Agriculture

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"Nature abhors a monoculture"

I’ve said many times, probably more than a couple of times in this blog, “Who is this guy?” referring to myself. For the first third (?) of my life, I was a sullen, cynical couch animal, whose only blazed trail was the triangle connecting refrigerator, television, and misshapen seat on the sofa.

That guy could never have envisioned this one, the one who glowingly quotes the Georgian farmer featured in a film by Maryn McKenna on The Plate, National Geographic’s food-focused website:

“In my mind, monocultures are the hallmark of what’s wrong in agriculture today. I learned in college physics that nature abhors a vacuum. I learned out here that what nature really abhors is a monoculture. Nature loves the symbiosis of many different species — microbial, plant, animal — all living together, one benefitting from the other.” ~ Farmer Will Harris, White Oak Pastures

Exactly! (Just to be clear, he knew it first, and I’m celebrating his words.)

I would add just a little perspective implied in his comments: Harris implies that what nature “thinks” is important, which is a point I make at the podium. By what evidence? Nature has been sustaining life on earth for 3.8 billion years. Humans arose out of nature, and are a subset of nature, just live all the other lives, and as such, should be trying to fit in, instead of trying to subvert the realm we sprang from.


Ideas behind "It Matters," in a Pittsburgh op-ed

I've written op-eds on other subjects, but today's piece published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is my first following the line of my forthcoming book, "It Matters." I argue that nature is humankind's pre-eminent guide to survival and that following its lead not only solves our environmental problems, but many personal ones as well.

Please comment here, and share widely.


Working together isn't enough

This is the fifth in a series of eight posts detailing concepts and attitudes for sustainable personal change. As one would expect of someone maintaining a 155-pound loss for more than 20 years, my examples have to do with food and weight, but their point is to illustrate how anyone can achieve and maintain healthy change. Today’s concept:  “Working together isn’t enough.”


Working together is a selfish act

This is the fourth in a series of eight posts detailing concepts and attitudes for sustainable personal change. As one would expect of someone maintaining a 155-pound loss for more than 20 years, my examples have to do with food and weight, but their point is to illustrate how anyone can achieve and maintain healthy change. Today’s concept:  “Working together is a selfish act.”


Everything each person does has an impact, personal and planetary

This is the third in a series of eight posts detailing concepts and attitudes for sustainable personal change. As one would expect of someone maintaining a 155-pound loss for more than 20 years, my examples have to do with food and weight, but their point is to illustrate how anyone can achieve and maintain healthy change. Today’s concept: “It matters.”


It's never just one thing

This is the second in a series of eight posts detailing concepts and attitudes for sustainable personal change. As one would expect of someone maintaining a 155-pound loss for more than 20 years, my examples have to do with food and weight, but their point is to provide both concepts and practical steps anyone can take to achieve and maintain healthy change. Today’s concept: “It’s never one thing.”


It's all one thing

This is the first in a series of eight posts detailing concepts and attitudes for sustainable personal change. As one would expect of someone maintaining a 155-pound loss for more than 20 years, my examples have to do with food and weight, but their point is to provide concepts and their practical outgrowths to help anyone achieve and maintain healthy change. Today’s concept: “It’s all one thing.”

Over the past 10 years or so, I have involved myself in two discussions professionally: causes and remedies of obesity, and saving the planet from global climate change.


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