Spring can be a volatile time characterized by weather of gentle tenacity or bold exuberance.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my niece’s graduation ceremony at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. It was a gentle tenacity sort of day, overcast (at least it didn’t rain), cloudy but comfortable enough in a light jacket. Almost exactly seven years earlier, at my daughter’s graduation, the temperature was twenty degrees colder, and it had snowed the night before.
This weekend’s commencement speaker was appropriate I thought, given those two very different graduation weather days. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Smith class of 1984, delivered a challenging address. She stated that “global climate change is currently the biggest issue facing society today.” The solution, if there is one, depends on “Americans that care deeply about this issue.” She went on stating, “the key to solving global climate change lies in the combined force of everyday things that we can do.”
But it’s a challenge for all of us who care deeply about the health of our planet and our society to make a difference every day.
The biggest factors to climate change are the increased CO2 levels due to fossil fuel emissions, followed by aerosols (particulate matter in the atmosphere) and cement manufacture. Land use, ozone depletion, animal agriculture and deforestation are also big players. Some scientist predict that the consequences will be dire – sea levels rising, increased warm and dry weather which would greatly affect present day agricultural production, and even everyday life.
Over 85 million households in the United States are involved in some form of gardening. These homeowners pose a threat to natural ecosystems, primarily though the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers that affect the water quality in nearby ground water and surface water areas. In Connecticut, this has been documented by a number of studies showing high levels of pesticides and nutrients, primarily nutrients, leaching into drinking water wells and flowing into rivers that enter Long Island sound.
Gardening With Nature is all about sustainability – meeting the needs of people today without spoiling it up for future generations. It’s a way to get you to become a steward of the earth by tilling your soil and growing your own food, while caring about your local and global landscape.
Following the tenants advocated in the five vignettes of the Gardening with Nature will get you started on doing something on an everyday level. It will help you to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint related to gardening and land use.
Congresswoman Baldwin related a story about a favorite mathematical professor she had who would assign insolvable problems, those with no correct answer.
So she challenged the class 2009, “use your abundant talents to focus on solving insolvable problems – be the kind of leader to inspire talents in others.”
I think we may have some solutions to those insolvable problems if we all work together on them. And what better place to start than in your own garden.
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