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.