Walking and Chewing Gum

By: John A. Lanier

I’m a huge advocate for utility-scale solar. That doesn’t mean, however, that I think we’re doing it perfectly right now.

“Nature abhors a monoculture.” It’s a line that I have heard Will Harris of White Oak Pastures use several times. Will has an incredible story, and you can read an awesome version of it on The Bitter Southerner’s site, but for now I want to focus on his quote.

Factually, Will is correct. Monocultures, meaning ecosystems entirely oriented around a single species, do not exist in nature. They are a human invention rooted in the dawn of agriculture 12,000 years ago, but modernized and taken to extremes with the recent advent of industrial agriculture. Picture a field of corn in the Midwest that extends as far as the eye can see. Literally, miles and miles of corn, and only corn. To Mother Nature, that would be super weird.

Our monocultures have been really good at doing exactly what they are designed to do – produce crops we can use in the short term (whether food or materials like lumber). But that’s not nature’s goal. Ecosystems instead optimize for diversity, which then yields long-term resilience in the form of healthy soils, abundant and varied food sources for all resident species, natural limits to excessive population growth, and opportunities for inter-species collaboration. They meet the needs of both the current generation of life forms as well as the needs of future generations. In other words, nature multi-tasks, while humans and their monocultures do not.

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Won't You Be My Neighbor?

By: John A. Lanier

Many of environmentalism’s conflicts are unnecessary and ultimately impediments to what we are trying to accomplish. What do we do about resolving those conflicts? I think we would be wise to turn to the example of Mister Rogers.

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An Appealing Solution

By: John A. Lanier

Their story is a great example of biomimicry. They looked at how all plants on land have a surface layer that protects from drying and rotting, and they studied the molecular structure of those “peels” in fruits and vegetables. Then they developed a coating that mimics and amplifies their effectiveness.

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Crossings

By: John A. Lanier

I’m still out this week, so you get to read another nature poem that I found instead of my usual drivel.

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What Does the Earth Say?

By: John A. Lanier

For this blog break, I’ll be leaving you with links to some nature-inspired poems that I recently found and loved.

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Pulling a (Uni)Lever

By: John A. Lanier

Imagine if every customer could quickly and easily see the carbon footprint of what they were buying. I bet a lot of people would choose the lower carbon option!

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Tabletop Forestry

By: John A. Lanier

By playing Photosynthesis, you can see the full lifecycle of trees from seedlings to eventual death and understand how an entire forest can arise from planting just a few trees.

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What Makes a Goal Good

By: John A. Lanier

If a company doesn’t know how to accomplish a sustainability goal, then that’s a good thing! The uncertainty and stress that is induced by a stretch-goal invites creativity, innovation, and growth.

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Vinyl is in Style

By: John A. Lanier

When they made the decision to enter the LVT market, Interface was committed to pioneering more sustainable manufacturing processes and figuring out how to close the loop on the product.

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A Time to Listen

By: John A. Lanier

What I’ve learned from the events of the past week is that the best thing I can do now is to listen, not talk.

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