Wild Ones   The Grapevine - November-December 2005  
By Maryann Whitman

Grape vine.Ringing the alarm for Earth

"An ecosystem itself undamaged is very, very resilient, and the more simplified it gets, the less resilient. Globally, what we are doing is simplifying them all, simultaneously, which is a very dangerous large-scale experiment.” Peter Raven, botanist, recently Time magazine’s "Hero of the Planet,” Director of Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.

I love the way reporter Tim Radford, for the Guardian (out of the United Kingdom) introduces Raven in his July 14, 2005 interview: “Peter Raven is a botanist. He knows about photosynthesis, primary productivity and sustainable growth. He knows that all flesh is grass; that the richest humans and the hungriest alike depend ultimately on plants for food, fuel, clothing, medicines, and shelter, and that all of these come from the kiss of the sun on warm moist soils, to quicken growth and ripen grain.”

Web sites I found on the way to looking up something else

• For a readable explanation of climate change, ozone depletion, greenhouse gases and air quality: www.cmdl.noaa.gov/infodata/faq_cat-3.html#18.

The Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), conducts sustained observations and research related to source and sink strengths, trends, and global distributions of atmospheric constituents that are capable of forcing change in the climate of Earth through modification of the atmospheric radiative environment, those that may cause depletion of the global ozone layer, and those that affect baseline air quality.

That said, they’re also capable of saying “the process (of Arctic warming) appears to have become self-sustaining: As ice melts, there’s more water, which absorbs more solar radiation (white ice reflects better), thus creating more heat, thus making it harder for ice to re-form.”

This is a key to identifying grasshoppers, with some excellent photos. I had no idea there were so many different grasshoppers in the Midwest.

www.pesticide.org is the web site of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and their Journal of Pesticide Reform. An excerpt from one of their articles gives the flavor of the Journal:

Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) has an extensive, deep network of roots and rhizomes (18-20 feet long) enabling it to strongly compete with other plants for water.

Some literature suggests hoeing or cultivating in combination with growing plants that shade out the bindweed. The basic idea is to bring in plants that compete with the weed for food and light. Heavy shading is the key to this control method.

One farmer reported no bindweed problems for nine years after his bindweed was “shaded and strangled by the pumpkins.” Alfalfa, legumes, and corn have also reduced bindweed infestations. Small-scale versions of these strategies can be used in a home garden.


University of Wisconsin Extension recently published this booklet: “Storm Water Basins: Using natural landscaping for water quality & esthetics: A primer on planting and managing native landscaping for storm water basins.”

You can download it and read it, or order it at the above web site – or call 414-290-2431 to place an order. It carries the message in Technicolor, share it with your local planning commission, or the government entity that reviews and OKs developers plans for subdivisions.

Maryann is Editor of the Wild Ones Journal, and comes to the position with an extensive background in environmental matters of all kinds.

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Updated: Oct 27, 2006.