Sharing the burden without sharing a strategy

According to Brookings, as the 2018 NATO summit begins in the shadow of President Donald Trump’s letters to allies demanding greater defense spending, the issue of burden-sharing once again will dominate the agenda. Though Trump’s consistent berating of allies may indeed spur higher defense spending, effective burden-sharing depends on a foundational belief in shared interests. The administration’s “America First” outlook, however, has prioritized U.S. autonomy above all else—an approach that may maximize short-term U.S. freedom of action, but at the expense of American influence and power over the long run.

Sovereignty has been the leitmotif of the Trump presidency. From the early days of his campaign, then-candidate Trump promised to “never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs.” He made headlines focusing his first U.N. speech on the concept—employing the word 21 times. The theme continues to motivate his rallies. Trump and key members of his team, like National Security Advisor John Bolton, reflect a school of hard sovereigntists who view external constraints on U.S. freedom of action as damaging to American sovereignty and interests.

Yet, as Stewart Patrick outlines in The Sovereignty Wars, sovereignty is not a unitary concept but rather a multifaceted one, the pieces of which are often in tension with each other. Enhancing one aspect of sovereignty comes at the expense of another. In the case of alliances and burden-sharing, this tension manifests most clearly in tradeoffs between a country’s “sovereignty-as-autonomy” and “sovereignty-as-influence.” A nation, consequently, must balance its ability “to make and implement decisions independently” against whether acting alone provides an “effective capacity to advance its interests.”

From the beginning, U.S. membership in NATO has forced compromises between autonomy and influence. The United States has consistently sought engagement while jealously guarding its independence.

Down to earth and sharing the view

According to Rural Life, Patrick and Amber Tyrrell are genuinely living the dream. It sounds a little like something out of a film script:  South African farmer’s son meets Waitaki Valley farmer’s daughter in a co-operative agricultural community in the Israeli desert.

Eventually, they move to the Waitaki Valley, where they build an off-the-grid home with spectacular views, and focus on getting down to earth — literally. In February last year, Mr. and Mrs. Tyrrell launched Valley Views Glamping  (glamorous camping) on their property in the foothills below Mount Domett.

“It feels like we’ve found our calling in life,” Mrs. Tyrrell said. Establishing such a business in what many overseas visitors would consider being the backblocks was a big risk, they acknowledged. But it was fast paying off as they encountered visitors from around the world, with whom they could share their story and vision.

“Stuck up here up this hill, looking at the beautiful view, we had no-one to share it with before — [Now] we’re sharing it with people all over the world. Even the locals don’t know what’s up to these side roads,” Mrs. Tyrrell said.

Mrs. Tyrrell (nee Slee) grew up on a farm just down the road from Valley Views, while her husband came from a farm on South Africa’s Eastern Cape, about 100km from Port Elizabeth, which produced citrus, tobacco, and vegetables.

It was a very similar area to the Waitaki Valley, although it had a different kind of beauty, the trained civil engineer said. The couple met in Israel, during their overseas adventures, and was married 25 years ago. They later settled in Christchurch and bought their 40ha property, near Otiake, at the end of 2007. Their vision was simple — they wanted to build an off-the-grid house, they wanted a view, some trees, and a creek, and they wanted to live a self-sustainable lifestyle. “We’re all about being kind to the earth,” Mrs. Tyrrell said.

Measuring life on Earth

According to Atlas Obscura, it’s hard to conduct a census of all of the living stuff scattered across Earth. The planet’s citizens—in the forms of tiny ocean bacteria, galloping mammals, or tangles of terrestrial plants—are found all over the place, from submarine fissures to craggy mountaintops. Many of these residents don’t answer their doorbells or respond to surveys, and they can be difficult to track down: Some spend their lives in realms most humans don’t see up close, and others are far too minuscule to be seen with the naked eye. You’ve got scores of prokaryotic neighbors you’ve never met.

Gauging exactly how much living stuff there is across the planet, and where, is an even trickier business. Most previous work in this vein has been limited to a single taxon—say, for instance, the distribution of microbes in ocean sediment. But researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and the California Institute of Technology recently took a stab at it. Their goal was to calculate the mass and broad-strokes distribution of every living thing across plants, animals, bacteria, and archaea.

To do it, they measured each taxon’s biomass—that is, the weight of all the carbon they contain. Getting there required a bit of contortion. First, they collated hundreds of studies, ranging from field observations to remote data collected by sensors or satellites. (Speaking to The Guardian, the lead author Ron Milo described the process as a “meta-meta-analysis.”) Where this wasn’t available, they estimated—first puzzling out the general population estimate, average weight, and then converting that into suspected biomass, McdVoice survey.

This biomass tactic, the researchers explain, allows them to compare taxa whose members are vastly different sizes (making it possible, for instance, to pit termites against elephants). It doesn’t account for numbers of members, or for the number of species within a particular taxon.

Earth Day Crusade

According to Winds or Star, a new kind of nautical captain is emerging to fight filth along River Canard. Similar to those who adopt stretches of highway and commit to cleaning them of litter, lovers of the outdoors are being commissioned to adopt pieces of a local watershed to help keep them clean.

“People kept saying over the years, ‘Why don’t you do something?’” Ron LaPointe, the owner of River Canard Canoe Co., said of guests whose enjoyment of an Essex County natural jewel was marred by the environmental disrespect shown by others.

Last year, LaPointe helped organize an Earth Day cleanup and the response was modest. This year, after posting photos on social media of the types of trash some messy folks leave behind, “we’ve had a big public response,” he said.

Even before the canoes are passed out April 22 with gloves and garbage bags for participants to haul trash out of the historic watershed, LaPointe said environmentally minded folks are volunteering as river captains, taking on the cleanup responsibility for portions of the Canard.

“The one-day thing is nice, but the real deal is people looking after sections of the river — instead of doing it all in one day, now we can coordinate,” he said. With two couples already commissioned, the captains take on leadership roles, he said, hopefully inspiring others to join the ongoing cleanup effort.

Bottles, cans, and grocery bags are among the mostly plastic garbage that litters many parts of the watershed. LaPointe, who blames “lazy people” for the mess, said it’s no different than in other natural areas in the county and city. In addition to wayward bits of trash, he said there are places along the Canard where vehicles stop to dump household wastes, including roof shingles, pool covers, and hockey nets.

Rain or shine on April 22, volunteers are asked to dress for the weather and gather at River Canard Canoe Co. (9350 Malden Rd.) at 1 p.m. Gloves and bags will be provided. Cleaners can tackle the shoreline or grab a canoe and attack the litter from the water, find liquor store.

This is how we can save Earth

Science fiction writer and ecologist Kim Stanley Robinson penned how we need to empty half the Earth of its humans in order to save the plant. However, his desired method is not by the Green Left’s usual tactic of reducing the population by 50 percent as it is potentially genocidal, find liquor store.

Instead, Robinson introduces a Promethean approach and those are:

  • To build giant, high-tech, efficient cities
  • Minimize the energy costs of transport
  • Concentrate waste treatment
  • Use vertical farms and other techniques to heal the “metabolic rift” where food is grown in one place and consumed somewhere else
  • Prevent the waste product from returning to the soil

 According to Boing Boing, Robinson shared, “So emptying half the Earth of its humans wouldn’t have to be imposed: it’s happening anyway. It would be more a matter of managing how we made the move, and what kind of arrangement we left behind. One important factor here would be to avoid extremes and absolutes of definition and practice, and any sense of idealistic purity. We are mongrel creatures on a mongrel planet, and we have to be flexible to survive.

So these emptied landscapes should not be called wilderness. Wilderness is a good idea in certain contexts, but these emptied lands would be working landscapes, commons perhaps, where pasturage and agriculture might still have a place. All those people in cities still need to eat, and food production requires land.

Even if we start growing food in vats, the feed stocks for those vats will come from the land. These mostly depopulated landscapes would be given over to new kinds of agriculture and pasturage, kinds that include habitat corridors where our fellow creatures can get around without being stopped by fences or killed by trains. This vision is one possible format for our survival on this planet.”

Duty to protect the earth

Only a few people are needed to affect change and one of them is Philippe Joubert. He is the founder of Earth on Board, a group of organizations that includes:

  • ClientEarth
  • CDP
  • B Team
  • We Mean Business
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Their aim is to move boards away from focusing on short-term profits and to put sustainability first in order to build long-term value. “We have to explain that we cannot continue like this. Those who are not going to change are going to …. lose their leadership,” says Joubert.

Joubert has been the adviser of the CEOs since he left the board of rail and power group Alstom in 2014. He wanted an earth competent board, whose members understand the sustainability, exercising fiduciary rules, and the right questions of management. According to Ethical One corporation, one of Earth on Board’s central themes is honesty: “You cannot have an internal discussion of concern over sea level rise or extreme weather, and then externally say ‘it’s all fine’.”

It’s been two years since Joubert set up the Earth on Board and he is still making speeches and conducting seminars. His goal in 2018 is to establish all the interest that has been generated. He believes that it was the exchange of peers drive change, find liquor store.

“We take nature as unlimited and free of charge, but nature is sending signals,” Joubert adds. However, the signals are not always interpreted with alarm. While ice caps are melting, some businesses see opportunities for more business. “Do not ask the business to be altruistic, but they are basically realistic and they understand that they can’t operate profitably if the world is in chaos,” says Joubert.

Furthermore, Joubert found that December’s One Planet summit in Paris was “very much in line with what we’re saying.” Both the board and financial markets are now acknowledged as important actors: “Governments understand that without finance you cannot have changed at the right speed and the right scale.”

How Wildfire works

A book called “The Journal of Ethnobiology” was published late last year. Due to this, critters and fires have lately been in the news, courtesy of the fascinating study, which investigates the so-called “fire hawks.” According to Earth Touch News, the authors discussed the long phenomenon familiar to Aboriginal peoples – the raptors smolder sticks from the bushfires and drop them in the nearby grass, pluck flaming, which therefore sparks a new burn.

Some people may have never experienced the said event, which is definitely disastrous. It is nothing but a trouble to whomever or whatever creature encounters it. In the end, there is a more complicated story behind the intriguing case of firehawks.

At first, many other plant communities do not seem to be flammable. While intervals between fires took centuries or even millennium, one must understand that even cold subalpine woods, northern taiga, temperate rainforest indeed burn. However, as human beings, we became an important source of ignition around the world. We have been starting fires intentionally for thousands of years. This is for the purpose of improving hunt and herd opportunities, to use the land for agriculture and managing crops. Papa Murphy’s survey is the best place to reveal your feedback.

Moreover, a region’s exact fire regime relies on the overall suite of factors. Always be reminded that a place that burns frequently tends to encounter low-intensity fire. This is because there is not much time to build up much fuel. On the other hand, countryside that ignites once every few centuries nourish bigger and fiercer fires.

Furthermore, a raging fire in the forest may look apocalyptic and some individuals may perish in it. But this blaze can help the mountains be rejuvenated in terms of local wildlife and other resources. It becomes a unique chance for other species especially alive to capitalize on the post-fire landscape.

Astronauts describe Earth from Space

Most people do not know what it is like to gaze at Earth from space but astronauts do. Has the view of the Pale Blue Dot ever crossed your mind? Nadia Drake recently wrote for the cover story of National Geographic’s new issue. The talented science writer shared the astronaut’s experience – seeing planet earth from the space, which changed them forever.

“You have got this planet beneath you, and a lot of what you see, especially during the day, does not necessarily point to a human presence. If you look at it on a geologic timescale, it is almost like we are this flimsy presence, and we really have to stick together as a human family to make sure we are a permanent presence on this planet and not just this blink of an eye,” Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti told Drake.

According to Boing Boing’s report, Nadia writes the emotional and lovely story:

For the bulk of human history, it’s been impossible to put Earth in cosmic perspective.

Bound by gravity and biology, we can’t easily step outside it, above it, or away from it. For most of us, Earth is inescapably larger than life. Even now, after nearly six decades of human spaceflight, precious few people have rocketed into orbit and seen the sun peeking out from behind that curved horizon. Since 1961, a mere 556 people have had this rarefied experience. Fewer, just 24, have watched Earth shrink in the distance, growing smaller and smaller until it was no larger than the face of a wristwatch. And only six have been completely alone behind the far side of the moon, cut off from a view of our planet as they sailed in an endlessly deep, star-studded sea…

It’s an inherently unnatural thing, spaceflight. After all, our physiology evolved specifically to succeed on this planet, not above it. Perhaps that’s why it can be difficult for astronauts to describe the experience of seeing Earth from space.


Chautauqua Bottoms Nature Preserve

Green Earth Director Stephanie Eichholz said Long Forestry Consultant Group will donate its time and equipment to clear some space, which should have been a while ago. Eichholz said overtime that there has been a natural succession, which filled in the prairie with trees. She believes constant maintenance on the land will allow the seeds from existing trees to spread across the land causing additional growth.

Meanwhile, Eichholz said in 2008 that Green Earth switched from mowing the prairie to burning. She considers this as a better maintenance system. Eichholz adds the organization knew it would have to burn every two years, but it does not have the resources to conduct its own burn. It can be recalled how Green Earth relied on the Saluki Fire Dogs in 2008 and 2011. However, it has not been able to do so since.

Due to this, Eichholz said, “It has really started to fill in. There are trees that are too large to be affected by a fire. And hand clearing would be too labor intensive.” Green Earth has missed the “burn date,” which means it is now too wet to conduct a proper burn.

Eichholz recently got a call from Mike and Chris Long of Long Forestry telling her the company got a new piece of equipment called forestry mulcher and wanted to try it out. The equipment was described as a land clearing method that uses a single machine to grind, cut and clear vegetation. It uses a rotary drum equipped with steel chipper tools to shred vegetation. “They said they would go into the prairie and clear it out,” Eichholz added.

Furthermore, the prairie’s clearing is just one step in Green Earth’s plans to improve the preserve. According to the Southern Illinoisan, the Illinois Department of Natural Resource’s Recreational Trails Program recently awarded the organization with worth $102,000 to upgrade one of the trails at the site to ADA-friendly standards.

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Eat without harming the Earth

Having a meal may be easy but all the eating is not doing the earth any favors. According to The Guardian, Aussie consumers turf around 3.1m tones of edible food each year, which ends up rotting in the landfill. This reportedly gives off methane gases that further harm the environment.

The outlet revealed a simple solution to this issue. People must eat locally produced, chemical-free food and consume it all as what our ancestors did. To share and swap for eating free is also a great choice. Free food sharing movements around the country offer the opportunity to embrace organic food without paying a cent.

The brainchild of Andrew Barker, who lives in Strathalbyn, an hour south of Adelaide, the concept has spread to Perth and Victoria. “The fact that organic food is expensive money immediately precludes a huge percentage of people and means they have to eat fairly nutritionally deficient crap. But sharing is really powerful. People feel joy and happiness when they give freely to one another, whether it’s their neighbor or a complete stranger through a sharing cart,” Barker explained.

Growing your own and developing your green thumb is also a must as it would benefit so many people. Planting seeds and harvesting the resulting bounty can be the biggest food local source. It is worth understanding phrases such as “non-hybrid”, “open-pollinated” and “non-GM” first. Basically, people must avoid genetically modified and chemically bathed seeds or those cross-pollinated to create hybrid plants.

Meanwhile, one can get free ethical food by foraging. Begin to survey at the neighborhood and you will realize that food grows all around us. Plenty of weeds are edible, nutritious and delicious. Furthermore, weed foraging is an art. It is best to avoid accidentally eating sprays, dog pee or poisonous plants.  With ingenuity, preparation and imagination, you can eat delicious food that’s as good for the planet as it is for you.