Collaborative Conservation

Crops from U.S. food supply chains will never look nor taste the same Again

Some paradigm shifts happen with the slow accumulation of evidence that challenges business-as-usual, and sets society on another trajectory. Other shifts come in the aftermath of catastrophes that cause severe human suffering, painfully demonstrating how badly our society has ignored or dismissed danger signs that our essential human life support systems have not been functioning well.

I feel deep grief as we recognize how our health care and food supply chains are failing so many of our elderly, infants, minorities and ...

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Migrant Farmworkers, Native Ranchers in Border States Hit Hardest by COVID-19

As COVID-19 raised its ugly head in the rural areas of Southwest borderlands this winter, I recalled the conditions among farmworkers described by Jeff Banister, now director of the Southwest Center at the University of Arizona, after he had spent days out in the heat with migratory farmworkers at the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

“By day, field hands toiled in the region’s extreme humidity and heat. At night, they slept under roofs of cardboard. Blankets covered bare ground ...

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Patagonia, an essential pit stop for monarch butterflies

When Gary Nabhan was growing up in the Indiana Dunes, Indiana, he remembered being sleepy in the middle of his class one day. Looking out the window, he studied the leaves of a tree nearby.

Nabhan, who would later find out he is color blind, thought the leaves had odd colors. And as this crossed his mind, the leaves — which turned out to be monarch butterflies — flew away. Nabhan’s lifelong fascination with pollinators had just begun.

Pollinator animal species such ...

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On this Earth Day, let’s think about agriculture

Farmers and ranchers hold the key to carbon storage.

As we celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, the environmental movement finds itself at a critical point in time to reflect upon its record. When have we, as environmentalists, fostered collaboration with the food and farming sectors, and when have we pushed those potential partners away and generated conflict in our rural communities?

When I worked at the headquarters of the very first Earth Day in 1970, it operated as a network of grassroots ...

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Earth Day at 50: How an idea changed the world and still inspires now

Coronavirus will overshadow Earth Day’s golden anniversary, but the movement’s successes are worth celebrating, says Gary Paul Nabhan

 

Earth Day, when people around the world come together to support the protection of the environment, is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year. The covid-19 pandemic will mean celebrations are muted, but it is worth looking back at its achievements and seeing if it can still make a difference in today’s world.

I was there at the beginning. In 1970, I was ...

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“Four Changes” by Gary Snyder

In July 2016, Jack Loeffler recorded Gary Snyder reading his updated version of ‘Four Changes’ in his home.  This recorded version was prepared for and included in a major exhibition held at the History Museum of New Mexico at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.

The exhibition was entitled ‘Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest’, and Snyder’s rendering of ‘Four Changes’  aptly conveyed how deeply the counterculture movement helped nurture the emerging environmental movement. The impact of this manifesto ...

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Earth Day at 50: Towards a More Inclusive Environmental Movement

This spring, as we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, many social historians are asking questions about the legacy and efficacy of what was initially known as the “environmental teach-ins.”

Does the environmental movement launched a half-century ago reflect the vibrant diversity of the American people? Does that movement address environmental justice issues that disproportionately affect people of color? Many surveys confirm that black and brown communities suffer differentially high exposure to toxics, air pollution, degraded lands and polluted waters.

When ...

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Money for Hospital Beds, Not Trump’s Wall

On February 27, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, unveiled a bill that had the potential to positively affect the lives of millions of Americans. It was intended to immediately divert money from President Donald Trump’s border wall to the U.S. response to the coronavirus. At the time, we could only guess how badly such funds would be needed.

Now, more than a month later, public health officials have informed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that a minimum of 140,000 ...

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Order of Ecumenical Franciscans for the House Committee on Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Homeland Security

March 23, 2020

RE:  Written Testimony for FY 2021 Appropriations

VIA email at MC.Approp.@mail.house.gov

 

Dear Chairwoman Shultz, Ranking Member Carter and Members of the Committee:

 

I am writing to ask that you rescind all Department of Defense and Treasury funds for building more of the border wall.

 

My name is Gary Paul Nabhan and I am an Ecumenical Franciscan Brother who has lived and worked on the U.S./Mexico border as a seasonal park ranger, farmer, conservational biologist and facilitator ...

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Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands & Communities – Dr. Gary Nabhan

Streaming live from the Barrows Lecture Series at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 7:00-9:00 PM (ET)

Gary Nabhan is an ethnobiologist, nature writer, and world expert on the people, plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. A recipient of a MacArthur “genius award,” Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of several visionaries whose work is making the world a better place in which to live. In his career Gary has served as ...

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Indigenous group reaffirms importance of Quitobaquito Springs amid border wall construction

“We who live near the border are blessed the Hia c-ed O’odham and Tohono O’odham have never abrogated or surrendered their rights to practice their spiritual traditions at sacred sites in the Sonoran Desert on or near the international boundary that cut their homeland in half. We pray that the groundwater pumping to build the border wall will not further dry up the freshwater springs and sacred and medicinal plants that O’odham elders speak of in this new radio program ...
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Bulldozers Versus Biodiversity, Then and Now

Trump’s border wall threatens habitats in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. What happened when the area was bulldozed in the 1950s?

 

The bulldozing of rare cacti and other species at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona for the Trump border wall has caused much controversy. But as it happens, this isn’t the first time bulldozers have altered this site.

Established as a National Monument under the authority of the National Parks Service in 1937, Organ Pipe is made up of 517 ...

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At the Mexican Border, the Battle for Endangered Species is as Much About Water as About The Wall

When 340 protesters from many cultures showed up at Organ Pipe Cactus Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border this past November to express their heartbreak over the damage done by construction of a wall, law enforcement officers appeared to be baffled by their concerns. Officials from the Army Corps of Engineers and Homeland Security were surprised that all of the signs and chants were not targeted at the wall itself.

Sure, some of the youth present were in animal costumes to demonstrate ...

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Modelled distributions and conservation status of the wild relatives of chile peppers

Crop wild relatives—the wild progenitors and closely related species to cultivated plants—have provided many important agronomic and nutritional traits for crop improvement (Dempewolf et al., 2017; Hajjar & Hodgkin, 2007). As populations of some of these taxa are adapted to extreme climates, adverse soil types, and important pests and diseases, they may provide key traits for the adaptation of crop plants to emerging and projected future challenges (Dempewolf ...

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People came together to grieve the construction of an unneeded border wall.

At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument today, 320 people of different nations, races, cultures and faiths peacefully came together to grieve the new construction of an unneeded border wall. Its construction activities are already cutting off access to water for the survival of people and wildlife, are violating native and other place-based spiritual practices, and are destroying ancient cactus and ironwood forests.

At Qutobaquito springs along the border–once the most biodiverse oasis in the entire Sonoran Desert– the cumulative destruction of ...

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Gary Paul Nabhan, recently interviewed by a clod of dirt

Dirt: So you occasionally write about us?

Gary: Well yes, on occasion. Why?

Dirt: What do you think entitles you to pry into our lives?

Gary: I’m not prying, exactly…I’m sort of crumbling you between my hands.

Dirt: While you are writing, you crumble us between your hands. Gads!

Gary: Only metaphorically so… teasing you apart, then rolling you back into a ball, so to speak.

Dirt: I just hate to be teased.  What gives you the license to write about us?

Gary: Well, I sort of ...

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Trans Situ Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives

In the face of unprecedented climatic disasters, social conflict, and political uncertainty, integrating in situ and ex situ strategies may become increasingly necessary to effectively conserve crop wild relatives (CWR). We introduce the concept of trans situ conservation to safeguard CWR genetic diversity and accessibility for crop improvement. Building on initiatives to combine in situ protection with ex situ backup in genebanks, trans situ conservation dynamically integrates multiple in situ and ex situ measures, from conservation to research to education, ...

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Trump’s Border Wall: Epitaph for an Endangered, Night-blooming Cactus?

Construction is underway on a 30-foot-high steel wall along Arizona’s southern border in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. As several reports have recently warned, the wall will hurt many endangered desert species, from Sonoran pronghorns to cactus ferruginous pygmy owls. To understand how the wall will further fragment habitats for these already-declining plants and animals, let’s go deep with one rare species that’s at grave risk: a cactus called the night-blooming cereus.

Sacamatraca, a beautiful and rare ...

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Ancient watering hole in Southern Arizona at risk from border wall construction

An ancient spring near Lukeville has slaked the thirst of desert travelers for centuries, but its days may be numbered as groundwater is pumped to build a 30-foot border wall.

Water has bubbled out of the granite at Quitobaquito Springs for thousands of years, making it a key watering hole for the Tohono O’odham, Spanish missionaries, U.S. and Mexican boundary surveyors, and countless other humans and animals.

The Trump administration decided to build a wall along 44 miles of the border in ...

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Agrivoltaics proves mutually beneficial across food, water, energy nexus

Building resilience in renewable energy and food production is a fundamental challenge in today’s changing world, especially in regions susceptible to heat and drought. Agrivoltaics, the co-locating of agriculture and solar photovoltaic panels, offers a possible solution, with new University of Arizona-led research reporting positive impacts on food production, water savings and the efficiency of electricity production.

Agrivoltaics, also known as solar sharing, is an idea that has been gaining traction in recent years; however, few studies have monitored all aspects ...

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