Thursday, April 15, 2010

James Lovelock profile BBC4

If you didn't see the James Lovelock profile on BBC4 last night then I really recommend it (click here to see it on iPlayer - I don't think it's available outside the UK).

The man is a true genius - without his detection device, we would never have seen the issue of persistent pesticides or traced CFCs as the cause of the hole in the ozone layer. The realisation that life on Mars would change the planet's atmosphere, so you didn't actually have to go there to catch something living to prove/disprove its existence, led to his Gaia theory - probably the most misunderstood scientific theory in history as most conflate it with the tree-huggers who, erm, embraced it. Gaia was held up in this programme as being as important as the theory of evolution. Virtually all this work was done outside the mainstream academic system - a true maverick genius.

The real star was the 90 year old Lovelock himself who told his story with good humour. As another contributor put it, "Jim thinks outside the box so easily, because he doesn't see the box." Brilliant stuff all round.

Btw you can see my profile of Lovelock on Green Gurus here.

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Monday, April 05, 2010

A little birdhouse in my soul...

Normally I have a big project over the Easter weekend, but this year with a baby and an election, I have only really managed to repair and reposition our birdbox which had been battered by the weather (or a trespassing tree climber). I've never been that sure how much birdboxes help given the number of perfectly decent trees around, but we'll see if anyone takes up the offer.

I was devastated to hear that long tailed tits had a hard winter and their numbers are down - they're my all-time favourite bird and bring joy to my heart with their cheeky antics. So I was delighted when four flitted through the garden on Saturday. I like to think that our feeders gave them the edge over the crushing winter we had this year*.

So apart from that, I've redosed our lawn with organic food, but I haven't managed to get a full crop of compost for mulching having emptied all the heaps/containers last year. I may turn the "hedge heap" but I'm not expecting much quality compost there.

*btw not only was Jan the warmest globally on the satellite record, but Feb was second warmest on record. We just got someone else's weather.

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