservation and reconnecting with the land

General storyline: The four seasons will be analogous to the development of the destruction of our land and resources and will be threaded together with my families land and the waterway running through it juxtaposed with the greater area surrounding it. Spring is a time of birth and great opportunity and I will explain how the land we see today was shaped by natural process and then utilized as a partner by the Native People of The Americas. Summer is a time of agitation and preparing for the future survival in winter. I will use this verse to illustrate where man went wrong and what we still do wrong. Fall is a time of reflection and will be used to promote possible solutions to our wrong-doings as well as how we impact the entire globe all of its inhabitants. Winter is a time for huddling together and staying alive or being left in the cold to freeze to death. This will be an opportunity to predict what will be of our future if we stay on our current trajectory or if we merge together as one and begin to respect nature as a fellow, not a foe. As Thoreau said, “Alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear, it is never too late to give up our prejudices.”

Main characters: Creek Hoard, Old Man’s Creek, Mother Nature

Interviews / Research: I will be interviewing a few scientist from campus to attain a clear understanding of what has happened as well as what my come in the future, as well as possible solutions. I will also be interviewing my family members to get an idea of what the land means to them. Research will be done to gather historical information about the area and what it has been used for in the past.

Arts Medium: I will write and read live a prose poetry, essay and short story. I will also include a visual medium and Music for thought throughout the reading.

Old Man’s Creek: Seasons of Change

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When brainstorming ideas for CNP, a wave rushed over me and suddenly I had an abundance of ideas and a single topic to thread them with. However, when peeling back the layers of the onion, I realized that my single topic was actually just a metaphor for a much larger paradigm. I came in to this project knowing I wanted to tell the story of my land and what it means to me and my family; furthermore, I wanted to effectively explain why I am so hurt by state of the environment. I knew this was going to be difficult to explain all of the emotions, memories and thoughts pertaining to such a story, but I never thought I would be able to actually do the piece, and myself justice in just one semesters worth of work. This philosophy has now changed.

Moving forward, my piece will no longer be merely about one family or one plot of land, rather, it will encompass a myriad of issues both contemporary and historical, as well as predictive. When I imagine presenting my piece, I imagine a conglomeration of Thoreau style writings, pointing out the things that are innate to me and missed on most. I see a narrative that is Leopold like in its threaded connection to all that is around. Stylistically a mix between a TED talk, Moth Radio Hour and Def Jam.

A complicated story to tell but an important one. We all must grapple with our pasts in order to correct our futures. When all is said and done, hopefully this piece will inspire real, lasting change.

Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wished to deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” This is my goal and state of our union is my Walden.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood”

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Go Leo!!
Here is the link to his new documentary “Before the Flood” where he travels and talks to other countries about the United State’s big oil addiction. “The climate change documentary sees the Oscar-winner traveling around the world, giving an address an the U.N. and meeting with the likes of Pope Francis and Elon Musk”
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/trailer-leonardo-dicaprio-climate-change-doc-before-flood-933167

Green Gold – Documentary by John D. Liu

“It’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems.” Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

Follow John D. Liu’s work:

Environmental Education Media Project: http://eempc.org/
What If We Change restoration media project:
http://www.whatifwechange.org
Restoring Large Scaled Damaged Ecological Systems:
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Research, Training and Innovation Centers for Ecological Restoration:
https://www.facebook.com/Innovationce…
Papers and other documentaries: https://knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu

New Study on Soil Carbon Sequestration Limits

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-9-55-07-am The Guardian highlighted a new study on soil carbon sequestration, concluding that “widely assumed potential for carbon sequestration to combat climate change has been overestimated by as much as 40%.”

Here’s a clip:

“Scientists from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) found that models used by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assume a much faster cycling of carbon through soils than is actually the case. Data taken from 157 soil samples taken from around the world show the average age of soil carbon is more than six times older than previously thought.

This means it will take hundreds or even thousands of years for soils to soak up large amounts of the extra CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by human activity – far too long to be relied upon as a way to help the world avoid dangerous global warming this century.

“A substantial amount of the greenhouse gas that we thought was being taken up and stored in the soil is actually going to stay in the atmosphere,” said study co-author Steven Allison, UCI associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and Earth system science.

CO2 in Atmosphere down to Preindustrial rates in Greenland


At last, some good news about the environment.

A recent analysis of core samples taken from Greenland’s ice sheet shows that levels of a common form of air pollution have dropped almost to preindustrial levels. Just take a look at the graph below:


This graph of acid content in Greenland ice cores shows how the acidity of the atmosphere rose from the 1950s through the 1970s before declining sharply.

However, these graphs do not account for the world atmosphere and it is unlikely that the USA has close to preindustrial rates.

 

The thirst for meat is rising worldwide at a rate that is unsustainable under the current model for production. This TED Talk provides a possible solution to some major issues: desertification, an increased demand for meat and climate change on the whole.  This is a radical idea, but it provides a paradigm for working with nature rather than leaving it to it’s own devices. We as humans are still animals and can provide an ecosystem service that can have benefits for all species living on this planet. We must come to terms with the reality that is before us, instead of fantasizing about an idealized outcome. Life is hard and it should be; one must struggle to ensure that progress is made. This talk may seem counter-intuitive to what most believe to be true, but if one were to look at how nature works at an optimum level, death and population correction is one of the most crucial parts of the equation. For an example, simply look at deer in Iowa, Kangaroo in Australia or what happened in Yellowstone after the wolves were eradicated. Without an apex predator, populations of some go out of control and destroy an even larger area than humans could. Finding a niche is the only way we can prosper and that niche is not from the outside looking in.

We must be participants in the ecological world using the most valuable tool nature gave us… our brain.

 

Intentional Cooperative Agriculture

Dan Barber, a famous chef from New York City, talks about his profound experience of seeing the best foie gras in the world being cultivated by a rancher in Spain. This talk highlights the missing link between our food and our lives. Many people think that food comes from the store and heat comes from the furnace. As a former chef, I can attest that most do not know and do not want to know where the they eat comes from… especially fine dining. A process like gavage is a prime example of humans manipulating nature to attain a product that is made naturally if one has the patience.