Photo by Rob Moir

Thursday July 23, the Ocean River Institute’s Natural Lawn Care for Healthy Soils Competition was in Bridgewater. Jacklyn Norris (left) of Bridgewater University Environmental Action Team was assisted by Susanna Buckley (Connecticut College) and Adibah Shaikh (U Mass Lowell). The winning towns are those with the greatest number of households pledging to maintain natural lawns without spreading quick-release fertilizer or harmful pesticides and herbicides.

Natural lawns in Springfield that were cut every three weeks instead of weekly with the blade set high and grass clippings left on the turf were pollinated by 96 species of bees. Save money on lawn…

Eastern cottontail rabbit on a non-fertilized lawn in Somerville, MA. Photo: R Moir

There is much more to climate change than carbon dioxide. Of all the molecules rising to cause stronger storms, longer droughts, more fires, pestilence, local extinctions, and sea level rising, global carbon is the easiest to measure as an indicator of overall planet health. The other greenhouse gasses, methane, nitrous oxides, and especially water vapor are more difficult to measure due to their dynamic, constantly shifting nature.

Global carbon dioxide levels are observed and recorded far from industries 11,000 feet above sea level at the Mauna Loa Observatory. Carbon dioxide rose steadily from 315 parts per million (ppm) in 1958…

The solution is two steps. First, every nation must achieve net zero emissions by decreasing CO2 emissions. Second, is to dramatically increase CO2 capture or drawdown. Blessed with geothermal energy, Iceland is leading the way with no fossil fuel burning for heat or electricity. Fossil fuels are only burned by cars, trucks and airplanes. To solve that problem, Iceland is developing growing algae in large vats that become a biofuel. While the amount of CO2 coming out of the tailpipe may be about the same as burning gasoline, the big CO2 saving comes about with no refining and no transporting…

I think it is all vision and not storytelling, Sean. The story of polar bears needing icebergs was made up to motivate people to tell legislators to act on climate change. Polar bears, the strongest swimming land mammals in the world, are living happily on the shores of Manitoba without icebergs.

Meanwhile snowy owls nesting on the Arctic tundra were losing chicks to hyperthermia when summer snows turned to rain and penetrated their downy feathers. Their plight never took form in a compelling story. …

Seriously, you don’t know how to measure carbon in the soil? Batteries are not required. Peter Donovan fashioned for me two steel infiltration rings. Pound it into the ground with a rubber mallet and pour in one tuna fish can worth of water. (As long as you use the same can precise volume does not matter.) Time the period it takes for the water to sink into the ground. Faster the water disappears the more carbon-rich the soil in the ground.

In this hands-on low-tech way, lawn owners actually see how much more carbon they are capturing when they do…

On Friday, August 6, The Natural Lawn Care for Healthy Soils Challenge was at Haute Coffee in Concord. Adibah Shaikh (U Mass Lowell) of Lincoln assisted Rob Moir Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute.

Concord Carlisle has been challenged by Lincoln Sudbury in a friendly competition counting pledges to keep established lawns natural without the application of quick-release fertilizer and no chemical pesticides or herbicides. People taking the pledge need not live in the town or may pledge a different team. A couple from Lincoln chose to do that, and may go on social media to up their numbers.

To meet the ravages of climate change, Congress has introduced the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act (HR.8632). The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of the planet. Nothing has more of an impact on the climate than does the ocean. About one out of every four carbon dioxide molecules emitted into the atmosphere are drawn down into the ocean. Sea water along our shores buffer the rise of land temperatures during the summer and the cold of temperatures during the winter. The ocean fuels rainfall, drives local water cycles, is one with weather systems, and with waters warming, gives much more energy…

There is hope for the bees when there’s clover in the lawn. Researchers discovered that lawns in Springfield Massachusetts when cut every three weeks instead of weekly resulted in as many as 2.5 times more lawn flowers, mostly clover and dandelions, and a great diversity of 93 species of bees.

Thursday, May 20 this the sixth annual World Bee Day. Celebrate bees by joining with others in pledging not to spread quick-release fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides on your lawn. Toxins must follow the applied nutrients because grass is developing an addiction, is thinner with less fiber, easy forage for pests…

Dougie MacLean's song is titled Until We Meet Again. It's a great closing song.

"Until we meet again, I wish you well

I hope your light shines easily

And until we meet again, it doesn't matter how we've done

On Athol side I'll see you further on

You can't teach those who do not wish to learn. Well said. I do not think you hot-headed at all which is why I engage in word play with you. I mistook your painfully personal experiences with political positions, et al. for being the common complaint so often expressed by others about climate deniers in general. thanks for taking the time to explain situations. Of course you pick your battles, sometimes they're in your face, and wisely stay focused on "more productive endeavors." Bravo!

Rob Moir

Rob Moir, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute. He writes Clam Chowdah dot org blog and hosts Moir’s Environmental Dialogues iTalk radio.

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