This is a collection of hopeful stories I have read the past week.
I love the hopeful stories of this past week. These are stories that give an exciting projection of what the world is going to be like in the future. This is my occasional series on hopeful good news stories happening throughout the world.
1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa is planting 1,000 acres of native prairie to create bee/butterfly/bird/wildlife habitat by planting native prairie plants. 99.99% of Iowa’s native habitat is gone. Information at Iowa Let’s hope other communities will do the same!
2. IKEA has created growrooms which are large, multi-tiered spherical gardens that are designed to sustainably grow enough food to feed a neighborhood.
3. India: This one is beyond my understanding: Scientists in India have captured carbon and are turning it into baking soda. Read about it at India
4. Indonesia: Indonesia, a nation of many islands, has strong goals to cut plastic use. Read about it here.
5. Texas: “I never thought that wind would pay more than oil,” said a Texas landowner. Wind power is paying ranchers more money for wind than oil. Read about it at Texas.
6. Hope for the Paris Climate Agreement. Ivanka Trump and her husband seem to support the historic climate deal.
7. Copenhagen now has more bikes than cars which is no surprise if you visit this biking city. Their bikes lanes are as wide as car lanes. See video bikes in Copenhagen
When I see the mowing down native plants pollinators I get angry. My husband and I have just completed a driving loop from Minneapolis to Chicago and back through Iowa. We have traveled Interstate East 94, West Interstate 80 and Interstate 35 North. The entire road trip I surveyed the status of mowing and blooming plants. The shoulders of most of the interstates are not over-mowed, but they are mowing the center median which doesn’t make sense? The best plants can grow in the median if allowed to survive. Some farmers are mowing along the interstates and they do get a little extreme with their mowers. Educating, educating and educating is what we need to continue to do, and it does make a difference. Below is a sample letter I sent to my rural town road crew. I hope you can modify it and send to your local and state government.
Dear local government road crew,
Pollinators, (bees, butterflies and birds) are in trouble in the United States. They have faced serious habitat loss. Last year and the past few years their numbers seemed smaller compared to the years before. Bees and butterflies need the nectar and pollen from flowers for their survival. The Obama Administration is working to plant pollinator plants along our interstate highways to improve bird, bee and butterfly habitat. The plants along the roadways in our town are a natural habitat for birds, butterflies and bees. Now as the daisies, lupine and other wild plants bloom we have beautiful roadways for residents and food for butterflies and bees.
I am writing to ask you to not mow the entire right-a-way along our town roads until maybe late August or even better would be September. I know you need to mow for safety, and that is important. Could you please not mow every flower down until early fall? Maybe mow just a strip along the roads leaving plant food for our pollinators. The bees, butterflies, birds and humans would thank you for the needed nectar, and fabulous summer beauty.
If I can get a commitment from you to mow a little later, I will spread milkweed seeds along the town roads creating more butterfly and bee habitat.
Wisconsin energy co-ops to create monarch butterfly habitat
This election is already too long, too silly, and too expensive, but please don’t sit it out! Choosing the next president of the United States is a long cumbersome process, and such a small number of people actually participate in this beginning process, but it is the most important! Those that show up have the power!
How do we get more people to participate? You are important to this process, and everyone needs to feel that their vote and their opinion count, but you can’t do that if you don’t show up. If you don’t vote, you pass your power as a citizen to those that do participate. With all the money in politics, participation in the voting process is our one voice. This voice is needed to try to keep big money and corporations from making all the rules. Good elected leaders are important to health of our planet and the health of our people. We need to elect serious leaders that are capable of getting the big picture and choose leaders that are not beholden to those that make big financial contributions. A democracy is only as strong as those who work to make it strong by participating.
In Minnesota like Iowa we have caucuses. Caucuses take a high level of commitment. Political parties organize and run the caucus meetings. Because the political parties run the caucus meetings, many think they aren’t welcome. Everyone is welcome, and your voice is not heard if you don’t attend. Even though I don’t like the process, I attend. I believe in the voice of all citizens. You need to attend because your voice as to who is elected is just as important as the party hacks and leaders. In Minnesota you don’t need to be registered to participate according to what I read, and I have never seen anyone register. Caucuses in Minnesota are not set up to register people. Find you caucus location through your state Secretary of State website.(This is Minnesota as an example)
If your state has a primary you are lucky, go and cast your vote on the correct date, at the correct polling location, but make sure you are registered. Call or google your city hall or Secretary of State to find out how to register and where to vote. Every state has different rules for registering and voting. Don’t waste your one vote! See the link below for your state’s primary election or caucus date.
The job of all citizens is enormous, and your help is needed! Caucuses can be fun. Go and make a night of it. You will learn something, and you will meet new people! If your state has a primary election, get registered and vote. Our country will be stronger the more people who participate. Many around the world would love to have this opportunity!
See when your state presidential event takes place in the link below:
In the past two weeks I have spent 5 days in Iowa, and then a week in Northern Wisconsin away from the agricultural belt. As I biked and walked in Iowa the lack of butterflies was disheartening. I even saw and smelled the Iowa DOT spraying along the highway. In contrast northern Wisconsin is more grass/hay country, lower pesticide use, and the butterflies aren’t like what I would like to see, but they are flitting around when you look for them. The bee population up north is still questionable, but better than what I saw in Iowa.
I agree with this excellent letter to the editor in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Thank you for “Bees at the brink” (June 29). Our rural surroundings have changed since we moved to south-central Minnesota in 1960. Our small farms have mostly disappeared, and our once-vibrant town struggles to stay alive. There was much more variety in the landscape: I remember picking strawberries along Hwy. 169 with my children; we heard and saw meadow larks and pheasants, and clouds of monarch butterflies were a part of every spring and summer. Now what do we have? Corn and soybeans from horizon to horizon; hedgerows with their diversity of plants and animal life gouged out; wetlands drained, and herbicides ensuring that few bee-friendly flowers grow on roadsides and lawns. Our state and federal supports, with their continuing crop insurance programs — even for marginal land — and cutbacks on set-aside acreage such as CRP and CREP help to perpetuate the increasing sterility of our natural environment.
Economic success should not be the only determinant of wealth. We lose too much if it is.