Many farms of the 21st Century are, comparatively speaking, biological wastelands. Plowed, fertilized and cultivated from property-line to property-line, much of the world’s most productive land has been stripped of its wildlife.
Our innovations have made possible a rapid expansion in the quantity of human life on earth. But the same technological foundation is used, with equal facility, to improve and sustain the quality of human life.
Human history gives us plenty of evidence to support a pessimistic outlook, but history also gives us plenty of reason for optimism. On the humble foundation of skin clothing and bone jewelry we have built a wondrous technological superstructure.
We’re here to confront our own biology, the essential nature that tells us to keep reproducing and expanding. If you could view the entirety of human experience from the dawn of our evolution to the present, if you could pick the human century you’d like to witness first-hand, you might choose this one.
This week is the 12th annual National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.
Composting doesn't need to be complicated. It's time to throw out the guide book and start letting nature take its course. Meat? No problem. Bread? Don't worry about it. Human waste? Why not? It's easy!
Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.
If you’re considering taking measures to control wildlife in your area by relocating wild animals, you may want to think twice. Start by learning about what happens to wild animals after they’re trapped and released in a new location.
Human hair contains significant amounts of nitrogen and makes a great replacement for traditional fertilizers.
TrikE, an electric-assisted human powered vehicle (HVP), provides weather protection and storage while maintaining all the benefits of a bicycle.
How to safely dispose of or make use of human waste is becoming a hot topic.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
While conservation is neccessary for providing for an ever-growing human population, it alone cannot solve our problems. In fact, it may distract us from the real issue at hand.
Absolute Bird Control offers a few easy to implement tips for deterring swallows from nesting on, or near, your home.
But it’s not our nature to sit around complacently waiting for the asteroid, not while we have this miraculous opportunity to preserve and enhance our planet. Just as we once visualized the first irrigated field, invented the first wheel and dreamed of machines that fly, we can visualize the earth as a beautiful and productive garden where millions of species thrive. Then we can build it.
The third and last of a three part blog on chemical herbicides.
The role of natural cycles and anthropogenic forces on the climate are explained. We also demonstrate that the current global warming trend is happening at a faster rate than earlier periods and humans are responsible for the current warming trend.
Environmentalists should strive to understand the joy experienced by the race fan, the motorcyclist and the snowmobiler, and we should use that understanding to stimulate the human imagination in ways that benefit the planet.
An alien biologist visiting from a distant planet might look at the remarkable similarities in our physiology and conclude that chimps would live pretty much as humans do, only more simply. But there’s something definitively, well, human about us.
Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.
Environmentalists are better leaders when we can better love human ingenuity. We will need to form partnerships with the natural world, to ingeniously utilize its resources in ways that preserve its natural productivity.
Most people have at least heard of Habitat for Humanity. But when I dug a little deeper and sifted through the ol’ letters in the attic of the house (so to speak), I uncovered some interesting details.
Cultures around the world wove boats: Tibetans floated in Ku-Drus of woven wood and yak skin, Eskimos lashed sealskin around their long umiaks, Arabs traversed the Tigris and Euphrates in quffahs, and the Celts of the British Isles — Irish, Scots and Welsh — had an amazing variety of coracles for fresh waters and curraghs for the sea.
The Homestead Act of 1862 celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. The Homestead National Monument is hosting several activities to recognize this historical event that resulted in millions of self-sufficient homesteaders receiving free land. Learn more and participate!
Part One of a four-part series describing one homesteader's search for the history of the farm she and her family now call home. Her search leads her back in time, starting in Germany and following the lives of the immigrants through settling down in Kansas and, finally, to the day she and her husband purchased the property.
We are unique and brilliant creatures. Humanity has expanded into every corner of the planet. With our extraordinary tools, we are stronger and faster than any other species. And we are improving.
Humanity has the technological and intellectual capacities to preserve for our great-grandchildren a world teeming with life and human prosperity. Why would we plan for anything less?
Food is the most universal symbol of America’s age of excess. The average American’s dinner comes from five different countries, with a combined airfreight and ocean freight mileage tab that often exceeds 10,000 miles. At least three-fourths of that meal is processed and packaged, its nutrients stripped away and replaced by texturizers, sweeteners, and flavor “enhancers.”
We don’t have a positive vision for our future, but we can picture a lot of different ways in which things may go badly for us. This lack of a positive vision seems dangerous to me because we so often realize what what we visualize.
Today as I was researching Habitat for Humanity, I learned how far its helping hand reaches. Even more interesting to me, though, was that Habitat continues to build in such war-torn counties as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
Simran Sethi comes to terms with getting rid of the mouse in her home.
One locavore takes responsibility for raising and slaughtering her own chickens.
Bird-X, Inc., a leader in producing humane pest and bird repellent products since 1964, is raising the bar even higher for the pest control industry, offering ‘green’ solutions for every pest and bird problem.
Simran Sethi balances her love of nature with her fear of mice in her home.
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
Cam describes some family heirlooms - especially his favorite one - a shovel!
A concise history on the subject of bread and yeast. This is about how it was developed, where it came from, and what we've done with it.
Cam enjoys a visit with Ken & Madeline who farmed this property many years ago and Cam realizes how hard farming was back then....
Heirloom Vegetable Gardening (1997) by Willam Woys Weaver profiles 280 heirloom varieties, with growing advice and recipes. This introdution is the beginning of a series of excerpts to be posted from Weaver’s book to walk gardeners through sowing, cooking recipes at harvest and saving heirloom seeds through the winter.
The history of Samhain reminds us that we once celebrated holidays because of a shared human connection that resonated with the Earth’s cycles — the weather, the moon, the harvest — rather than needless consumerism or “heroic” dominance.
Our mission in preserving food heritage is to research, collect, preserve, and then explain America's food heritage and historic sites likely cannot be done without help. Want to contribute?
The DEA spends more than $10 million to eradicate "ditchweed"--the remaining stalks of heirloom hemp that were protected by the military and considered a national treasure during World War II.
The United States has one of the lowest rates of active transportation in the world, leading to poor cardiovascular health and other diseases.
A look back at how we’ve become addicted to electricity and its conveniences since the Great Depression.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
With the inventiveness of visionaries like Elon Musk, technological advances can help create a better world, while remaining useful and cool.
The Center to Expose and Close Animal Factories employs a strong legal background to take on industrial agriculture. Learn about their plan to clean up the business for good.
Human-powered generators cleverly derive electricity from something we already use in abundance — human movement — offering an easy way to tap renewable energy for anyone interested in a low-impact lifestyle. Two creative generators caught our attention: a merry-go-round that supplies light for poor Ghanaian schools and a revolving door that lights up a train station.
Docking of dairy cows serves no purpose and causes pain and discomfort for the
This Easter bread will want to fly around your kitchen: it has wings! An Italian bread of historic proportions, the family will be delighted by this creation for Easter breakfast.
Solving the mystery of finding broken shards of china and pottery in an old garden. Discovering the history of the land and its first settlers.
France puts a premium on preserving its food heritage. Here's one example of that country's many food heritage sites, this one in Brittany.
Originally from small Prussian villages, th Bruchmillers immigrated to Kansas and started a farm. Now the current owner of the same farmland, the author describes the immigrants' stories in Part Two of a four-part series on tracing farm history.
Learn what a typical family homestead in the late 19th century produced: The diversity and efficiency is surprising and inspiring information for any modern homesteader! This is Part Three of a four-part series on the author's work to discover the history of her farm.
Learn what a typical Kansas family homestead in the late 19th century produced: The diversity and efficiency of their farm sales is surprising and inspiring information for any modern homesteader! This is Part Three of a four-part series on the author's work to discover the history of her farm.
Emma Jane James of Appalachia, Virginia, inquires about her Kansan family tree and reminisces about better days in her coal-mining town, before mountaintop removal and pollution took their toll.
Some of the most enduring food heritage sites are those devoted to the basics, eating and drinking.
A sepia photo of a North Carolina family in front of their farmhouse reveals food heritage.
Arguably America's oldest ice cream company, Bassetts, is still a fixture at Philly's Reading Terminal Market. Both it and the Jersey Tomato hail from Salem, New Jersey, and therein lies the heritage tale.
Celebrate hemp, one of Mother Nature's most useful plants, during Hemp History Week. This versatile, multi-purpose plant has a rich history in the United States. Unfortunately, it's now illegal to grow it here.
Black bears and rural living go hand in hand in many parts of North America. So how do you keep bear/human conflicts to a minimum?
Inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk leaves little doubt about how far vision and imagination can take us in addressing ecological challenges.
Most Americans use vehicles to travel less than three miles, a distance that can easily be walked. Choosing active transportation over vehicles can improve your health, decrease your spending and minimize all that time you spend at stop lights.
We have three big challenges confronting us: preserving our habitat, controlling our population and reforming our economic systems.
After years of caving to the chemical industry, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has delcared formaldehyde—common in particleboard, plastics and textiles—a known human carcinogen.
We discuss the concept that carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels is partly responsible for the current atmospheric carbon overload. We also briefly discuss other human activities that contribute to the atmospheric carbon overload.
Humanity needs a new spiritual vision to cope with its shrinking habitat.
“Do you sometimes feel like your life is a microfield for everything that’s going on today?” scholar, philosopher and researcher Dr. Jean Houston, one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time and a founder of the Human Potential Movement, asked the crowd gathered this morning for the LOHAS Forum in Boulder, Colorado. That got my attention, especially when she went on to say that humans now face “the most profound task in human history—choosing whether we grow or whether we die.”
At this moment, Houston says, many of us are “encapsulated bags of skin carrying around dreary little egos,” caught up in “lives of serial monotony.” Still, she has hope. Humans, she said, have an opportunity to play a role in “the greatest transition the world has ever seen, the most far-reaching and rapid change in our history.”
“We are coded with potentials, few of which we ever learn to use,” Houston said. “We can no longer be half-life versions of ourselves, and something huge is beginning to happen as the world’s mind is discovering itself.”
This posting present comments by leading scientific organizations, individual scientists and government leaders pertaining to human induced climate changes. All agree that climate change is anthropogenic and that it has become a serious problem.
Only 43 percent of Americans know what smart grid technology is, and of those, 70 percent don’t really understand how it works, according to a survey released today.
Tucked in the pines, this preserved New Jersey food heritage site is where cultivated high bush blueberries were born.
Get your St. Patrick's day celebration off to a great start with this wholemeal, authentic, Irish Wholemeal Bread.
Examining an community for your homestead.
It's Easter Time, and one's thought's naturally turn to Hot Cross Buns (at least mine do), those yeasty, spicy little treats with the cross on top.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
A Chicago food heritage site — a meat-packing plant built in 1925 — becomes a 21st-century, net-zero producer of food.
On our journey to self-reliance, my husband, Darren, and I have been gathering human-powered tools when we can find them. It’s surprising and sad how quickly hand- and foot-powered tools were junked when electricity became available. From 1850 to 1890, more than 100 apple-pealing devices were patented. Then none, except those running on electric power. And so it goes with thousands of other nifty human-powered appliances.
Ode to our hand saw...why we choose to live without power, and what we've accomplished by hand.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
Wabi-sabi is never slobby, but we can allow ourselves to stop trying so hard and just appreciate our warm bed at the end of the day—whether it’s made or not.
If the DEA can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana plants, says a former Kentucky governor, how can it distinguish between powdered sugar and cocaine? Hempsters: Plant the Seed is a must-see movie that gives pro-hemp activists a voice.
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
How many people wonder (pun intended) about industrial white bread? A new book out by Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows that he has. It is a fascinating description of how white bread got to be where it is today politically, economically, and culturally.
Over the last 2 decades BeeWeaver has seen change in who keeps bees, and why they keep bees. The journey of the last 20 years has not been easy for the bees but the efforts of these New Beekeepers will keep the amazing honeybee a part of our word.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
Read this excerpt about heirloom beans from Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Growing, Seed Saving and Cultural History by William Woys Weaver. This book will help you re-discover heirloom vegetables from our American culinary and gardening roots.
Take a tour of the mills and mountains of the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas, home to some of the finest remaining historic gristmills that still exist in the U.S.A. Based on the popular Historic Ozarks Mills book created by award-winning photographer Mike McArthy. Hydropower's energy-producing capacity is getting well-deserved attention these days, and these old mills provide inspiration.
Cap off your Hemp History Week celebrations by making hemp soap. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.
Earth Days, a poignant, 2009 Sundance Film Fesitval success, will premier on Facebook April 11, and on the PBS Network April 19.