45 results for author: Kathryn Thomsen


Crusade for Healthy Soil is Building Momentum On the Ground

Farmers, ranchers, ecologists and community champions are spreading the word. Healthy soil produces more food, retains more water, reduces erosion, and provides better rangelands for animals. Soil is a crucial building block for all natural resources and we need to do a better job of taking care of it. The idea for healthy soil has been brewing internationally and nationally for some time. In 2016 at the Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, 32 nations agreed to the 4 per 1000 initiative calling to increase carbon content in the top 40 cm of their soils by 0.4% per year. Improving soil health would remove about 3.5 gigatons of carbon from ...

Every Plant and Rock Holds the Secret of Desert Wildflowers

In the desert there are secret treasures waiting to be discovered like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Tucked away between mysterious geologic formations and barrel cactus the sunbaked hills tell the secret of desert wildflowers if you listen closely. It's a best kept secret that only the locals - such as the lizards and crooked-spine Yucca can tell. A wildflower is "A flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention." By this definition, every plant in the desert should be a wildflower. How these delicate creatures thrive among scorched rocks and bleached sand with barely a drop of water each ...

Quite Simply, Earth has a Greenhouse Gas Problem

Earth has a gas problem. To many, this is old news. To some, it's confusing news. To a very small minority, it's fake news. To let it sink in a little more it's worth repeating: earth has a greenhouse gas problem. A good way to learn what this greenhouse gas problem is all about, NASA's Earth Minute video series quickly sums up our planet's predicament. These are worth watching again (and maybe duplicating just in case they mysteriously disappear). Each about a minute long, the Earth Minute videos cover topics from the study of earth to space with the climate in between. Earth Has a Fever,the Usual Suspects, and the Gas Problem sketch out ...

17 Rules for Building a More Sustainable Local Community

Is our world coming unglued? With so much violence escalating around the globe,  how can we pull ourselves together and focus on building a more sustainable local community for all? A quiet voice tells me to have hope. Everything will be alright. Applying healthy doses of positive efforts in our communities are called for now more than ever.  Fortunately there are lots of efforts around the globe working towards creative solutions for a more peaceful and compassionate society. What is a community anyway? It's not a place, building, or organization. Community is about people, a sense of trust, belonging and caring for each other and the ...

Lost in Death Valley Beyond Time and Place

Sometimes when you least expect the most unlikely events occur. Call it synchronicity or just plain luck to find myself surrounded by rugged bone-dry beauty tucked away in all that rocky terrain. I was a newcomer exploring Death Valley with a friend who had hiked and camped all over those parts for years. I’ve heard that luck is about being in the right place at the right time. When you’re in the middle of a desert hot enough to fry an egg on a rock, the concept of time and place takes on another dimension...

Citizen Science and Bioblitz Brings Planet Activism to Everyone

At a time when we may need to rely on bake sales in the U.S. to fund scientific research, community activism is picking up steam and maybe some of the slack. Although most of us don’t have deep pockets, we do love nature and being outdoors. Citizen science is a growing movement to encourage the public to get involved in collecting data for scientific research. Did you know that data collected from citizen scientists has contributed more than 77 percent of studies on birds and climate change? I sat in on an animated discussion about citizen science recently at the Climate Reality Leadership training in Denver by Gillian Bowser, a research ...

Sustainable Tourism and Organic Farming in Togo, Africa

Jeremies Pimzi is a social entrepreneur with a creative spirit and big heart. A couple years ago he started Fly for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism and organic farming. The purpose of the organization is to improve the environment, education, and incomes of farming communities in Togo, Africa. As a tour guide Jeremies discovered that sustainable tourism was a win-win for the local community and the volunteers who participate. Both gain a rich cross-cultural experience and the local economy gets a boost. This small but mighty operation has been churning out successful sustainability projects with the help of its ...

Restore Hope and Focus on Climate Change Solutions Now

Looking for support to focus on climate change solutions, I recently attended the Climate Reality Leadership training in Denver. After working on climate change and energy issues for many years I was still waiting for the magical day when U.S. carbon policies would align to solve the global warming crisis. I hoped the training would restore my faith in our nation’s ability to ignite large-scale, effective solutions for climate change. The workshop offered a new arsenal of tools to communicate with the public - at all levels of understanding - about global warming. After spending three days rubbing elbows with Al Gore and his well-trained army of ...