Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Restoring earth

Geez, that's a pompous sounding title for a post, but I'm thinking about restoration and stewardship of the land where we live. I had an interesting meeting with a group of folks interested in promoting local food and growing your own vegetables today, and it's got me thinking.

My gardening companion and I live in a wonderfully diverse (biologically) part of the world, the Southeastern US, but the area that we live in -- the Piedmont -- has been shaped and dramatically altered by agriculture and logging, but increasingly more recently by development. Sprawling strip malls, cluster developments around intersections, 'big box' stores, supposedly needed supermarkets, fast food places, gas station/minit-marts; frankly, none of these are attractive at all.

Subdivisions aren't much better (I always think of the classic Pete Seeger song about the San Francisco suburb of Daly City-- 'they're all rows of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same'). And the mega-house subdivisions, ugh.

But hopefully, even in a conservative area, we're considering how to balance land use with preservation of natural areas, and conservation initiatives to support farm and pastureland preservation.

But I do think we need to think about restoring 'earth' -- that is, patches of land that have been abused, abandoned, paved over, turned into lawn, subjected to substandard landscaping, left as vacant lots, etc....into something that's either restorative in terms of habitat for wildlife or productive in terms of food. And all the default plantings in commercial landscapes could be turned into wildlife-supporting habitats with native plants.

Something to dream about.


  1. That's not a pompous title at all: on the contrary, it's descriptive.

    Having wrecked so much of the earth, there just isn't enough left to conserve. The only sensible thing to do is restore what's ruined. I live in a Piedmont, too (French for the foot of the mountain, right?). But at the northern piedmont to the Appalachians, in New Jersey. To be truly mortified by over-development of a once beautiful land, come visit my Piedmont. But there's plenty of like-minded people here, trying to stop as much as possible before it's too late. And restore what's restorable.

    Maybe spreading the word on lawns is the way to go. There's 20 million-plus acres of lawns across the U.S.: That's a lot of acreage waiting for native gardens, feeding stations, water ponds, habitats...and a lot less run off of fertilizers and pesticides.

  2. Thanks for the supportive words!

    I find great sustenance in restoring our small patch of earth to be a native-based wildlife garden (with a small allocation to vegetables).

    And, if we could manage encouraging conversion of more lawns to something more wildlife-friendly (or least producing or supporting something), that would be excellent.


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