Niger is a surprising success story in Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR)
“I flew from Ethiopia, and you can see it when you fly over the border from Chad to Niger,” says Dr. Kelechi Eleanya, an instructor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environme...
Nestled in the mountainous countryside of Northwest Morocco is a city painted entirely in shades of blue. In Chefchaouen, called Chaouen by locals, the unique, chromatic tradition originated in the 15th century, when several waves of Jewish refugees from Europe settled in the town. They painted their dwellings and shops to emulate the shades of the sky as a reminder of their relationship with God.
For several years now, David Skat Nielsen has been cultivating a 7,400-square-foot patch of land on the island of Amager, in the greater Copenhagen area. Here, he pays 900 DKK ($133 USD) per month to get away from the stresses of apartment living, plant some fruit trees, build a greenhouse, and generally bask in the stillness of a hedged-in green space. Due to zoning restrictions, he can only live on the property for six months of the year, but he’s part of a growing group of Danes that would like to make these minimalistic garden lots into full-time homes.
Danish kolonihaver, or “colony gardens,” like Nielsen’s are communal groupings of leisure lots—each complete with a little cabin—that are peppered around the urban and periurban corners of the country. They’re similar to allotment gardens, multi-year land rentals in a dedicated area, leased for the express purpose of gardening. Whereas community gardens often traffic in raised beds full of annuals, colony gardens are spaces in which fruit trees, perennials, and hard landscaping installations are more the norm.
Gardening has a unique way of grounding you in the moment. Whether it's due to the ephemeral nature of plants, intimate contact with the biological world, or the sense of rote and ritual, the act of working to beautify a space with biological life can beget a sense of calm and contentment. This satisfied sense of situational awareness is called mindfulness.
Niger hosts AFR100, paves a way forward for implementing Forest and Landscape Restoration on the ground
Niamey is a city of warm hues: red, cracked, sandy soils are the basis for the red bricks that form most of the infrastructure of Niger’s capital. It’s a city where only the hardiest of plants can manage to set down roots, but — like many of Africa’s fast growing cities — a mecca for rural-to-urban migration.
“Africa’s population will double by 2050,” notes Bernhard Worm, Senior Advisor at Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperati...
(Syndicated from The Freelancer)
Despite the gender domination of freelancing, female freelancers working in the media sector may be experiencing a significant pay gap. According to a 2015 survey by the Writer’s Union of Canada, female writers earn only 55% of what their male counterparts make.
My hometown of Sherwood Park, Canada, is the birthplace of Booster Juice: Canada’s largest smoothie bar chain. I remember approaching the counter one day after soccer practice, and seeing a curious little flat of grassy sprouts, the contents of which were being freshly juiced into 30 milliliter shots. Feeling adventurous, I sprung for a dash of this mysterious grassy green elixir in my Mango Tango smoothie, but was disappointed to find that I paid extra to make my tropical fruit blend taste like a freshly-mowed lawn.
This was my first encounter with wheatgrass.
A couple of years passed before I figured out what, exactly, wheatgrass is. The answer somewhat banal: It’s wheat, or more specifically, the monocotydedon (or embryonic leaf) of Triticum aestivum, the common wheat plant.
Pocket planters are typically round growing containers with multiple "pocket" openings around the outside that offer many planting possibilities. Though pocket planters can get a little crowded because there are so many places for plants, using a plant-appropriate potting mix and a rich soil amendment, such as earthworm castings, will help plants thrive in these unique containers.
On August 22, Gawker.com, the eponymous news and politics brand of media behemoth Gawker Media, officially folded. While the company’s other blogs, including Gizmodo, Jezebel, and Deadspin, will live on in some form under the wing of Univision, Gawker’s ending sent shockwaves across the media industry.
For media companies, it was a frightening reminder of how privately funded lawsuits could bring any publisher to its knees.
But for freelancers, the story was a more chilling example of how words can have personal and professional consequences. I may not be releasing 1,400-word expositions of celebrity sex tapes onto the web (and vowing not to take them down), but rulings like that of the Hogan case trickle down as precedent.
There have been a number of attempts to understand the scope of “the gig economy.” But things are complicated. For one, there’s no real standard terminology: what one study calls “the gig economy,” another refers to as “nonstandard employment,” and a third uses “alternative work.”
Papaya Ringspot Virus, and the “SunUp” and “Rainbow” Papayas: the genetically modified trees that saved a species
Whenever I see photos of the symptoms of Papaya Ringspot Virus (PRSV) up close, I actually think that if it weren’t so destructive, if would be beautiful.
One of the two strains of this Potyvirus, called PRSV-P, infects both Papayas (Carica papaya) and cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae); the plants suffer mosaic (interference with photosynthesis), leaf distortions, patches of necrotic tissue (which invites fungal infection), deformities in the fruit, and greatly-reduced yields. The virus is highly infectious, moving rapidly from plant-to-plant, primarily through aphid predation.
After being introduced to Hawaii in the 1930s, the virus mutated, and by the 1950s had halted 94% of Papaya plantations on Oahu. Production moved to other islands, but the pathogen followed, and also began infecting home gardens in the 1970s. Even with aggressive horticultural and insecticidal management, by the 1990s, the virus infected commercial plantations, and over 50%-80% of the industry was decimated in various global sites of production.
Carica papaya is a rather genetically homogenous tree, so there were few reservoirs of resistance to the virus to be found in feral or wild populations of the plant. As a result, something else needed to be done to save the production of this fruit: in 1998, the answer came in the form of genetic engineering.
Periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) are among those insects that arrive in plagues.
Related to smaller bugs like leafhoppers, they are often mistakenly called locusts. But the similarities between cicadas and Biblically-significant pests are limited to their tendency to congregate en masse. Unlike swarming locusts—which eat everything green in times of drought—periodical cicadas descend upon deciduous trees (their preferred food source) in the eastern United States for a period of about four or six weeks, on specific years.
Divided into regionally-distinct and synchronous “broods,” different species of Magicicada emerge on either 13- or 17-year cycles; the vast majority of their lives are spent in a larval stage under the soil, sucking nutrients from tree roots.
Right now, the so-called “Brood V” of 17-year periodical cicadas has emerged in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, right on schedule. This brood consists of three species: Magicicada cassinii, Magicicada septendecim, and Magicicada septendecula.