At the University of Minnesota Dr. Nate Hagens teaches an honours course called “Reality 101: A Survey of the Human Predicament.” Hagens operated his own hedge fund on Wall Street until he glimpsed, “a serious disconnect between capitalism, growth, and the natural world. Money did not appear to bring wealthy clients more well being. ”Reality 101 addresses humanity’s toughest challenges: economic decline, inequality, pollution, biodiversity loss, and war. Students learn about systems ecology, neuroscience, and economics. “We ask hard questions,” says Hagens....

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While change at a local level has created practical pieces of a regenerative culture; what an initiative that has emerged from the Stockholm Resilience Centre called seeds of a Good Anthropocene. [https://goodanthropocenes.net/], we have failed to significantly and measurably move the big picture. From my time working with Transition groups all around the world, I have seen these issues present in just about every Transition group. They lead me to ask whether we are working in the right way, or...

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The United Counties is looking at a broad set of tools, including land control laws, in a bid to stop the dwindling forest cover. SD&G Planner Alison McDonald presented the plan to a committee of the whole session of county council this morning (Thursday). “The balance is shifting…perhaps shifting too far,” McDonald said, noting the cover had dropped below 29 per cent in 2014 and below the widely-held benchmark of 30 per cent. Part of the problem, McDonald explained, is...

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Adding plants to solar farms offers all kinds of benefits to the facilities’ primary aim of reducing carbon emissions and expanding renewable energy. “Solar development is happening on a massive scale as lands are being converted from agricultural land or unused land into solar projects,” says Jordan Macknick, energy-water-land lead analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which funds research on the impact of native and crop plants grown in solar farms. “That represents an amazing opportunity to improve...

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This Thursday is Summer Solstice; the longest day of the year and the official beginning of the summer season. It also happens to be National Indigenous Peoples Day, and Cornwall Transition+ is planning events throughout the day to celebrate all three aspects. The events’ head organizer, Susan Towndrow, said the group wanted to plan a day that would help people get back in tune with nature. “This is the longest day of the year so we had this idea of...

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What will climate change mean for the more than 45 million American birdwatchers? Much more importantly, what will it mean for the birds we most love and enjoy? With birds finely tuned to their living conditions – landscape, vegetation, weather, food, water – we know that a warming globe will add to the problems they already face. The Audubon Society’s “Birds and Climate Report” website offers a useful overview. At the site’s core: its maps of changing climate ranges for...

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Make your vote count: find out where the parties stand. The next Government of Ontario will inherit a province facing many significant environmental challenges, from climate change and ongoing loss of biodiversity to a steady build up of toxics and pollutants in our air, water and land.  Strong actions will be required to address these problems and to position Ontario to benefit in a world rapidly moving toward a low-carbon future and embracing the need for more sustainable economic and...

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Many pollinator species have suffered serious declines in recent years. Unfortunately, most of our landscapes offer little in the way of appropriate habitat, forage, and housing. Even the most beautiful gardens are not always healthy ecosystems. Design choices, plant selections, and maintenance practices can make a huge difference in creating your own healthy ecosystem, filled with life. As a garden designer, I use this landscape plan for many gardens to attract the greatest varieties of pollinators. A pollinator garden can...

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People across North America love to garden, yet the vast majority of garden plants are non-native species. Day-lilies, peonies, roses, chrysanthemums and butterfly bushes, just to name a few, are all non-natives. They evolved in far-away places such as Europe and Asia and people transported them to North America. With Insectageddon — the great insect die-off — upon us, it’s time to rethink our gardens. Birds (and other larger animals) depend on bugs. “Nearly all terrestrial birds rear their young...

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Analysis from EU’s scientific risk assessors finds neonicotinoids pose a serious danger to all bees, making total field ban highly likely. The world’s most widely used insecticides pose a serious danger to both honeybees and wild bees, according to a major new assessment from the European Union’s scientific risk assessors. The conclusion, based on analysis of more than 1,500 studies, makes it highly likely that the neonicotinoid pesticides will be banned from all fields across the EU when nations vote...

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