Food has always been a central environmental concern, but there are some new issues arising. One is the growing conflict between fuel and food--or, one might say, between SUV drivers and the world's poor--and another is the mass marketing--or, perhaps, the industrialization, of organic food. It's a little hard to tell whether Michael Pollan thinks the latter is a good thing or a bad one, in "Mass Natural" in the New York Times: "This is good news indeed, for the American consumer and the American land. Or perhaps I should [...]
I've noticed a trend here that strikes me as a good sign. I've seen two or three people drinking water out of glass bottles they've obviously refilled. This solves the perennial water bottle challenge of taste (how many discussions have you heard about the latest, greatest new sports bottle?), and is so much better for the environment (and health) than buying bottled water. Here's a great photo created by David Coale of Acterra, who worked out how much oil is takes to ship a bottle of water from its source [...]
I was in Washington DC recently and will be there again soon. It's a wonderful city. There's much talk about the subjects I care about, excellent ethnic food, and people are remarkably friendly: everywhere I went I got into conversation with someone, even in the reception area at the Brookings Institute. But it is a city of air-conditioning. In the Berkshires, where I live, only stores and restaurants and new mansions have A/C. Why, I wonder, do people want to live in buildings colder in the summer than in the [...]
The energy crisis has become such a prominent subject in our house that I've had to ask that it not be brought up at meals--though this evening Tom did start talking about it over dessert (a cream cheese tart, by the way, topped with white currants from our garden and black raspberries from Taft Farms). Tom often makes me think afresh. "If you think about it, oil is a kind of soil. So we're pumping another country's soil into our cars." He said that China was well aware of the [...]
Two important things accomplished today: Two garden beds prepped and planted--thanks to Tom and Rachel, who have taken to lecturing me on global warming and the wastefulness of grainfed meat--with Asian salad and stir-fry greensand a mix of early radishes,* arugula, and some chicory seed we brought from Italy two years ago. I highly recommend all these things for ease, and taste. If you're new to gardening, there are few simpler things that to sprinkle seeds like these across a bed, rake in lightly, and leave to grow. We could [...]
I've neglected this site--though I'm blogging away at Berkshire Publishing--but that's going to change soon. We're in the process of setting up a larger, interactive site related to my next environmental book, which is going to focus on cooling the planet. I'll be looking for contributing writers and regional experts in different parts of the world, so if you come across this and are interested in participating, please drop me a note.