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The RēMind, No. 026: On Insects, Weeds, and the Politics of Knowledge
Updates From Rē / Introducing Our Summer Intern / the Insect Crisis / Agroecology and Indigenous Foodways / Meditating on Dandelions / Reflections on George Floyd / the Salmon Hatchery Crutch
Hello friends, we hope this newsletter finds you well! In this week’s edition we highlight some recent agroecology publications and news, share an exciting new book, introduce our summer intern, and—as always—recommend some thought-provoking weekend reading. Keep scrolling for more.
Updates from Rē:
Introducing Our New Summer Intern: Anthony DiPreta
Anthony is a community development intern at Rē. He recently completed his BA in Politics at the University of the South with a minor in Environmental Studies. While there, his research engaged with the ecological and gendered impacts of neoliberal development on indigenous communities in Latin America and their land-based activism. His interests lay at the nexus of international development, human rights, and environmental justice.
Welcome to the team, Anthony!
RēMembering the Origins of Climate Change
According to educator and theologian Parker Palmer, "the opposite of to remember isn't to forget, it's to dis-member." Course facilitator Sara Jolena Walcott applies this framework to our fragmented, short-term understanding of climate change. In this new, three-part course, participants will trace the roots of climate change back 500 years to its roots in colonialism, racism, and theology. Along the way participants in the course will also delve into their own family histories to make sense of the deep history of how we have arrived at today's climate crisis and how we can instead choose to build a more regenerative future. Click here to learn more about this upcoming course! Stay tuned for more details! Dates to be announced.
What the Insect Crisis Means for Food, Farming—and Humanity
[Insects] are a foundation for our terrestrial ecosystems, they’re food for many of the animals that we cherish and admire, and they help pollinate around a third of the food we eat… But culturally, we don’t value them… We need them far more than they need us.
In his new book, The Insect Crisis: The Fall of the Tiny Empires That Run the World, journalist and author Oliver Milman explores how declining pollinator populations could harm vulnerable communities and explains the most promising agricultural and solutions and adaptations to the crisis.
The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways
The Future of Food, 2021 | about 20 minutes
The roots of agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways represent a continuous source of knowledge that can inform a repaired relationship between people and nature.
Alongside recommendations for action, the compendium unpacks five dominant questions:
Can regenerative approaches feed the world?
Can these approaches be scaled?
Can these approaches provide meaningful livelihoods?
Can these approaches solve the climate, biodiversity, and soils crises?
Can these approaches accelerate transformation?
More regenerative farming may be a climate solution. But another climate solution is impeding its progress
Adding a heavy dose of irony to the overall complexity of getting more acres farmed regeneratively is the fact that in some growing regions, this effort is being undermined by yet another critical climate solution: solar power… Land-owning [farmers] are beginning to lease out their fertile farmland—not to [other] farmers, but to solar companies, taking that land out of production at a time when more, not less, farmland is needed to grow our food.
To keep reading this interesting article on the relationship between solar power and farming, click here.
When Wheat Never Dies
Kernza is a perennial, which means, like a lawn, it regrows and produces grain every year without having to be replanted. Its extensive root system allows it to draw water and nutrients from deep beneath the ground. Its roots sequester carbon in the soil and boost soil health, making it a regenerative agriculture dream crop.
To read more about how scientists have domesticated a type of wild wheat into a commercially viable and tasty perennial crop, click here.
Dandelions play an integral role in the ecosystems they land in. Because they are among the first to flower in the spring, they are an important early source of nourishment for many creatures including bees, beetles, butterflies and even birds like sparrows and goldfinches. Humans rely on them, too; herbalists throughout the ages have used them as medicine to heal upset stomachs, asthma, and skin conditions. Their young leaves are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and their flowers can be turned into wine, while their roots make a delicious coffee alternative.
Click here to read a beautiful, short meditation on the dandelion, and how we can learn about persistence and the power of a single seed for this ubiquitous weed.
Two Years After George Floyd's Murder, What's Changed?
We cannot ignore the fact that policing operates within a society with stark economic inequalities and racial segregation. These features of society limit opportunities for education and employment for African Americans in particular, and contribute to myriad racial disparities, including with respect to crime. Finally, we are a society that is awash in guns. I find it difficult to imagine creating the sort of safe communities we want so long as such weapons are so plentiful.
Stanford University law professors Ralph Richard Banks and David Sklansky discuss the law, policing, and racism in the US. The two experts meditate on the significance of the convictions of Derek Chauvin and three other police officers involved in the murder. They also reflect on the prospects of needed reforms being adopted. Click here to read the interview.
The Hatchery Crutch: How We Got Here
Today, wild salmon populations are struggling in the Pacific Northwest of North America. And yet, there are more salmon in the North Pacific Ocean than there were a century ago. How? Salmon Hatcheries.
Salmon hatcheries are the sum of poor choices made over 150 years by fisheries managers, often having no idea what they didn’t know about salmon, habitat, and the ocean… To restore salmon populations requires a thoughtful, long-term vision. Habitat restoration is key, and in some instances a conservation hatchery that keeps distinct salmon populations alive during the long process of undoing extensive damage to watersheds. Also, across the board, policies that separate hatchery fish and wild fish could give the fish more breathing room in their habitats.
To read this fascinating feature-length article, click here.
That’s all for this week!
As always, we at Rē are grateful for your attention and support. If you liked this newsletter, consider donating at https://regenerativeschool.org/redonate/
Thank you and see you soon!