Ecosystem Engineering

The Earth’s surface is an interlocking mosaic of living ecosystems — of swamps and forests and rivers and lakes and oceans that filter our water, clean our air, and support our entire civilization. This amazing mosaic evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, but we have disrupted it in just a century. Ecosystem Engineering is a sort of partnership between man and nature. It involves harnessing the very economy that has led to this destruction and using it to the planet’s advantage.

How The Tolo River People Of Colombia Harnessed Carbon Finance To Save Their Rainforest

ToloRiver

Colombia’s Tolo River People collectively own 32,000 acres of rainforest, and that forest feeds the river on which they depend. But ownership means nothing if you can’t protect it. Four years ago, the decided to start harnessing carbon finance to save the forest and preserve their way of life. This is their story. 28 July…

Wrestling With Orangutans: How Private Conservation Saved The Seruyan Forest

ToddBiruteSiswei

As a former collegiate wrestler, Todd Lemons knew the look of an eager athlete ready to grapple, and these orangutans had that look in spades. He encountered them in the forest behind Orangutan Foundation International‘s (OFI) orphanage in Pangkalan Bun, on the island of Borneo. All were adolescents who had witnessed the murder of one or both of…

Three Images That Illustrate The Challenge Of Life On A Managed Planet

The Met Office's Poster for "Human Dynamics of Climate Change"

Earlier this year, the US Climate Assessment warned of parched prairies and flaming forests if we don’t reel in climate change right now. Sixteen retired US admirals and generals then warned that droughts and other climate disruptions were about to make the world a very dangerous place. Now the United Kingdom’s weather service, the Met Office, has tried to…

A Whole Earth Way Of Thinking About The Anthropocene

WholeEarth

Before he published his first Whole Earth Catalog in 1968, Steward Brand lobbied NASA to release the first snapshots of the Earth as seen from the moon, according to Wikipedia. “He thought the image might be a powerful symbol, evoking a sense of shared destiny and adaptive strategies from people,” the entry says. The catalog provided “access to tools”,…

How To Save Sandy Beaches? Fish!

Winnie

At TEDxRio+20, marine biologist Winnie Lau explains how financing mechanisms are being used to save endangered species. Using the example of rainbow fish, a species valuable to seaside municipalities because of its ability to produce sand (just one rainbow fish can produce a ton of sand each year) Lau explains that environmentalism is just as…

Remaking The Rift Valley

ChegeCropped

Until recently, Chege Mwangi could only watch helplessly as bits of his one-acre farm – and his family’s future – washed down the steep slopes of Kenya’s Abardares Hills and into the Terasha River below. Today, however, his cabbages are bursting, his dairy cow is well-fed, and his children are in school. It’s a change that began 40 kilometers…

A Simple Guide To REDD+ From The Ground Up

300314REDDGuide

As REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus forest management) grows in complexity, the need for accessible literature is greater than ever. Unfortunately, most of the new material to emerge in the last year obfuscates and obscures this already complex mechanism – in part because each new paper tries to differentiate itself from the…