Articles by Maywa Montenegro
Maywa Montenegro is an editor and writer at Seed magazine, focusing mainly on ecology, bidiversity, agriculture, and sustainable development.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece, now posted at Seed, about a financial mechanism for reducing deforestation and degradation (REDD) and vaster territory it will likely prime for pricing ecosystem services.
It's fun to watch the story evolve, as now we're seeing the U.K.-based Canopy Capital sign an agreement to protect a 371,000 hectare chunk of tropical forest in Guyana -- in advance even of a market infrastructure to value all the services provided by this land.
For the most part, I see action in this direction as a good thing. Certainly the climate scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists who support "natural capital" schemes have their heads and hearts in the right place. But in the course of reporting for the story, I uncovered a tier of concerns missing, for the most part, from popular media coverage of the subject. Indigenous rights groups and NGOs are highly concerned [PDF] about the implications of what amounts to leasing their land to foreign investors.
German designer Timm Kekeritz took the "virtual water" data that Sarah posted about from Waterfootprint.org and created this cool interactive poster. We featured Timm's work in the February issue of Seed (not online, but Treehugger wrote about it), which prompted me to order a giant paper version of the double-sided poster. With one side devoted to "footprints of nations" and the other side showing the water "inside" products, this enormous and graphically riveting wall-hanging makes a very cool, if intimidating, addition to any interior décor.
A new series of Pew polls shows public concern for climate change is out of sync with the science:
The climate-change crisis is at its very bottom a crisis of lifestyle -- of character, even. The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our needs and desires and preferences.
For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we're living our lives suggests we're not really serious about changing -- something our politicians cannot fail to notice. They will not move until we do. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts, to laws and money and grand schemes, to save us from our predicament represents precisely the sort of thinking -- passive, delegated, dependent for solutions on specialists -- that helped get us into this mess in the first place. It's hard to believe that the same sort of thinking could now get us out of it.
Pollan's grand solution? Plant a vegetable garden!