Friday, June 5, 2009

Create Your Own Wildlife Refuge

Last night I finished watching the series Planet Earth.

Most of the series contained gorgeous footage of animals from all over the globe and in every ecosystem--jungles, seas, deserts, mountains, etc. There were serious contenders for The Absolute Cutest Baby Animal Ever (I nominate baby musk oxen), and footage of animals interacting with each other in their environments (i.e., eating and being eaten.) The whole thing was very well done; a fascinating and beautiful series.

The last disc explores the effects of global warming and the interactions between humans and animals/plants, who are all competing for the same land. These parts of a nature show are always overwhelming--the obstacles are so great, and the questions aren't easy, and the answers even less so. Often at the end of these sorts of shows, I want to burn all my worldly possessions and go live in a mud hut where I can have zero impact on the earth, but then I realize that burning everything would emit too much carbon dioxide, and maybe my mud hut would accidentally cover over the last surviving member of a particular variety of ant, and I would be back to square one. It’s so hard to realize that you can’t make it better, all at once, all by yourself. What to do?

This time, I thought about Doug Tallamy’s message in Bringing Nature Home. Plant native plants, he says, which will give native species a place to eat and reproduce. It’s such a small thing--it feels almost too small--but it is something that I can do. My plan to remodel the front yard suddenly includes a lot more native plants. I opened up my native plants encyclopedia and started looking this morning.

Doug was recently on NPR's Science Friday. To listen, click here.

Chani West-Foyle, marketing associate

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