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Archive for the ‘media stories’ Category

We’re hearing a lot about the end of suburbia right now.  Take this item in yesterday’s New York Times.   It leads with ideas that jibe with the return of survivalism that we recently noted.

But, as Alison Arieff goes on to say in her Times piece, plenty of positive re-imaginings of the suburbs are appearing to counterbalance these dystopian visions.

We EarthQuakers are particularly interested reinventing neighborliness — and how supposedly isolating information technology enables new levels of real-world social interaction on street-by-street level.

The cul-de-sac Commune group that Arieff mentions is doing that, but so is the Vermont-based Front Porch Forum and the Bay Area’s Playborhood, among others.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran a fascinating article on Monday about urban foraging — where people pick the fruit from city-owned trees that would otherwise be left to rot.   It mentions the wonderful Village Harvest, whose volunteers pick unwanted fruit from homeowners’ yards and give it to local food banks.

As the Chronicle headline puts it, efforts like these help us imagine that we can change “the way we live and eat, one fig at a time.”

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We’re happy to see the Nation devote an entire week of stories to the issue of green economics.  Important stuff there to check out.

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It’s a busy life being an EarthQuaker — especially if you aspire to live it slow, to some degree.  So we’re just now reading last month’s New Yorkers and found this fascinating but depressing insiders look at the growing trade in illegally-logged timber.  It’s essential reading.

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Something seasonal — from Sarah Newman at takepart, c/o alternet.

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The ‘Victory Garden’ idea is getting a lot of play these days.  We’ve already noticed appeals for us to ‘eat-like-there’s-a-war-on.’

Now the UK Independent is excited by the same idea — hooking its version of the story on a new exhibit, ‘Dig for Victory: War on Waste,‘ at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.

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It’s always worthwhile having one’s most deeply-held convictions challenged. That must have been the thinking behind the UK Independent’s decision to publish today an article arguing against organic food.

“The great organic myths: Why organic foods are an indulgence the world can’t afford,” is by ‘environmental expert’ Rob Johnston.

Among the ‘myths’ Johnston lists are that organic farming is good for the environment, that it is pesticide free and produces healthier food than conventional farming.

Judging from the general tenor of the many comments that the piece has already received, not too many Independent readers were persuaded by Dr. Johnston’s logic.

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Reuters journalist Kate Kelland gets excited this week about guerrilla gardening, writing a way-over-the-top article about the phenomenon keyed to a new book on the subject.

“They work under the cover of night, armed with seed bombs, chemical weapons and pitchforks. Their tactics are anarchistic, their attitude revolutionary.”

And that’s just the start in a story full of ‘enemies,’ ‘attacks,’ ‘troops’ and ‘a win-win war.’

Partly, Kelland just gets stuck belaboring her (already hokey) metaphor. And she’s trying to be funny — reflecting a common journalistic inclination to belittle anything to do with gardening.

But is something else going on, too? In the eyes of mainstream journalists, does gardening — or anything else for that matter — need to be so conflict-ridden that it actually becomes warfare for it to be deemed interesting to their readers?

Maybe the people acting as guerrilla gardeners really see themselves in martial terms. If they did, that might be interesting. But there’s no evidence of that in Kelland’s piece. She certainly doesn’t question them about the need to see gardening as fighting. Instead, the need seems to be hers.

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