Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

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The Nitty Gritty Guide

Check out a new project from Alli and Carlo Manzella, called “The Nitty Gritty Guide – Our Guide To The Good Life“.

The Nitty Gritty Guide

The Nitty Gritty Guide

An excerpt from their site states: “We are a growing number of individuals from various different backgrounds who have come together to share and learn time honored skills, traditional art forms and revive the knowledge that kept our ancestors alive and thriving without the dependency on modern conveniences, imports, petroleum based products, the commercial agricultural system and conventional food.”

These two are interviewing people who are doing work in the areas mentioned above within their local community, in order to spread the word and educate folks about what they’re doing.

Check out their latest interviews here!

Gift Economy vs. Gift ECOLOGY

I’ve been exploring the idea of alternative economies recently, and realized that something kept causing friction in me when it came to discussing the idea of a “gift economy”.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it had something to do with the idea that a gift economy didn’t seem to be capable of reconciling our evolving, flowing, ebbing needs and gifts.

I know that there are many forms of capital and many forms of alternative economies, but when it came to trying to determine the logistics of how a gift economy would actually provide for everyone, I kept finding myself with an inherent desire to keep some kind of balance sheet to prove its worth and efficacy.

It seemed to me that I must be missing something, or that maybe my intellect was “getting in its own way”, until I came across this article.

From Sharing Economy To Gift Ecology

I think that my cognitive dissonance was being caused by the difference in the actual nature, or definition of, “economy”, and how I and a lot of other people define it or see it operating as a Transactional system.

I personally think of a transactional system as one that inherently maintains a series of checks and balances, in order to meet certain needs. But I think that true Gifting doesn’t keep track. And it is actually unconcerned with meeting needs or numbers. It is an act of selflessness, and nothing more, whether it is received in that spirit, or not. There is no expectation.

In nature, everything provides for everything else, just by being what it is. The outputs of one become the inputs of the other and so on. There are no blance sheets. It is a perfect, almost effortless ecology.

And so, looking at it as a “Gift ECOLOGY”, rather than economy, fixed everything for me by viewing it as a web of relationships, rather than transactions, therefore shifting the actual nature and function of it in my mind.
“Economy reduces value into a few focused dimensions, whereas ecology implies a more intricate interplay of relationships that generate diversified — sometimes immeasurable — value.”

I actually saw a video with a member of the organization publishing this article, and he mentioned how, after Hurricane Katrina, the only things left standing were not houses or building, etc., but old oak trees. This was because they had deep, deep roots, that also intertangled with the deep roots of other oaks, sometimes forming chains as long as a hundred miles. He saw this is an example of a Gift Ecology, where the relationships between the trees created immeasurable value, while asking for nothing in return.

I think that this is really what people long for- a sense of deep, rooted connection, coupled with the meeting of needs, and so I would love to see the idea of a “Gift Ecology” take off and eventually make the word “economy” obsolete.

“The Hidden Life of Soils” card game!

There’s a new card game that shows the connections between Macrofauna, Microfauna, Megafauna, Mesofauna, Plants and Soil, and it looks like a LOT of fun!

fungi

Fungi

Silt

Silt

Ok, so the macrofauna can be a little… “icky”, but I don’t think kids will care as much as most adults will. (Remember the sand worms from the movie Beetlejuice? Yeah.)
Beetle Larvae

Beetle Larvae

And if you’ve ever seen a tardigrade, you know they kinda look like little eye-less manatees with a “truncated” trunk. (oh look, a pun!)

Tardigrade

Awww… he’s actually kinda cute.

It also brings in heavy hitters from the scientific community, including The Microscope, The Auger, Charles Darwin and Peter E. Muller.

It’s like a reunion concert without the drama or high ticket prices.

They’re free, so print the PDF now! Hidden Life of Soils card game.

And while you’re at it, go check out the http://www.globalsoilbiodiversity.org website- it’s full of great information!

Have fun!

Light pollution shown to affect plant growth and food webs

Passing this article along from: http://phys.org/news/2015-03-pollution-shown-affect-growth-food.html

Light pollution shown to affect plant growth and food webs

Researchers from the University of Exeter simulated the effects of street lighting on artificial grassland plots containing a community of invertebrates at night, exposing them to two different types of light treatment – a ‘white’ light similar to newer commercial LED street lighting systems and an ‘amber’ light simulating the type of sodium street lamp still found in much of the UK. The experiments investigated both top-down (driven by predators) and bottom-up (food or resource limited) effects of the lights on the population density of a species of pea aphid, and in the presence and absence of predators including ladybirds Credit: Jon Bennie/University of Exeter

Artificial night time light from sources such as street lamps affects the growth and flowering of plants and even the number of insects that depend on those plants for food, a study published today confirms.
The research shows that pollution can impact the natural environment in complex ways that may be hard to predict. Due to the global extent of artificial light at night, there are concerns that these ecological impacts may be widespread.

Researchers from the University of Exeter simulated the effects of on artificial grassland plots containing a community of invertebrates at night, exposing them to two different types of light treatment – a ‘white’ light similar to newer commercial LED street lighting systems and an ‘amber’ light simulating the type of sodium street lamp still found in much of the UK.

The experiments investigated both top-down (driven by predators) and bottom-up (food or resource limited) effects of the lights on the population density of a species of pea aphid, and in the presence and absence of predators including ladybirds.

The low intensity amber light was shown to inhibit, rather than induce, flowering in greater bird’s foot trefoil, a wild relative of peas and beans that is a key source of food for the in grasslands and road verges. In mid summer aphids feed on the flowering shoots; the number of aphids was significantly suppressed under the light treatment in mid-August due to the limited amount of food available.
Professor Kevin Gaston, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) said: “These are the first findings from major long-term experiments being funded by the European Research Council, and already reveal how profound the impacts of artificial night time lighting can be on even simple communities of organisms.”

Dr Jonathan Bennie of the ESI added: “Our results suggest that by lighting up our night time environment we trigger complex effects on natural webs. While we are all aware that street lights often attract insects at night, we show that they may have more permanent, widespread impacts on wildlife and ecosystems.”

Explore further: Researchers find LEDs attract more flying invertebrates than conventional lighting

More information: ‘Cascading effects of artificial light at night: resource-mediated control of herbivores in a grassland ecosystem’ by Jonathan Bennie, Thomas W. Davies, David Cruse, Richard Inger and Kevin J. Gaston is published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Journal reference: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B search and more info