“Nobody had ever heard of such a thing…”

I think there was a time when people were much more in tune to the seasons, and adapted their behavior to their environment instead of trying to subdue Mother Nature.

This is an excerpt from Al Smith’s autobiography Up To Now, ©1929:

A lost sport to the children of today is sleigh riding.  It is next to impossible now in New York City, except in Central Park, or here and there on the west side of the city.  Prior to 1894, no appropriation was ever made by the city for the removal of snow.  It remained on the streets, just as it does now in the country sections of the state, until the warming suns of spring melted it away.  When Colonel Waring was appointed street-cleaning commissioner by Mayor Strong in 1895, he shocked the whole community by appearing before the Board of Estimate and Apportionment  and asking for two million dollars to remove the snow after a snowstorm.  Nobody had ever heard of such a thing and it created much discussion.  Tobogganing and sleighing on hills was a popular sport.  Dover Street was probably the center of it, because there is a sharp incline from Franklin Square to Walter Street.  I remember one side of Dover Street where there were no buildings and which abutted upon the masonry work of the Brooklyn Bridge, and which, after a night’s sleighing, would be left as smooth as glass.  People were not then required by ordinance to remove snow from the sidewalk.

Consciously /Unconsciously

There are a lot of decisions we’re going to be making, consciously or unconsciously, that are going to impact other species, and a lot of choices for us to make that will maximize or minimize that impact. I’m trying to bring those choices into consciousness, because right now we are simply making them unconsciously; we are making them by not making them.”  ~Elizabeth Kolber, No Easy Answers

Bees

“Not a single bee has ever sent you an invoice. And that is part of the problem – because most of what comes to us from nature is free, because it is not invoiced, because it is not priced, because it is not traded in markets, we tend to ignore it.”  ~Pavan Sukhdev, author of UN report The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – October 2010

I found this quote on one of my favorite blogs,  Jules of Nature, and if you’re unfamiliar with it then you’re in for a treat.

This also seems like a good time to plug one of my favorite organizations, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which (among other things) works on behalf of bees.

SeedSavers

If you haven’t planted your spring garden yet, STOP!  Go have a look at what SeedSavers.org has to offer!

SeedSavers offers heirloom varieties of flowers and vegetables you can’t find at the chain stores, and what’s really cool is that they all come with instructions on how to harvest the seeds so you can plant them again next year!

Oceans

One of the depressing things about the missing Malaysian airliner (besides the obvious) is that apparently the ocean is so filled with oil slicks and rafts of garbage that debris from a crashed plane just doesn’t stand out.