The holiday season is already a booming time for online shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic increases the likelihood that when people shop this holiday season, they will choose online shopping over brick-and-mortar stores.
Hanako, a female Asian elephant, lived in a tiny concrete enclosure at Japan’s Inokashira Park Zoo for more than 60 years, often in chains, with no stimulation.
Can anything be as joyous as a dog? Bounding ahead, crashing into the bushes while out on a walk, happy, happy, happy. Conversely, can anything be as disappointed as a dog when you say, "No, we are not going for a walk"? Pure joy, pure disappointment.
The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus.
The internet is filled with blogs and articles offering advice for parents who are trying to coax children into eating greens.
The sausages are sizzling, the burgers browned, and the beer is cold. You’re all set for the perfect end-of-summer BBQ. Alfresco dining, drinks in a garden of a country pub, ice-creams... And then an unwanted visitor arrives.
Since lockdown, public interest in growing fruit and vegetables at home has soared. Seed packets are flying off shelves and allotment waiting lists are swelling, with one council receiving a 300% increase in applications.
SARS-CoV-2 almost certainly originated in an animal. But ever since the virus infected humans the outbreak has been driven by efficient human-to-human transmission, resulting in the current pandemic.
As many states and cities across the U.S. struggle to control COVID-19 transmission, one challenge is curbing the spread among people living in close quarters.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, it’s a good time to understand how cleaning can help prevent the spread of disease and what you can do to cut the risk of infection in your home.
Over 200 scientists, including myself, signed a letter that was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on July 6 2020 saying that COVID is not only spread by touch and droplets sprayed from the mouth and nose but, importantly, via a third route too.
A number of conservationists claim cats are a zombie apocalypse for biodiversity that need to be removed from the outdoors by “any means necessary” – coded language for shooting, trapping and poisoning.
Domestication, for an animal, means not being completely free to roam or to even eat as they please. Pets therefore align with their humans for only one of two reasons: either by their own choice or from a place of surrender. When they do, they have a powerful impact on our lives.
In this post, I share a few of the communications and transmissions from some of the non-human wisdom teachers I’ve connected with about our global situation, and in particular, the crucible of the novel corona virus in our human experience.
By the standards set by modern medicine, healing shouldn’t work. However, we know that it does. We don’t quite understand how or why, but when we witness the miraculous results of simply the laying-on of hands, of herbal remedies or of...
Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they’re growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers’ shelves.
While most people see a full spectrum of colors from red to violet, dogs lack some of the light receptors in their eyes that allow human beings to see certain colors, particularly in the red and green range.
Many of us have been spending more time at home than ever before, and chances are unless you live by yourself in the middle of nowhere, at some point unwanted noise will have infiltrated your lockdown.
Summer is a great time to get out and about with your dog. But dogs don’t tolerate the heat as well as their owners. When people get hot they start to sweat, but dogs are only able to do this through the pads on their paws.
As temperatures begin to warm up, it might be tempting to take your dog for a long walk or run to soak up the weather while it lasts. But it’s important to exercise caution, as dogs can easily develop heatstroke in hot temperatures.
The more neurotic and anxious cat owners are, the more trust and affection they have for their cat, researchers say.
Some of the fruits and vegetables you buy have seeds in them. Can you plant those? It depends.
Rapid acceleration of coronavirus-related infections and fatalities in countries like Italy, Spain and the United States has led to widespread bans on communal activities, global restrictions on travel and an increasing reliance on virtual interactions.
Many Americans are now experiencing an erratic food supply for the first time. Among COVID-19’s disruptions are bare supermarket shelves and items available yesterday but nowhere to be found today.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our homes have been serving as makeshift workplaces, schools, gyms and pubs.
To protect our native wildlife, who never evolved with such an efficient predator, it’s imperative we keep our cats contained – all day, every day.
Your pet can tell you a great deal about yourself because the animal takes its cue from you when interpreting life. Yes, whether you have a dog, a cat, or a canary, their disposition will mirror your own. If you're fearful, hostile, or aggressive, the animal will accordingly reflect timidity, anger, or will attack you.
You've heard of watchdogs who let people know when danger is near, but our yellow Labrador retriever, Taylor, lets us know when love is lurking. Linda began to notice that when Allen was away and called home, Taylor often knew about it in advance. About a second before the telephone rang...
When you settle down for bed, after the birds and bees have hushed, moths are just starting their work.
We know feral cats are an enormous problem for wildlife – across Australia, feral cats collectively kill more than three billion animals per year.
My niece is sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s making sourdough starter for the first time because she couldn’t find any dry yeast.
With the arrival of spring, many people have been starting to think about how COVID-19 will impact the affordability and availability of fruits and vegetables in coming months, as shortages of both honeybees and migrant workers threaten crop pollination and the food that comes with it.
Speak to many dog owners and they will tell you that their once perfectly behaved puppy started to become “difficult” at around six to 12 months of age.
A lot of people are facing ethical decisions about their daily life as a result of the coronavirus.
Insects, which include more than a million known species, represent roughly two-thirds of the described biodiversity on Earth.
Many people are trying to grow their own food during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Hands are sketching plans onto paper.
The first days of spring – brighter and warmer – are a biological trigger for female bees to wake up from hibernation and begin to build future colonies.
In Hong Kong the majority of businesses and families with economic clout consult Feng Shui experts before buying land or beginning construction on their homes or buildings. A real estate advertisement mentions of the quality of Feng Shui present in the design and the shape of the building...
Tiny houses have been heralded as a radical and creative way to address a lack of affordable housing, as well as reducing living costs and shrinking our carbon footprint.
During coronavirus lockdowns, gardens have served as an escape from feelings of alienation. Richard Bord/Getty Images
The coronavirus pandemic has set off a global gardening boom.
In the early days of lockdown, seed suppliers were depleted of inventory and reported “unprecedented” demand. Within the U.S., the trend has been compared to World War II victory gardening, when Americans grew food at home to support the war effort and feed their families.
The analogy is surely convenient. But it reveals only one piece in a much bigger story about why people garden in hard times. Americans have long turned to the soil in moments of upheaval to manage anxieties and imagine alternatives. My research has even led me to see gardening as a hidden landscape of desire for belonging and connection; for contact with nature; and for creative expression and improved health.
These motives have varied across time as growers respond to different historical circumstances. Today, what drives people to garden may not be the fear of hunger so much as hunger for physical contact, hope for nature’s resilience and a longing to engage in work that is real.
Why Americans garden
Prior to industrialization, most Americans were farmers and would have considered it odd to grow food as a leisure activity. But as they moved into cities and suburbs to take factory and office jobs, coming home to putter around in one’s potato beds took on a kind of novelty. Gardening also appealed to nostalgia for the passing of traditional farm life.
For black Americans denied the opportunity to abandon subsistence work, Jim Crow-era gardening reflected a different set of desires.
In her essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” Alice Walker recalls her mother tending an extravagant flower garden late at night after finishing brutal days of field labor. As a child, she wondered why anyone would voluntarily add one more task to such a difficult life. Later, Walker understood that gardening wasn’t just another form of labor; it was an act of artistic expression.
Particularly for black women relegated to society’s least desirable jobs, gardening offered the chance to reshape a small piece of the world in, as Walker put it, one’s “personal image of Beauty.”
This isn’t to say that food is always a secondary factor in gardening passions. Convenience cuisine in the 1950s spawned its own generation of home-growers and back-to-the-land movements rebelling against a mid-century diet now infamous for Jell-O mold salads, canned-food casseroles, TV dinner and Tang.
For millennial-era growers, gardens have responded to longings for community and inclusion, especially among marginalized groups. Immigrants and inner-city residents lacking access to green space and fresh produce have taken up “guerrilla gardening” in vacant lots to revitalize their communities.
In 2011, Ron Finley – a resident of South Central L.A. and self-identified “gangsta gardener” – was even threatened with arrest for installing vegetable plots along sidewalks.
Such appropriations of public space for community use are often seen as threats to existing power structures. Moreover, many people can’t wrap their heads around the idea that someone would spend time cultivating a garden but not reap all of the rewards.
When reporters asked Finley if he were concerned that people would steal the food, he replied, “Hell no I ain’t afraid they’re gonna steal it, that’s why it’s on the street!”
Gardening in the age of screens
Since the lockdown began, I’ve watched my sister Amanda Fritzsche transform her neglected backyard in Cayucos, California, into a blooming sanctuary. She has also gotten into Zoom workouts, binged on Netflix and joined online happy hours. But as the weeks stretch into months, she seems to have less energy for those virtual encounters.
Gardening, on the other hand, has overtaken her life. Plantings that started out back have expanded around the side of the house, and gardening sessions have stretched later into the evening, when she sometimes works by headlamp.
When I asked about her new obsession, Amanda kept returning to her unease with screen time. She told me that virtual sessions gave a momentary boost, but “there’s always something missing … an empty feeling when you log off.”
Many can probably sense what’s missing. It’s the physical presence of others, and the opportunity to use our bodies in ways that matter. It’s the same longing for community that fills coffee shops with fellow gig workers and yoga studios with the heat of other bodies. It’s the electricity of the crowd at a concert, the students whispering behind you in class.
And so if the novel coronavirus underscores an age of distancing, gardening arises as an antidote, extending the promise of contact with something real. My sister talked about this, too: how gardening appealed to the whole body, naming sensory pleasures like “hearing song birds and insects, tasting herbs, the smell of dirt and flowers, the warm sun and satisfying ache.” While the virtual world may have its own ability to absorb attention, it is not immersive in the way gardening can be.
But this season, gardening is about more than physical activity for the sake of activity. Robin Wallace, owner of a photo production business in Camarillo, California, noted how the lockdown made her professional identity “suddenly irrelevant” as a “non-essential” worker. She went on to point out a key benefit of her garden: “The gardener is never without a purpose, a schedule, a mission.”
As automation and better algorithms make more forms of work obsolete, that longing for purpose gains special urgency. Gardens are a reminder that there are limits to what can be done without physical presence. As with handshakes and hugs, one cannot garden through a screen.
You might pick up skills from YouTube, but, as gardening icon Russell Page once wrote, real expertise comes from directly handling plants, “getting to know their likes and dislikes by smell and touch. ‘Book learning’ gave me information,” he explained, “but only physical contact can give any real … understanding of a live organism.”
Filling the void
Page’s observation suggests a final reason why the coronavirus pandemic has ignited such a flurry of gardening. Our era is one of profound loneliness, and the proliferation of digital devices is only one of the causes. That emptiness also proceeds from the staggering retreat of nature, a process underway well before screen addiction. The people coming of age during the COVID-19 pandemic have already witnessed oceans die and glaciers disappear, watched Australia and the Amazon burn and mourned the astonishing loss of global wildlife.
Perhaps this explains why stories of nature’s “comeback” are continually popping up alongside those gardening headlines. We cheer at images of animals reclaiming abandoned spaces and birds filling skies cleared of pollution. Some of these accounts are credible, others dubious. What matters, I think, is that they offer a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be: In a time of immense suffering and climate breakdown, we are desperate for signs of life’s resilience.
My final conversation with Wallace offered a clue as to how this desire is also fueling today’s gardening craze. She marveled at how life in the garden continues to “spring forth in our absence, or even because of our absence.” Then she closed with an insight at once “liberating” and “humiliating” that touches on hopes reaching far beyond the nation’s backyards: “No matter what we do, or how the conference call goes, the garden will carry on, with or without us.”
About The Author
Jennifer Atkinson, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies, University of Washington
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are working from home in close proximity to our human children or fur babies.
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