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Articles by Maywa Montenegro

Maywa Montenegro is an editor and writer at Seed magazine, focusing mainly on ecology, bidiversity, agriculture, and sustainable development.

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  • How one small town in Kansas is turning disaster into progress

    There wasn't much to be happy about on today's media spectrum. So I thought I'd share one heartwarming story about one Kansas town's efforts to pick up the pieces after a devastating tornado:

    Townhomes are beginning to rise from the ragged tree trunks, weeds and ruins off Main Street. They mark a radical departure from traditional low-income housing, according to Duncan Trahl, who is from Pennsylvania and on contract with the National Renewable Energy Labs.

    The townhomes are "LEED gold certified," Trahl said. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The rating is based on a system which rewards energy savings. Trahl said gold certification means these places will be almost twice as efficient as they used to be.

    Building to this standard for working-class families is unusual, Trahl said.

    "A lot of what's happening in Greensburg is some of the first in the country," Trahl said.

    Leveraging environmentalism to rebuild a community. It's an idea that's helping revive New Orleans and now a small town in the Midwest. To be sure, the disaster that struck Pakistan yesterday morning is one of a very different nature, but I wish them speed and strength in recovery. I also look forward to the day when "stability" in the Middle East is the norm so that things like "sustainability" can be the new goal. At moments like this, that time seems painfully far away.

  • What will US ratification mean for health of the oceans?

    I recently wrote a short piece for Seed about the Law of the Sea -- a piece of legislation that has been held up in the US Senate for the past 25 years, and which, if ratified, could have a major impact on ocean health.

    The treaty -- which was given a thumbs-up in October by the US Foreign Relations Committee and now awaits ratification in the Senate -- declares most of earth's vast ocean floor to be the "common heritage of mankind," placing it under UN aegis "for the benefit of mankind as a whole."

    That language has some people running scared. The treaty recently earned some scathing critique in the Wall Street Journal:

  • Why bees and pigs are not machines

    In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan writes, "Two stories in the news this year, stories that on their faces would seem to have nothing to do with each other let alone with agriculture, may point to an imminent breakdown in the way we're growing food today."

    Can you guess what they are?

    Answer here.

  • Retailers beef up the packaging

    For Christmas last year, I received an iPod Nano (through which I now get my weekly fix of podcasts from NPR Environment, PRI Living on Earth, and of course, Grist). That the Nano weighs a mere 1.74 oz. and is so slim it easily gets lost in an overstuffed pocket is pretty impressive. Nearly as impressive, however, is that I walked out of the store toting this pygmie player inside an slick, white, matte, double-ply plastic behemoth of a bag, with sturdy woven cords that cinched the neck; it could have easily fit 100 Nanos with room several real apples to spare. I've been using it as a gym bag ever since.

    Apparently, that's exactly what Apple had in mind: