Nature Deficit Disorder: It’s a thing

View from Buzzard Rock in George Washington National Forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently returned from a three day backpacking trip in a remote area of the George Washington National Forest. It was a much needed vacation from my urban-focused life, allowing me to reconnect with nature, and helping ward off symptoms of Nature Deficit Disorder. Yes, that is a thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the city, and actually prefer it to a rural or suburban lifestyle. But as someone who has also spent significant periods of their life residing in rural places, I recognize …read more

Composting in the City

I first learned about composting in 2009 while living in an intentional community in the upper level of a rehabbed church in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Seven of us shared one refrigerator, one common living area, and one small trash can, and one even smaller trash can. The second trash can was actually more like a canister—less than a foot high, roughly eight inches in circumference and was used for compost scraps.

There are multiple forms of composting, but the most common form for city dwellers is Backyard composting. You combine browns (fallen leaves or straw), greens (grass clippings and …read more

Things That Made Us Go “Hmmm…” in 2013


2013 is coming to a close, and as another year passes us by, we pause to reflect, in the words of C+C Music Factory, on some of the things that made us go “Hmmm….” Following, in no particular order, is that list:

Winter 2013 in Zaatari refugee camp (Photo credit: Oxfam International)

1. Snow covers the ground in Egypt for the first time in 100 years. It was not only the worst snow storm to hit the Middle East in 50 years, but the snow and near freezing temperatures threatened thousands of Syrian refugees who lacked adequate shelter.

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Harboring Hope

The Waterfront Partnership has proclaimed the goal of making the Baltimore Harbor Swimmable and Fishable by 2020. Specifically, they intend – along with support from local nonprofits, business leaders, city officials and harbor advocates – to turn the currently polluted and trash strewn Harbor into a place where marine life thrives, the water is clean enough to swim, and the public health threat is removed.

The Value of Knowing Where You Are

The Waterfront Partnership released the most comprehensive report ever on the harbor’s water quality – the grade was a C-, admittedly with a large curve, indicating water …read more

Fire Threatens Water?

As a national parks enthusiast, I try to visit a new park at least every couple years. We visited Yosemite for the first time two weeks ago – yes, right around the time the Rim Fire broke out. At the time, the only signs of the blaze came from a road closer to the park’s Northwest entrance.

PHOTO: Hiking at White Wolf, miles from threatened sequoias at Tuolumne Grove

As the week went on, murmurs throughout the park began to increase, as did the smoke billowing into the sky that was visible from some of the park’s more …read more

California Mermaid Campaigns to Protect Clean Water

Donald Bain

We’ve always imagined mermaids as creatures who protect the water. A California woman is taking the fable out of the fiction.

She’s not fighting off an evil octopus and her two eels, but instead bringing awareness to critical watershed protection events up and down the coast. Vira Burgerman, also known as the California Mermaid, is bringing her deep connection to the sea learned by growing up working on commercial fishing boats to the political sphere in the name of clean water.

According to Good, the hairdresser from Sonoma County organizes yearly “Mermaid Fests” to raise money for …read more

Forest Stewardship Council Works to Promote Sustainable Harvesting

Every minute we lose the equivalent of thirty-three soccer fields of forests. Over 80% of the Earth’s forests have already been destroyed. The statistics are frightening. Even more so when you consider the following: seventy percent of the Earth’s land animals and plants reside in forests and globally and 1.6 billion people rely on forest products to live.

The Earth’s inhabitants depend on forests for everything from the air that we breathe, the buildings we live / work / play in, recreational tools, and more. Take a minute and look around you. How many things to you see that are …read more

Combating Pollution with Oysters

Swamibu – Flickr

They are a known aphrodisiac and a raw food delicacy, but could oysters also help reverse the pollution that continues to seep into our waterways?

Oysters are bivalve mollusks that filter nitrogen compounds and help to improve water quality. While urban farming grows in popularity across the United States, oyster cultivation could be part of the aquatic answer to greening our communities.

Over the years natural oyster populations have diminished around the country. Those living near the Delaware inland bays took notice and began volunteering their time to garden baby oysters and help replenish the population …read more

Maryland Stream Restoration Challenge

With more than 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, not to mention the bordering Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Maryland certainly has its fair share of water. It serves as recreation for residents and visitors, home to numerous species of animals, and a source of food. The water is a significant part of Maryland’s economy, but with great water supply comes great responsibility. Pollution damages the environment. I say it must be stopped! One somewhat simple response: Stream buffers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a stream buffer is “a vegetated area, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous vegetation, that …read more

Sea Turtles Making a Comeback in Florida

2012: Year of the Sea Turtle? That’s what you might think if you have visited Florida this summer. The loggerhead breed is making a comeback at beaches throughout the Southern state, ranging from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Ocean.

Jupiter Island, which typically sees a large numbers of nests, is experiencing a drastic increase this year. Meanwhile, on the Atlantic Coast, Palm Beach and Broward counties are seeing record high numbers of nests, breaking highs set in 1992 and 1999. There are also reports of a high number of nests on the Gulf Coast of the state.

Although …read more