Rain. Some of us get more of it than others. In some cities it pours most of the year, while in others total annual rainfall is measured in a tuna can. You might not need to conserve as much water if you get a lot of rain. But even in high-precipitation areas of the country (and world), it’s more about infiltration than how much rain falls.
Infiltration is king when it comes to making the most use of rainfall. In areas where soil is exposed and compacted, water can’t make its way in. Instead, it sheets over the top of the soil. This means it ends up in the ill-conceived street drainage system. I say ill-conceived because the storm water engineering we’re all living with was designed to carry water away, not into, the landscape.
I recently considered how many people have told me they don't know what restorative design really means. I spend a good deal of time answering questions like, "what is green infrastructure," "is a swale paved," and that kind of thing. And these questions don't only come from my clients. I've found that a lot of builders aren't familiar with ecology. They install jobs according to 'traditional' methods.
This almost always means high costs, maintenance, water use, pollution, and waste.
I am deeply invested in seeing my designs installed as intended, so that my clients get all the benefits. There is nothing like hearing that a design-only client hired a traditional installation firm only to end up with an unsustainable landscape because the company didn't know how to read or build their master plan. So rather than answering such questions one at a time, I thought I'd create this post to help homeowners and builders get it right.
In my experience as a designer and an intuitive, forest destruction is the single most dangerous activity of mankind. The result of taking out trees is the decline of the landscape toward desertification, or entropy. I’ve always shaken my head at the mainstream tale we’ve been told about entropy being Earth’s natural tendency. If you’ve spent as much time gazing into Nature as I have, you probably agree that this is a flat out lie. To anyone watching, natural systems move automatically toward a climax ecosystem state unless they are disturbed to a degree that breaks down the inherent ability of the system to recover. In extreme cases of deforestation, true deserts occur, such as the Sahara in Africa.
An Egyptian Take On Desertification
Speaking of the Motherland, on the subject of desertification I find the research of those wise and brave enough to disregard Egyptology to be important here. They are the most fun researchers and writers IMHO (in my humble opinion) because they are boldly willing to pass right by the misinformation campaigns fed to the world. Read More
Slope Allows Sophisticated Backyard Water Features
If you’ve ever looked at rural property advertisements, you’ve probably noticed that flat is desirable. It seems like everyone wants a level piece of land, and for good reason, because it’s easier to put a house there. But what if I told you that a property with some slope is highly valuable? I have transformed many formerly unusable outdoor spaces by creating innovative backyard water features you wouldn’t expect.
I usually try to be in several places at once by multi-tasking. Physically, I have offices in Oregon and California. As one of probably many landscapers in these cities, I see many properties facing climate issues that my Portland, Oregon, clients only deal with during their hot, dry summers.
Landscaping in drier climates is, to me, an opportunity when handled with sustainability in mind. The semi-arid Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles offers a diverse set of challenges. I like challenges.
After 14 years, I have relocated an article I read in the Washington Post one afternoon while attending college. I was standing in my boyfriend’s living room, and I couldn’t sit down I was so excited. But I laid it down and forgot to keep the paper. Over the years, I tried to find the article again using search terms on Google and by writing to the Washington Post, with no luck. Now that I have fortunately relocated the documentation of this important story, I would like to spread the word. I think this information profoundly changes the world-view that American teenagers of my generation were taught in high school science and has far-reaching implications for human perception and experience.
In 1986, scientist Louis A. Frank released his findings to NASA that house-sized frozen water droplets are and always have been raining down into Earth’s atmosphere from Space. The 40-foot wide “snowballs,” as the scientific community refers to them, were previously undetected with the instruments available due to the relative size and speed of the droplets. The discovery was confirmed with further research, however.
The significance of this relatively new-found fact is that our planet’s water cycle is not closed, as our text books diagrammed with colorful cartoons, but open to space.
Essentially, then, little wet vehicles for all manner of materials enter our atmosphere daily. I’ve come across numerous theories of Earth’s seeding from Cosmic origins, but what about yesterday, tomorrow, today? Where did the last rainstorm over your town come from? What might it have carried to your local soil, plant communities and crops, drinking water?
The relatively small comets Louis A. Frank discovered are mostly water, but it seems overwhelmingly obvious that an incalculable variety of organic and inorganic material is arriving in the cosmic rain we’re getting, especially since these water comets apparently helped Earth form its oceans.
It is a fact that on Earth rain clouds form when water vapor attracts to bits of grit and dust in the atmosphere. Science has declared Space to be filled with dust, and ice composed of H2O has also been found (also kind of unnecessary to prove if you ask me) in numerous locations, both within our solar system and galaxy, and billions of light years away. In my humble opinion, the question to ask is why wouldn’t Frank’s comets also be bringing us solid and probably organic particles? I dare to say ‘probably organic’ because I think some things are just kind of obvious. But that may just be me.
The Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland, famous for its spiritually-created gardens, received messages from the spirits of plants telling them that trees anchor our planet in its orbit. Trees are able to attract rain to themselves as well via what some scientists say is an ability to create vapor flows and indigenous people say is a much deeper ‘like-attracts-like’ kind of process. My personal experience is that trees anchor the planet energetically and also channel raw cosmic energies coming at Earth from Space in a way that disperses and sort of organizes the charge of the untamed rays into a usable form. I have witnessed this physically as well as visually. The founders of Findhorn received communications from the plant kingdom that corroborate this as one of the primary functions of trees. Perhaps it could be that Planet Earth’s global forest is the magnet for the cosmic rain Frank documented. Indeed, the research conducted surrounding his discovery perplexed the scientific community because there doesn’t seem to be any rain coming down on the moon. The moon, of course, has no trees.
According to the Washington Post articles, thirty of the house-sized cosmic droplets hit Earth each minute, or “43,000 of these celestial snowballs arrive on Earth every day.” It is my hope that whomever newly shares in the discovery of this awesome, mind-opening information takes a little more time and energy to observe the natural world and tune in to what s/he perceives. I will definitely have more to share soon on this last statement. (You can check Eco-Logic’s calendar of events for workshops.)
The original article can be read in its entirety here: Cosmic Rain