The second grassy bay from the south end, below the Harborside Restaurant at Riverplace, between the Taxodium clumps. The ’04 planting included no shrubs or perennial forbs in this area. It was a monoculture of Koeleria macrantha, a native early season bunch grass that goes dormant by mid-July leaving the entire area vulnerable to invasion by weeds and offering no ‘barrier’ to either people or dogs, which enter frequently. A sweep of Cistus pulverulentus ‘Sunset’ at the bottom, Ceanothus cuneatus ‘Blue Sierra’ at the left and Arctostaphylos x ‘Harmony’ have been added to this site along with Festuca rubra var. commutata a low, fine textured spreader to help fill in the spaces and scattered native perennials.
Part of the Over Thinking Series
We, all of us, are part of the urban landscape. The lack of connection, understanding of and regular involvement with our landscape, a condition which has become pervasive in modern society, sometimes referred to as NDD, or Nature Deficit Disorder, has brought us to the rather precarious place we are today, with the rapidly declining state of our landscapes and a general ignorance amongst the public and our leaders of the severity of the problem and our responsibility to correct it. We are locked into an old strategy that views landscape as incidental, the natural world as backdrop and not central to our own well-being. As long as it meets a narrow idea of our needs, a modern minimalist aesthetic and does not over tax our ‘pocketbook’, we have been okay with it. From a horticultural viewpoint this is becoming an increasingly deteriorating disaster, something that not only we can do something about, but one that it is imperative that we do so. Adaptive Management is a positive and workable strategy we can adopt that will begin to turn this situation around. Continue reading →
Last week, in Part I of this two part series, “Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health”, we explored the claims by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Chensheng Lu, heralded by anti-pesticide and anti-GMO advocacy groups, for his research that purportedly proves that the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids are killing bees and endangering humans. And we saw how many journalists, our of ignorance or for ideological reason,s promote dicey science.
(Some advocacy groups have latched on to Lu’s work looking for legitimacy and support. There has been a growing community of resistance to much that has been going on in the agro-chem-gentec industry that pre-dates Lu and his research. They have been challenging the multi-billion dollar industry on multiple fronts. On the other hand, it only takes a little checking to discover that Lu is often viewed as a ‘liability’ within the scientific community and a hinderence to their efforts by many in the community who have been advocating for good science in the political process that regulates these industries. They did not choose Lu nor do they now claim him as their champion. Entine, in his previous article strategically chose Lu as a ‘straw dog’ to represent his opposition, the “anti-pesticide and anti-GMO advocacy groups”, a target that he could then ‘tear down’ and then apply to the opposition groups as a whole, as if Lu, with his biases and ‘sloppy science’ were truly representative of them. In these articles, at least, Entine gets to choose. This strategy isbecoming increasingly common when ‘industry’ and their front men, under attack, seek to ‘confuse’ the public thus reducing political pressure that might seek to limit them and their ability to conduct ‘business as usual’.Continue reading →
A bee visiting the flowers of an Edgewortia chrysantha in Washington Park.
The following posting is built around an article written by Jon Entine in response to Chensheng Lu’s claims that Neonicotinoides, synthetic Nicotine, a commonly used ‘group’ of insecticides in modern conventional agriculture, are at the heart of CCD. There is a link to the original Entine article posted on his site, the Genetic Literacy Project ,it also appears, on the Science 2.0, website. There is a second Entine article as well addressing more directly Lu’s ‘science and Entine’s conclusions that I will deal with in a later posting. I began this after reading it several weeks ago on Facebook and was initially, convinced by it that Lu was in fact practicing bad science and that bothered me, because Entine’s article was ‘pushing’ me so hard to get to that conclusion. Later, the topic kept popping up on my radar as I saw calls for bans of neonics here in the US. I more recently was puzzled by what I found on the Xerces Society website regarding the issue…so I decided to look a little deeper. What follows is still a beginning, an attempt to winnow the ‘wheat from the chaff’. There are many more questions to ask if we are to make a responsible decision on this issue. Such things are never simple when fallible humans and corporations are involved. Continue reading →