Note from the Author
Hey all you wonderful environmental enthusiasts out there! It has been one interesting February in terms of climate here in the United States. A not-so-surprisingly piling of snow where I’m at, but a huge winter surprise in the southern states. I don’t say surprise here with levity, however. While I’m sure there was some novelty seeing snow in traditionally warmer states, it is not something these areas are equipped to deal with. I’m grateful to be a part of communities reaching out to and checking up on others across the country, providing advice to those not used to cold and icy conditions.
Though thoughts and advice really isn’t enough to deal with these events. In dealing with our climate crisis, we have to both find ways to mitigate the damage we do while building resilience to the difficulties we’ve already unlocked by ignoring climate issues this long. I hope these experiences and stories make it abundantly clear that we’re in the middle of something big that needs our immediate attention.
Beyond that, we’re still writing up new pages for everyone to read up and learn about how our planet works. One of the greatest ways to instill care about something in people is to simply know more about that something. To that degree, we hope our educational pages and blog posts continue to provide a space for learning about how our planet works, how humans influence it, and how we can take steps to make a difference.
As we’re getting a glimpse of spring where I’m at, I hope you all are able to go out there (socially distant, of course) and enjoy our wonderful home :)
~ And, as always, don’t forget to keep wondering ~
New from Prismatic Planet!
Watchful gaze surveys
Over sprawling periled land
Cherished moment's breath
Branches hang over
The lonely road, wont to greet
Your ode toward home
A stunning blue sea
Harbored by mountains, gateway
Beyond village shores
Horizon bound, greets the sky
Caravan of clouds
When we think about the desert, the first thing that comes to mind is likely a vast, ever-sprawling stretch of sand. Maybe we throw a few dunes in for good measure, but the predominant idea of the desert is very likely sand to most people on the planet. Another aspect is likely one of desolation, a certain sense of loneliness coupled with the intense temperature fluctuations that accompany a space with nearly no cover from atmospheric elements.
While this certainly captures the essence of the desert, it is really only a snapshot of the range of desert characteristics. Maybe it's because a majority of people on Earth don't live with the desert on a daily basis, still roughly a sixth of our population does. That's over 1 billion people!
Being mindful residents of our planet, let's take a closer look at deserts, what defines them, and how they play into the systems of our home!
It's safe to say that humans are a powerful force on the Earth. We've stretched our influence far and wide, both in our own social structures and the physical ones we've built atop the natural world. It can be difficult to remember that we're a part of this massive planetary balancing act of systems since we seemingly bend them to our will, but it would be ill-conceived to think of that influence as control.
Beyond that influence, I was reminded this month of a bias humanity has. We tend to like the concept of an "untouched" nature. Not untouched by anything though, but humans in particular. Going even further, we're biased toward an appreciation of nature not touched by the people who brought modern civilization. It's easiest to think of these people as the European colonizers. If they or their descendants haven't touched it, it's considered untouched by humans.
Along with this bias comes another more dangerous one however. When we categorize nature by its proximity to humans, deciding that nature adjacent to humanity is lesser nature, we have a tendency to take less care of it. We opt to care more about "true nature" far from home. We can think that's the nature worth saving, worth protecting. Yet, by ignoring our neighboring ecosystems, we have a slow but steady impact on nature far away.
Let's explore this together.
February Eco News
Ever stop to wonder how plants seem to grow so successfully wherever they are? A new study has some insights into that success by capturing time lapse video of how a plant’s roots grow. Turns out it’s a lot of turning! By growing in a corkscrew motion, the roots are able to weave around obstacles they encounter in the soil, finding paths to continue growing to areas with enough resources to thrive.
In our modern day, it’s really easy for humans to travel around the world. As a side effect, species also travel alongside humans to places they’ve never been. While we’re historically considered these “invasive” species to be wholly a bad thing, where these species fits without damaging the ecosystem to which it is introduced, ecologists are calling for humanity to take a closer look at an eco-fusion mindset when considering if an invasive species truly needs removal.
Birdwatchers across the globe get excited when they happen upon a rare bird resting someplace off its normal route, but why is this so rare? It just so happens that birds are keenly attuned to the Earth’s magnetic field, allowing them to find their route even when they’ve been displaced. This new study shows that birds are capable of “true navigation” in that they don’t need to use relative landmarks to know where they are or where they are headed!
Kelp forests are one of the most biodiverse regions of the marine ecosystem. So much so that species seemingly at odds with one another somehow live within the same region. A new study shows storms have a intermediate disturbance effect creating regularly occurring windows of time for shady kelp forest species and light-loving open sea floor species to take turns thriving. Though never so long that the other is out-competed.
This feel-good story comes out of New Zealand where there is a particular shoreline area named Farewell Spit. The area is notorious for beaching whales that come to close to the shore, but this wonderful group of volunteers comes together regularly to ensure the whales stay calm and healthy before refloating them into the open ocean. Fantastic work Project Jonah!
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 ~