The idea that we can't feed ourselves with sustainable means is scoffed at by many. Without oil, pesticides, and GMOs we will certainly starve we are told by an establishment that sometimes seems without conscience.
Imagine you’re a cat, and, every time you meowed, the loud voice of a snooty-sounding British gentleman kindly informed your human guardian of your every thought and feeling (well, the thoughts and feelings you had before you were terrified by the sound of the voice).
We live in a world where time is all important. Nanoseconds mark the difference between success or failure to make an electronic transaction and where we are continuously reminded of “the time”: of being early or late, of having missed an appointment or arriving “before time”. In today’s world, time now governs our life.
It’s hard to avoid stress, and the expectation that we are camels with unbreakable backs. I know this from personal experience as part of the “squeezed generation” with young children, an old parent and a demanding job.
These herbs aren't just for cooking—here's how you can use them to treat ailments from asthma to anxiety.
Urban flooding represents the most common yet severe environmental threat to cities and towns worldwide. Future changes in rainfall extremes are likely to increase this threat, even in areas that could become drier.
If we as humans can feel more beauty in ourselves, in our homes, in our environment, how much that can change our very experience of life itself. If we see and experience more beauty in the world then we can't help but being touched and moved by it.
A sustainable film made from a byproduct of kombucha tea could be a new material for clothing, shoes, or handbags.
About six months after Morris first appeared at Lauren’s door, he started to appear at my door instead. All my life I’d had a cat phobia. Cats terrified me so much that I had recurrent nightmares about a cat jumping from a tall staircase and landing on the back of my neck.
Ancient Athens shows what to do. Rome shows what not to do. Two questions to ask: What are cities for? Who owns them?
With more people than ever living in cities, how do we reconcile our need for fresh fruit and vegetables with the challenges of life in an urban environment where the time and space for gardening are limited?
Tests show a new air-cleaning system easily removed the rotten egg smells of pig farming and wastewater treatment.
Cockroaches are a very ancient group of insects. They have been around virtually unchanged in general appearance since the Carboniferous period, more than 300 million years ago. Technically speaking they are in the Order Blattodea (the same level of classification as, for instance, all butterflies and moths).
A German shepherd with a sloping back that was awarded best of breed brought the dog show Crufts in for this year’s annual bout of criticism. Viewers took to social media to accuse the owner of animal cruelty by suggesting that its unusual shape meant the dog must suffer health problems brought on by inbreeding – something the owner denied.
Dog owners might disagree, but as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, all dogs are just dogs. It may seem odd that Canis (lupus) familiaris extends from rabbit-sized Chihuahuas to Great Danes which can be almost the size of a small pony, whereas seemingly much smaller differences place many animals into separate species or sub-species.
Some farmers have turned to less chemically-intensive techniques to reduce the negative impact of agriculture, such as organic farming, which has been shown to outperform conventional farming by many standards of environmental sustainability. The question is whether we can meet the demand for food, which is predicted to rise substantially in the next 50 years.
Home alone? Hardly. Our homes are positively swarming with creatures of all kinds. In our new series, we’ll be profiling the “hidden housemates” that live with us.
Homebuyers respond well to green features such as solar panels, rather than stats and figures. If you’ve ever bought a home you’ll know the feeling of deciphering real estate advertising spin. But those advertisements traditionally don’t tell you about how much
Technology’s promise of wonderful things in the future stretches from science fiction to science fact: self-driving cars, virtual reality, smart devices such as Google Glass, and the internet of things are designed to make our lives easier and more productive.
For most of us, commuting is a task to be endured. Busy, noisy and often cramped, the world’s underground transport systems are places that we humans tolerate as a matter of necessity. But not so for Moscow’s “metro dogs”.
On a hilly slope in São Paulo City, a group of sixth graders is busy at work. They’re armed with seeds, soil and a range of gardening tools. Upside-down soda bottles, filled with water, outline a series of rectangular garden plots.
Sydney’s first Muji store opened in 2015 and with it came attractive minimalism, simplicity, and functionality – a kind of consumption that was somehow about consuming less.
Can dogs tell when we are happy, sad or angry? As a dog owner, I feel confident not only that I can tell what kind of emotional state my pets are in, but also that they respond to my emotions. Yet as a hard-headed scientist, I try to take a more rational and pragmatic view. These personal observations seem more likely to result from my desire for a good relationship with my dogs.
The environmental and nutrient impact of our food choices had been on my mind for several weeks when a year-old article in the Telegraph recently came to my attention, prompting me to assemble the thoughts that had been gradually coalescing.
Christmas is typically a time for celebrating and spending time with loved ones. But while we party, give lavish presents, and visit our families, we can sometimes overlook how some very important family members — our pets — might be affected.
More than half the planet’s population now live in cities, with limited access to the natural world. For Europe and Latin America, the figure is more than 70%. Yet contact with nature has numerous benefits for both our physical and mental health.
Carbon Monoxide is a much-publicised invisible killer. But there’s another little-known gas that kills 27 times more people, causing the deaths of 1,100 people a year in the UK alone. Worse still, it could be seeping into your home.
Anyone who’s watched a cat throwing up after munching on grass knows that our feline friends aren’t natural plant eaters. So you might be surprised to discover that these carnivorous animals share some important genes that are more typically associated with herbivores. And this might help explain why cats aren’t always easy to please when it comes to food.
Concerns about environmental damage caused by costly chemicals and worries about climate change are altering farming methods in the mountains of Nepal.
In a world where clever marketing distracts us from the actual ingredients in our toiletries, it’s hard to know exactly what we’re using to wash our bodies.
Hummingbirds live life at incomprehensible speeds. Their flight acrobatics are amazing, maneuvering more like insects than birds as they flit around, flying upside down and even backwards. They’re a blur as they race between flowers. When they do pause to visit a flower momentarily, they’re licking 15 to 20 times a second to extract their nectar fuel.
In the 1960s, I knew people who, before going on vacation, would take their dogs to a shelter to be euthanized. They reasoned that it was cheaper to have a dog euthanized – and buy a new one upon returning – than pay a kennel fee.
After a day of stress, of decision making, of kid's fights to referee -- when your body is tense and depression is knocking at your mind's front door...what could possibly be the ticket to relief? Could it be as simple as stepping outside to gaze at the night moon?
Life, for foragers, can be more secure for the simple fact that they understand crop failures happen. Thus, we learn not to depend wholly on one type of food. The lovely thing about foraging is that there are always alternatives. In nature, there are usually plenty of options, and all of them are free.
Your morning coffee might be a thing of the past if bees disappear, and if coffee isn’t your thing, you undoubtedly eat many of the fruit and vegetables (and chocolate) that rely on bee pollination for survival.
News of my communications with the horses had spread in the small Costa Rican community. The horsemen, the veterinarian, and the cabin retreat employees were all aware of it. Some had reacted with apprehension, suspicious of my abilities, while others were afraid that I might be reading their minds, too.
Most people have never heard of Norman Borlaug. He is, thus far, the only agricultural scientist ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. His work in the development of high-yielding and disease-resistant cereal crops saved more than one billion (yes, billion) people from starvation.
The key to gardening is dirt. If you can grow good dirt now, you can grow good vegetables this spring. And you don’t have to run to the garden store to load up on boxes and bags of stuff to do it if you start early and think of it as a year-round project.
The key characteristic of the loving landscape is healthy, living soils which foster plant and animal health without artificial inputs. Compost, mulch and worms form the holy trinity of organic soil health.
Midway through spring, the nearly bare planting beds of Carolyn Leadley’s Rising Pheasant Farms, in the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit, barely foreshadow the cornucopian abundance to come. It will be many months before Leadley is selling produce from this one-fifth-acre plot.
Both compost and mulch foster the life of the soil, and both are important components of the loving landscape. Sometimes they are confused for one another, but they are quite different animals. Compost, which we talked about last week, is more nutrient rich than mulch. It’s full of life, and inoculates soil with that life.
A Latino family strolls leisurely through the park, immersed in conversation. Coming up fast behind is a blonde woman in designer exercise gear and earplugs, intent on maintaining her power-walking pace. Bringing up the rear is a young man with his Husky, both of them staring up at a patch of sun that has appeared from behind the clouds.
So, let’s say we want to play nice with the rest of nature. Let’s say we want public parks, yards and gardens which exist for more than show, spaces which support a diversity of life, steward our resources wisely and are a joy to the eye. We’ve got to change the existing lifeless paradigm of lawn and hedge and disposable annual flowers.
Surprisingly, the diversity of birds in suburban areas can be greater than in forested areas, according to the new book Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife (Yale University Press, 2014).
Common products, including the ones labeled “green,” “all-natural,” “non-toxic,” and “organic,” emit a range of compounds that could harm human health and air quality, according to a new study. But most of these ingredients are not disclosed to consumers.
I share the treasure I have received in communicating with horses so that other people may better understand their inner world, and the ways it can help us understand our own. And for those who ride or own horses, I tell this story as another way for you to learn to trust what you hear when your horse needs to speak.
How we will live a few decades from now is anything but clear, despite predictions from our wisest architects, planners, politicians, philosophers, futurists, and science fiction writers. As we reimagine our future cities, we can make room for nature and humanity.
Straw is cheap, good for the environment and an excellent insulator. So why don’t we see more straw houses? Unless we suddenly stop eating bread or cereal it’ll keep being produced anyway, and the excess straw in the UK alone could build a new city each year.
The Posey homestead probably wouldn't strike most Americans as a vision of paradise. We lived on dunes dotted with creosote and mesquite bushes, cactus and yucca. Mostly, the land was bare sand. We had seven or eight inches of total precipitation a year...
Researchers in Los Angeles find that saving money is not the most powerful message in persuading people to reduce the amount of electricity they use.
What is a house? I feel this is a dangerous question, which holds within it the seeds of a disruptive innovation, so read on at your own risk. Rethinking what a house is could change your life, and perhaps the world. Let me explain through my own experience.
You don't need a garden to grow mushrooms—any cool, shady space will do, even a cupboard or dark corner. It’s fairly easy to grow oyster mushrooms indoors in a bag or a 2-gallon bucket using sawdust or spent coffee grounds as the growing medium.
The way people react to colors is due to a mix of physiological, sociological and spiritual factors. What works in one society does not always work in another. Likewise, the knowledge that has come out of the mystery schools often needs to be adjusted to apply to modern tastes.
Feng Shui focuses on enhancing the harmony and vitality of your environment. Surrounding yourself with things that lift your spirits and deepen your love for life is a primary goal. Surround yourself with only those items that pass the "I love this!" test. Ch'i is always enhanced by your joy, inspiration, and creativity.
While urban farming is not a new concept, it is making a modern comeback. The benefits of urban farming well surpass the nutrition aspect, though of course that is a major part of it.
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...
It can take time for dogs and cats who have never met to acclimate to each other, but many dogs and cats can coexist peacefully and happily together, and great friendships can develop between them. Here are some guidelines to follow to make this possible in your...
Human speech is complex, communicating not only words but also tone, as well as information about the speaker such as their gender and identity. To what extent can a dog pick up on these different cues? In our study, we’ve found that your dog may understand more than he lets on.
When foraging, as with gardening, it is important to know what is available where one lives. The best way to forage is to simply get outside, slow down and walk around, listening and looking. This is really the only way to get to know an area, but when driving anywhere, we will...
Growers wishing to produce crops over as long a season as possible use various methods to extend the survival of frost-tender crops beyond the first fall frosts, keep semi-hardy crops alive through the winter, and boost winter production of hardy crops...
We have to empty out our hiding places and commit to no more hiding. Think of the closet that you open just a crack, shove your possession in, and close as quickly as possible. Think of the junk drawer. Think of your garage or your attic...
Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.
When a dog behaves unnaturally in response to any neurotic, chaotic, or disruptive energy taken on from humans, he tends to look confused because he has nowhere to put the energy that is reverberating within him. He doesn’t really know why he is acting out, nor does his behavior make the least bit of sense to him.
For years, many of us have kept an eye out for organic and pesticide free vendors at our local farmers markets. Thanks to a new movement hitting the American food scene, we may soon be looking for another important environmental marker: open source seeds. At least, that is the goal of...
My dogs had the ability to know what I needed before I did. And, they catered to me on a very spiritual almost human-like plane. It was all I knew. I thought that was how life truly worked...
A group of the National Zoo's Asian Small-Clawed Otters recently performed a genre (and species) shattering song: a discordant, eight-pawed keyboard jam that will guarantee a loyal fan base at the Smithsonian, if not a Carnegie Hall spotlight.
Love is the stuff of dreams, drama, and dread, as well as agony and ecstasy. And yet who among us can live without it? Scientific research has shown that both plants and people perish without attention and care.
There’s something appealing about seeding a yard or garden with the plants that belong there. And in the era of drought and climate change, it’s more effective, too.
So often I hear people mutter, “If only my dog could talk. Then I would know what it really wants. I would know what to do!” All the while I am thinking — they are communicating with you. They are communicating with you more than you communicate with yourself. That is the problem.
Plants reacting to climate change have two strategies to deal with increasing warmth: they escape the heat either by moving towards the poles, or by flowering sooner.
Once we decided to really make foraging a part of our life rather than just some summer-day hobby, like picking trail nibbles when on a hike, we became keenly aware of how little we really knew. We realized that there will always be more to learn about local plants and...
Biodynamic farming offers us a way to both cherish the Earth and attend to the process of growing foods and raising animals properly. According to activist and CSA owner and educator Allan Balliett, biodynamic farming is “a spiritual approach to growing.” Biodynamic farmers “try to take into account all of the forces that affect plant growth and their nutritional value.”
We love our animals, and when they're sick, we want to take extra special care of them. The good news is that you don't have to be a veterinarian to heal a pet. You have the power to influence your pet's healing...
The major lack in most home-garden compost is nitrogen. This deficiency almost always happens because the decomposition process doesn't go far enough. So when this pseudo-compost is mixed into soil, it does not release an abundance of plant nutrients...
Everything we bring into our lives, we will eventually have to get rid of. As our awareness grows, we see that everything we surround ourselves with and spend our energy on has a direct effect on our soul. Everything. So unless you really need something or you are very clear its presence supports your soul’s expression...
Before Scout entered Celia’s life, she rarely went outside and now she was walking around in her neighborhood for hours a day. Celia found herself interacting more frequently with other people...
For those of us attempting to grow a large portion of our calories ourselves, tomatoes and lettuce are not sufficient. So I've compiled a list of plants, both annual and perennial, that I think are an important addition to many home gardens...
Since over half of humanity now lives in our cities, it is important that food-growing facilities be established where the people are. Imagine how much fuel could be saved if we actually grew our food in our city centers...
Conflict in a garden is all too easy to generate. I remember planting a couple of Bauhinia galpinii shrubs in a garden bed near one of our car ports. When, after five years, it proved difficult to find the entrance to the car port...
I know a fair bit about a lot in the garden, most of it practical, but my great fascination is with the metaphysical aspect, that forever-unfolding energy of life expressing in the garden. For me, a garden is a place to connect with Nature, life, and living...
A tomato seed, which costs only pennies, can grow into a plant that can produce twenty or more pounds of fresh, organic food. In addition to the financial benefits, gardening provides you with a reason to go outside...
A dog is not only man's best friend, a dog can also be a dog's best friend. And such is the case with the Husky Isaac who happens to be blind, and his best buddy, the little dog Isabella, who has taken it upon herself to be his seeing eye dog.
The Animal Messenger teachings revealed to me the true meaning of sanctuary: a place to feel safe, a place where one can be completely oneself, a place of deep connection on a heart and spirit level, a place of love, honor, and respect for all beings...
The Power of One: One man in India transformed 1,360-acres (approx. 2 square miles) of barren sand into a lush jungle which harbors not only birds, butterflies, and miscellaneous flora, also provides a home for rhinos, tigers and elephants.
I like to think that people are at least as smart as dogs, and something inside each of us recognizes and respects wisdom, beauty, and authentic love. When you are connected to higher power, doors open in miraculous ways.
The director had said the trainers "love" their elephants. "How could they treat them that way?" I asked. My question expanded to, "How can people do all the awful things they do to each other and to animals?" I began to try to feel compassion for...
Every time I enter my home, I feel as if I am walking into a sacred temple, a place where my body, mind, and soul can rest from the busy day. I have consciously organized my SoulSpace so that it makes me feel cared for and supported. It allows me to...
When my son and I walked into the basement of John's rural ranch house, the room was well lit and warm from the plant growing lights. The air smelled moist and fresh. The plants I saw were healthy and huge and the fish were active and...
While some people may think of pets simply as companions or playthings, it is coming to the forefront that pets are and can be so much more. My cat, who has been with me for 13 years now, has shown caregiver tendencies. What do I mean by that?
Sweet basil’s many herbal uses include culinary, landscaping, medicinal, and spiritual, and the essential oil can be found in fragrances and insect repellents. Cultivated largely as a culinary herb and often associated with Italian cuisine, basil is excellent in tomato-based dishes. It is also used cooked or raw in...
One of my first awakenings to the myriad benefits of community gardens was when the community police officer in a troubled neighborhood in Vancouver helped get one started. She wanted a project for the homeless people hanging around the neighborhood. They embraced it eagerly...
Apple has expanded its outreach. In their search to claim even more of "market share", they have apparently discovered a niche market for iPad games.
Several years ago I discovered something powerful about the dogs who share many of our lives. While all dogs provide love, comfort, joy, and support, for some people, dogs actually have the ability to transform lives.
I’m often asked if there is anything that can be done to prevent arthritis in dogs and cats. Here are my tips to “prevent,” “minimize the chance of,” or “delay the onset of” arthritis in your dog or cat.
It is important to consider how diet can affect the pet with arthritis. Let’s take a look at pet foods first, then we’ll talk about obesity and how controlling this major health problem can help the pet with arthritis walk more comfortably.
Living with more than one dog can be a rewarding experience. Dogs love the company of other dogs. Knowing how to prevent problems and teaching dogs how to share resources so they do not bully each other, or pester you, is pivotal to having a harmonious...
People often call to ask me to tell their animal something using my intuitive communication skills. They are surprised when I say that they don't have to hire me to talk to their animal. Animals are masters at intuitive communication, they will receive every...