Monday, November 17, 2008

Connections and Connectivity

by Bree Candiloro, Nursery Manager

Originally posted on September 12, 2008

Connections. Connectivity. We need it; humans, plants and animals alike. Connectivity is in high demand for animals like mountain lions that need 200 square miles of appropriate habitat and connection to other populations of mountain lions so that they will remain healthy. Connection in terms of human touch is necessary to keep babies alive. Plants in the marsh need the tidal waters to connect their seeds to new areas for growth.

Clapper Rail

The wild plants and animals are just as much our neighbors as the people who live in the house next door. So what is our connection to them? We assume wild lands are out there somewhere—in the National Parks we visit once a year—and we don't really need to protect more. But we do. We desperately do. Our every breath is dependent on the health and properly working systems of the Earth.

Let's focus in on California systems. Fire. The fires that devastated much of California earlier this summer made us very aware of the increasing number, frequency and intensity of these natural disasters. Non-native invasive plants can quickly come into an area after a burn and increase the danger of another fire burning more rapidly and more intensely than the landscape has been accustomed to enduring for the hundreds to thousands of years before. These fires are changing the face of the California landscape.

Not all of us, but many people in California have lost a connection to the natural world and don't understand the important role wild plants, wild animals and wild protected open spaces play in our everyday lives. I go from my house, to BART, to my downtown Oakland office on the ninth floor. I work on the computer, go home, and never think about the water rushing through the tap or from where it originates. I never think about the farm from where the wheat used to make the bread in my sandwich was grown. And I also assume that I will forever be able to draw clean water from my tap and purchase bread wherever and whenever I need it. But the health of the system that provides the clean water and provides the soil for the farm is so intricately connected with my life in so many ways. Keeping these systems healthy means keeping myself healthy too.

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