Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Reading

Watermelon at Hiratsuka's Tanabata Festival!

This week brings an assortment of articles, all but one related to growing things in some way or another. The final one on my list is ultimately about climate change and ideas about moving forward. It's an opinion piece that got my dander up a wee bit, but it's important to read things that don't jibe always with the views we hold. The other side is really just somebody like me who is thinking about it a different way. If we don't talk and listen to each other sometimes then we won't get anywhere.

10 Easy Herbs to Grow for Bees at Permaculture is one of those pieces that I adore any time of year. I like growing herbs because they are (usually) relatively easy, smell good, and attract hoards of beneficial insects. It makes my garden a busy and sustainable place by having all of that activity, so I gravitate toward articles like this one. Do watch out for mint and lemon balm. Once out of control, the bees will be happy, but you may be less so...

Is Watermelon Good for You? at Consumer Reports caught my eye because this is easily one of my favorite fruits of all time. I loved it dearly as a child, but it really captured my heart while living in Kazakhstan. There, they grew the best and sweetest watermelon I ever tasted. "Sladki kak Snickers" we often said to the amusement of neighbors and friends. "Sweet like Snickers" is the translation, but, truth be told, it was even better. Now, science tells us it holds a bounty of health for us, too. Plus, the recipe suggestion at the end has me hankering for it even more.

Is Farming in Japan on Its Last Legs? at The Japan Times takes a look at the challenges facing Japanese farmers and eaters today. Similar to the situation in the US, farmers here are aging and the market forces them to lean more toward specialization rather than the diversity of crops previous generations grew. For young farmers, the challenges are astronomical and even off-putting. There are exceptions, but most of those that I meet are natural and organic farmers stepping away from the JA/commodity route.

Japan's Energy Decarbonization Challenge at The Japan Times is an interesting opinion piece that seems to argue for better nuclear power plants and exporting coal technologies. I'm including it here because I feel it is necessary to point out the short-sightedness of both strategies. What about technologies such as solar and geothermal? Japan has both of those in spades and ought to be looking at mining those (pun somewhat intended) for future energy sources. Anything else sounds like greed to me.

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