The Future Of News

2503_cover_beigeThe purpose of this, where I am typing this just now, is to share information. Sometimes that information comes in the form of a personal story, which is highly subjective but informative about the challenges, the innovations, and accomplishments related to conservation and the wellbeing of communities around the world. We depend on the New York Times for this kind of information every day, and more days than not we link out to stories they publish related to the environment, community, or other topics of interest on this platform; so this story matters to us:

ARTHUR GREGG SULZBERGER doesn’t remember the first time he visited the family business. He was young, he says, no older than 6, when he shuffled through the brass-plated revolving doors of the old concrete hulk on 43rd Street and boarded the elevator up to his father’s and grandfather’s offices. He often visited for a few minutes before taking a trip to the newsroom on the third floor, all typewriters and moldering stacks of paper, and then he’d sometimes go down to the subbasement to take in the oily scents and clanking sounds of the printing press. Continue reading

Librarian’s Librarian

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The Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, believes in citizens’ right to access information. “It should feel very special because it is very special,” she said, of the Library. “But it should be very familiar.” ILLUSTRATION BY BEN KIRCHNER; PHOTOGRAPH BY LEXEY SWALL / THE NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX

It has been too long since our last shout out, among dozens starting in 2011, to libraries and librarians, so we are thankful for this opportunity with a brief excerpt from the middle of this post on the New Yorker website:

THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS AND THE GREATNESS OF HUMILITY

The values of Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first person of color in the position, can be seen in every aspect of the institution she runs.

…Mention her name to a New York Public Library staffer, and there’s a frisson of excitement; at her raucous and bustling sendoff in Baltimore, a high-school librarian, quoted in the Washington Post, called her a “rock star.”…

Coastal Preparations

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy’s Cool Green Science, and specifically Lisa Feldcamp, for this note and video on adaptive coastal folks:

“It hurt my heart to see how [the beach] had been deteriorated,” says Norris Henry of St. Andrew’s Development Organization. “I know in the past there was a nice beachfront, where you can play cricket, you can play football, you can run. But it’s so sad to see it is no longer there.” Continue reading

Made In India, Another Success Story

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A wheel of hard, aged cheese. Aarthi Gunnupuri

Since our setting up shop in India in 2010 we have seen many improvements all around us, all much more important than cheese. But, finally, even the cheese is making life here better. Thanks as always to the folks at the salt, from National Public Radio (USA):

These Monks Have A Calling: Making Fresh Italian Cheese — In India

AARTHI GUNNUPURI

In a monastery tucked away in a quiet back lane of Bangalore, India, Benedictine monks of the Vallombrosian Order are using their European connections to meet rising demand for fresh, Italian-style cheese in this South Asian country. Continue reading

Mad, Yes

0115-bks-ivorytower-blog427-v3As we approach our 8,000th post on this platform we realize that for the nearly six years we have been posting there was plenty of hopeful, helpful news related to community, collaboration and conservation–the themes we committed ourselves to at  the outset.

Times seem different now, to state the obvious. And yes we are “mad” about what is happening around us. Madly determined. It will take discipline to remain focused and find the news that fits our purpose here. But we intend to.

The point has not been to ignore the bad news, of which there has been plenty in recent years, but to share a few notices each day that highlight better news. Or possible solutions. The spirit of our intent, which has been to support “the fight” as needed but remain civil to the end, is captured well in this book review:

How to Be Civil in an Uncivil World

By

Catch Da Lion

Our contributors have posted frequently about the implications of lionfish as invasive species on this site, but we’re always happy to support new programs and initiatives, especially in Belize.

This one is particularly fun and informative, explaining exactly how to manage the spines, how to catch them, how to eat them and how to wear them!

Multiple programs are popping up to help reduce the impact of this invasive species…

Get involved!

  1. Ask your local dive shop, tour operator or tour guide about going out to catch lionfish! Many businesses around Belize offer guests the chance to go out and remove lionfish from our beautiful reefs!
  2. Find that friend who has a boat and head out to the reef to go catch lionfish yourself! See the FAQ below for more information on the tools you will need!
  3. Organize or participate in a Lionfish tournament! Lionfish tournaments have been organized in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Dangriga and Placencia. Anybody can form a team and enter to catch the most, biggest & smallest lionfish for prizes and good fun!Interested in organizing one, contact us here for support regarding best practices, tournament rules and the materials you will need to get started!
  4. OR, join one of Blue Ventures’ Lionfish expeditions, to get involved in research & culling efforts in Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve!
  5. OR join ReefCI’s lionfish programme

Now you try!

Continue reading

We Will Be For It

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We have not seen one yet, apart from Uber and Lyft (which we have been grateful for as users already), but when we do see any pure form(s) of this mythical app our support will be early and often:

Carpooling apps could slash congestion, fuel use, and emissions

Cabo Pulmo & Octavio Aburto’s Masterful Storytelling

David and Goliath

The more we look around, the more we find that Mr. Aburto is telling the Cabo Pulmo story as well as anyone:

The People (Past and Present)

What make Cabo Pulmo a success story is its people: when faced with the dilemma to either continue fishing or to turn towards conservative goals, the community decided they needed to change. Continue reading

Keeping A Family Business Busy, Moving Into The Future While Preserving The Past

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Camillo Sirianni, a third-generation family business that began as a mechanized carpentry company in 1909, has overcome the isolation of its hometown to become a leading manufacturer of school furniture. Credit Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times

The EU, like all governance systems and especially relatively young ones, had its shortcomings; but it also had plenty of visionary good that we continue to admire:

Internet Throws Lifeline to Family Businesses in Small Town in Italy’s South

By

SOVERIA MANNELLI, Italy — Mario Caligiuri can still recall the night that may be credited with changing the fortunes of Soveria Mannelli.

It was New Year’s Eve at the turn of the millennium, and as mayor he dashed off an email to the authorities in Rome seeking an audience to explain his initiative to connect his struggling mountaintop town of about 3,000 inhabitants to the internet. Continue reading

App For Food Waste Reduction

‘A love for food and a distaste for waste’: Iseult Ward (left) and Aoibheann O’Brien in the FoodCloud warehouse in Dublin. Photograph: Mark Nixon for the Observer

‘A love for food and a distaste for waste’: Iseult Ward (left) and Aoibheann O’Brien in the FoodCloud warehouse in Dublin.
Photograph: Mark Nixon for the Observer

Thanks to the Guardian for their coverage of stories about reducing food waste:

FoodCloud: new app proves a nourishing idea for wasted food

The distribution of surplus food in Ireland is being transformed by FoodCloud. Killian Fox meets the duo behind the venture

Killian Fox

Within one community, there can be a business that’s throwing away perfectly good food and just around the corner there’s a charity that’s struggling to feed people in need,” says Iseult Ward of FoodCloud, a remarkable social enterprise which she co-founded with Aoibheann O’Brien in 2012. “We wanted to connect the two.” Continue reading

Surfing, Farming, Learning

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We have on occasion linked to video shorts offered over at the Atlantic website; this one is worth the seven minutes:

When Pro Surfers Learn to Farm

Video by The Perennial Plate

What happens when a group of professional surfers get tired of the global surfing circuit?

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This charming short documentary tells the story of how three friends abandoned their sports careers for the whimsical calling of growing organic vegetables on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Continue reading

Another Small Step For Mankind

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A camp in Cannon Ball, N.D., where cold weather has set in. Credit Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Protesters for a cause we could understand and side with, namely the keeping of commitments made long ago to the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the North American continent, have apparently won. Not so common, so we celebrate. And we like the twist in this story below, with unexpected allies. We did not quite believe the news when we first saw it, but now it seems certain enough to post it for posterity:

As North Dakota Pipeline Is Blocked, Veterans at Standing Rock Cheer

By

FORT YATES, N.D. — After four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, after being hit by a roadside bomb and losing two friends to explosions, Jason Brocar floated from job to job, earning enough to pay for long solo hikes where his only worries were what he would eat and where he would sleep. He was deep into a rainy trek through Scotland when he noticed friends back home talking about a place called Standing Rock. Continue reading

Banks, Rainforests, We The People

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Young orphaned orangutans on a climbing expedition with their keeper at International Animal Rescue’s orangutan school in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Credit Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

We first started paying close attention to the plight of the ecosystem in the image above when we saw the talk given by Willie Smits, who has taken action, to say the least, in the interest of protecting that rainforest and its inhabitants. It is not because of the orangutans (though see the photo below and try to resist reading on) that we find this article compelling; it is because there is a clear and compelling call to action on holding our institutions accountable:

How Big Banks Are Putting Rain Forests in Peril

By

In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.

Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: smoldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Continue reading

Urban Cycle Heaven

Copenhagen has recorded 13,100 more bikes than cars in the city centre over the past year. Photograph: Michal Krakowiak/Getty Images

Scandinavia in general (and Denmark in particular) is famous for forward thinking initiates, both socially and environmentally. Thanks to the Guardian for sharing this milestone.

Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Denmark’s capital has reached a milestone in its journey to become a cycling city – there are now more bikes than cars on the streets. Can other cities follow? Continue reading

World Class Recycling

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Recycling bins for glass bottles — both clear and colored — in Potsdam, Germany. Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times

Thanks to the New York Times for reminding us who’s who in the world of recycling:

Germany Gleefully Leads List of World’s Top Recyclers

By

The praise from a German friend was the first sign that I had gone native.

“You see?” he said to his American wife, pointing to the sink where, without thinking, I was rinsing out the plastic yogurt cup I’d just emptied, unwrapping its cardboard sleeve and separating the foil from the lip of the container. “That is how to recycle!”

What may sound like a lot of extra fuss over trash has become second nature among Germans, the world’s recycling champions. Continue reading

New Directions In Art

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Flexn artists, photo by Sodium for MIF 2015

We had not heard of Flexn until this week, when they were mentioned in a podcast with the phenomenal Peter Sellars (alluded to once previously in these pages, and linked to another time directly). Now we want to know more. And it looks like one way to learn more will happen at The Shed. Back in August, when we first heard about The Shed, it was a quick glance at the future. Now we have more detail, thanks to this early release of a profile in next week’s New Yorker:

ALEX POOTS, PERFORMANCE ART IMPRESARIO

How will the director of New York’s ambitious experimental cultural center change the city?

By Calvin Tomkins

Every so often, it seems, visual artists are stricken by the urge to perform. The “happenings” movement in the nineteen-sixties—young painters and sculptors doing nonverbal theatre—was explained as a response to Pollock, de Kooning, and other gestural Abstract Expressionists: it was the gesture without the painting. Continue reading

Food Waste Approaching Zero (Goals Are Powerful)

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Junior Herbert, a volunteer with Olio, collects leftovers from vendors at London’s Camden Market. London has become a hub for apps and small-scale businesses that let restaurants and food vendors share leftovers with the public for free, and otherwise reduce the amount of edibles they toss. Maanvi Singh for NPR

Green entrepreneurship is alive and well in London (thanks to National Public Radio, USA, and its program the salt for this story):

Eat It, Don’t Leave It: How London Became A Leader In Anti-Food Waste

MAANVI SINGH

It’s around 6 o’clock on a Sunday evening, and Anne-Charlotte Mornington is running around the food market in London’s super-hip Camden neighborhood with a rolling suitcase and a giant tarp bag filled with empty tupperware boxes. She’s going around from stall to stall, asking for leftovers.

Mornington works for the food-sharing app Olio. “If ever you have anything that you can’t sell tomorrow but it’s still edible,” she explains to the vendors, “I’ll take it and make sure that it’s eaten.” Continue reading

Trees Cooling Urban Jungles

Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Thanks to Cool Green Science:

Using Cloud Computing to Untangle How Trees Can Cool Cities

BY TIMOTHY BOUCHER

We’ve all used Google Earth — to explore remote destinations around the world or to check out our house from above. But Google Earth Engine is a valuable tool for conservationists and geographers like myself that allows us to tackle some tricky remote-sensing analysis.

After having completed a few smaller spatial science projects in the cloud (mostly on the Google Earth Engine, or GEE, platform), I decided to give it a real workout — by analyzing more than 300 gigabytes of data across 28 United States and seven Chinese cities. Continue reading