Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Change the World Wednesday Challenge - 9th May 2012 - Permaculture

This weeks challenge is to think about the principles of Permaculture and how they relate to our own environment.

On first reading the challenge I began thinking of my own garden: the high fence down one side that is perfect for growing beans, peas, sweet peas and sun flowers or the shady corner at the bottom where nothing grows and is now home to the compost heap.But then I read posts by Mrs. Green and  Lynn Fang which opened my eyes to the wider application of the principles of Permaculture, bringing nature in to our cityscapes.

In many ways it is related to the disconnect between many people and their natural environments, the gulf between increasing numbers of urban dwellers and the natural cycles that sustain us. I like the idea of connecting our urban green spaces: making corridors for nature and wildlife between our parks, for example and re-introducing traditional varieties.

In one of life's little coincidences, I borrowed Food for Free by Richard Mabey from my local library a couple of weeks ago.  It talks of the harvest obtained from hedgerows, forests and other wild places that was used to supplement rations during the first and second world wars.  Many of these places have been depleted in the intervening years through changes to more intensive agriculture with larger fields and less hedges and expansion of our towns and cities but there is still a great variety if you know what to look for and where. The author also writes of the fear many people have of wild foods, a largely misplaced fear that they will poison themselves. Other than a very small number of fungi nothing will kill you in the UK.  This is another case of our growing unfamiliarity with nature.

There seems to be a reluctance to include fruits, berries and other edible plants in to urban parks and public gardens, possibly from the above fear that people will be poisoned or simply because people will help themselves.  I wonder how we can get some more brambles, gooseberries, bilberries and apples in to our parks... perhaps some guerrilla gardening?

Related Posts:

Mrs Green's Post: http://littlegreenblog.com/green-home/environment-issues/international-permaculture-day/
Lynn Fang's Post: http://lynnfang.com/2012/03/open-source-permaculture-interview-with-sophia-novak/

Doors Open on Moving Train

Via @monicaarpino Nothing like the breeze of open metro doors - while moving. Red line b/n Van Ness & Tenleytown. @unsuckdcmetro http://pic.twitter.com/Knkteaxu

This is really not safe.

From Anonymous:
My wife just called me and told me an employee of hers was somewhere on the Red Line within the last hour or so, and the doors opened mid-tunnel and stayed open until the next stop where the train was taken out of service. I don't have any more details than that.

UPDATE: Metro source confirms these accounts.

UPDATE 2: via Facebook:
I was on the Red line this morning when the train had just left the station and was gaining speed headed to Takoma. The right hand doors opened and we were kinda shocked to see that and then the train stopped. The doors stayed opened and then the left hand panel of the left side doors opened. The train started moving again with the doors opened and then they all closed. Bam! It was quite shocking. Thank God it was a train that had just started at Silver Spring and was not full. This is just totally NOT acceptable! Sent a comment into metro but I am SURE I will not hear back.

Update 3:

Less Frequent Trains?

Via @ms_saree @wmata there is no reason a train should ever be this crowded. Not a single person was able to get on. http://pic.twitter.com/k24peuHW

Metro's website says this about the rush hour "schedule": "Due to the high frequency of service, timetables for peak hours (weekdays 5-9:30 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.) are not available."

From Steve:
Is it just me, or are there less trains during rush hour these days. Used to be a nine-minute headway during rush hour was unthinkable, but now it's seems like it's all the time. I'm talking "peak of the peak" here, too.

A nine minute wait (or more) is annoying, but to compound the problem the train you waited for is usually so packed you can't get on, so you have to add another five, six, seven or more minutes for the next train. Why can't they properly space the trains?

Used to be I was one of those people who'd always wait for the next train, and usually that paid off with a more comfortable ride, but now I find myself cramming onto full trains because I really have no idea when the next train will come.

I was offloaded three times last week because of door problems. While I don't know for sure, I would surmise overcrowding leads to a lot of the door problems.

That's my rant. Just wondering if anyone else was noticing what seems like a pretty dramatic decrease in rush hour service over the past month or so.
Other items:
Rush+ will cost $6 million (Examiner)
Metro investigating MetroAccess sex report (Examiner)