Note from the Author
2020 has certainly been…a year. It’s hard to believe that I had started this humble website only a year ago with fairly large aspirations to where I’d like to take it next. I’m super happy that I’ve been able to reach people about environmental topics and share my thoughts and travels with others. We’ve hit our 1-year milestones for Haikusday, Human Nature, and the environmental education pages on the site, all of which is super heartening! We even started this newsletter along with sharing environmental news from around the world! And just a year ago, none of this was here, only thoughts in my head.
While it’s great to reflect on and celebrate the journey so far, there is much more that I’d like to do with Prismatic Planet going forward. Both in terms of sprucing up the website and in spreading beyond the website too. You can count on me putting in the time to make this place one where people can learn about the planet and humanity’s place on it. And the best thank you I can ask for is to share what I make if you find it helpful, insightful, or uplifting. Here’s hoping we can bring environmental education and advocacy to even more people in 2021!
Oh, and here’s to you all having a magnificent 2021 as well! Set your goals and reach for them. Find your path and start walking it. Life is a journey full of so many experiences along the way, and new years are always nice anchors to start or pivot from. Even if you’re not one for goals and resolutions, I genuinely hope your new year will be a fruitful one full of learning and happiness!
~ And, as always, don’t forget to keep wondering ~
New from Prismatic Planet!
Ruffle of feathers
Perched beyond rolling waters
In self reflection
Tall barren branches
Sunlight breaching, kisses the land
Gentle warming light
Lay the setting vernal sun
Wings apt to brush canvas sky
A rainbow in flight
Sun yet climbs the sky
Brush of dawn's soft morning glow
When we think about our environment in terms of ecology, we're thinking about it in terms of a big picture. It's one of the aspects of the science that makes it interesting. We have specialized sciences for plant and animal composition, their behaviors, as well as the weather and climate around them. However, by focusing on these individual aspects, we don't develop an understanding for how these pieces all interact. And these interactions are incredibly important to how these species thrive and survive!
Understanding the whole picture of an ecosystem, the resources available, the volume of species inhabiting that ecosystem, and how much of those resources the species are using help paint a scene of how much of that system is utilized and what could possibly take up residence there.
Enter the ecological niche, or the set of environmental conditions that a species lives and thrives on.
It's been a year since starting Prismatic Planet and posting my first Human Nature blog. When I wrote that, I mentioned that I wanted to use this site to learn more about the planet and share that knowledge with you. I also mentioned that in addition to researching and writing for this website, I was also an active environmental volunteer. That's still the case today, and I realize I haven't talked much about it here. Which is kind of odd since one of the best ways I engage with something I want to learn more about is to actively do that thing. I imagine such is the case for a good number of people out there.
So, I want to take this one-year anniversary of Human Nature to do just that. I want to share with you what I, a human looking to help and learn, have benefited from by volunteering for the environment. Since volunteering is not limited to work for the planet, my points here won't be specific to environmental volunteer work, though I may cite my experiences. Here's hoping by the end of this, you'll feel empowered to get out there and help, both for a cause you believe in and for your own personal growth.
Let's dive in!
December Eco News
Written word may be our go-to way of documenting our world today, but that hasn’t always been the case. This month, a study was released based on an excavation in 2018 depicting rock paintings from the Earth’s last Ice Age. The paintings show the kinds of gigantic animals that roamed the planet alongside humans over 12,000 years ago!
Artificial Intelligence is a major technological driver in today’s world, and humanity is discovering all the possibilities it can. One such AI experiment resulted in a computer being able to accurately model an island ecosystem! While this model isn’t unknown to humans, that a machine was able to learn how to model ecosystems quickly and efficiently is a huge step to finding new ways to enhance our understanding of the Earth.
This article released from Nature this month shines a light on the Pwak’nyaw communities in Myanmar and Thailand with regard to their approaches to river conservation in the area. In our modern world, Indigenous peoples’ methods and ideas are often overlooked, but there is much we can learn by working together to find and foster environmental practices that keep our homes healthy and stable. Stories like this one show just how much we have to gain by acknowledging Indigenous peoples’ ideas and contributions about the environment!
Ever wonder if the squirrels you see around your home are the same ones year after year? It turns out that may be the case, as the results of a study on squirrel communities released this month shows that squirrels with familiar neighbors increases their survivability! Interestingly whether those neighbors were family made no difference. So long as the squirrels were around familiar squirrel neighbors, it was akin to living for an additional year compared to squirrels living amidst strangers.
Scientists have discovered a sequence in plant DNA that appears to dictate whether a plant will be more energetic during the daytime or nighttime. In humans, we call this our circadian rhythm and is attributed to whether we’re morning or night people. Turns out that plants exhibit the same behavior, making them more prone to activity at certain hours of the day, and it’s genetic!
Thank you for checking out the Prismatic Planet newsletter! For more environmental thoughts and stories, be sure to check out the Prismatic Planet website.
~ And, as always, don’t forget to keep wondering ~