Sunday, July 26, 2009

About Rambling LA

Rambling LA is my attempt to share what I'm learning about nature in Southern California. I hope you can use this site as a guide for exploration. I can't think of anything more precious than the life on earth, in all it's splendid diversity, from dainty foxes that live on the Channel Islands to the goldfinches that frequent my yard.  To preserve nature, we need to understand it--and enjoy it. (By this, I really mean ecosystems: water, soil and diverse communities plants and animals that have evolved together. We could make the planet quite inhospitable, and some forms of life would persist.)

Conservation biologists say, globally, we are in the midst of a mass extinction of species: because of human activities, earth's plants and animals are winking out at more than a thousand times the natural rate. Conservation International lists California as one of the planet's biodiversity hotspots--places with a lot species that don't live anywhere else, many of them vulnerable to extinction. California (including a slice of Baja California) is especially rich in rare plants. More than 2,000 species are endemic (i.e. only found here). 

You can grow many of these plants--and their cultivated cousins--in your own yard, providing shelter and food for local animals. To learn more about gardening with native plants, find the "gardening" label on the right-hand side of this blog. Non-native plants can also shelter and feed animals, including humans. I write about some of these, too--especially those that are better adapted to our climate.

I frequently post hikes and bike rides that are suitable for the whole family. Hikes are broken down into regions: Angeles National Forest (ANF), San Fernando Valley (SFV), and Los Angeles (LA). (More regions soon.) Kid-friendly hikes are usually dog-friendly hikes as well.

Rambling LA also features information on nature classes and projects, as well as mini-reviews of field guides, nature and gardening books, etc. 

Soon I'll debut a new urban nature column to be featured here and on our sister site, Chance of Rain.

I'm an environment reporter. That's not the same as an environmentalist. Environment reporters write about, you guessed it, the environment. We care deeply about the earth, but remain open as to solutions and approaches to problems; we recognize the variety of perspectives on environmental issues.  

Still, that doesn't mean I'm going to sit back and watch our planet fall apart. A few years ago, I profiled Andy Lipkis, founder of TreePeople. He told me that the adage "you can make a difference" was a lie. The reality, he said, is "you do make a difference": every day, for better or for worse, your choices affect the earth. So here's where I'm going to lay it on thick: Folks, the climate crisis upon us. Future generations--for some of us, our own children and grandchildren--are going to ask some searing questions. How could you let this happen? Why didn't you do more? Didn't you care? You won't be able to feign ignorance. 

Don't lurk under the covers. Explore, learn, protect. 


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