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The Sun Magazine

The Natural World

Plants

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Burden Of Bearing Fruit

Everyone who came over said of the cherry, “Great tree,” especially in July, when its fruit started to ripen. The squirrels and the birds took the lion’s share, mocking me by dropping half-eaten cherries on the patio and the lawn. I ate only the ones I could reach simply by pulling down a branch and plucking. I’d had Rainier cherries from the store, but these fruits were a surprise: the flesh so sweet and yet so complex; the firm skin giving way to the textured meat beneath; almost like a golden plum, but small and round and mine.

The Sun Interview

Farmed Out

Wes Jackson On The Need To Reinvent Agriculture

We must turn our attention to the water and the soil and ask, “How do we insure that the bread we eat does not come from grains that are grown in eroding soil and that load our water with nitrogen and pesticides?” Soon people will realize that annuals are poor managers of soil nutrients and water, and that agriculture will need to turn to perennials to better manage those resources.

The Sun Interview

Quiet, Please

Gordon Hempton On The Search For Silence In A Noisy World

Certainly people have their preferences regarding music and other sounds they like to listen to, but I do believe there is an “ideal” soundscape, and I’ve given it a name: “sonesia.” It includes the sounds of wildlife, such as songbirds. It includes the gentle sound of insects and the sound of distant water. (Up close, rushing water can mask the other sonic elements of the environment.) All of these sounds are indicative of grassland, a savannah. That’s where humans evolved, along with songbirds, which are the best indicator of an environment’s suitability for human prosperity: where songbirds live, there is also sufficient food for humans.

The Sun Interview

Prophet Of Modest Profit

Woody Tasch On How Not To Get Rich Quick

We use the power of entrepreneurship but support the entrepreneurs who design businesses to solve social and environmental problems and are committed to bioregions and communities. I’m especially interested in agriculture as a place to create that change. We’re not investing enough in small-scale, organic agriculture. Rapid economic growth has created tons of cheap food with a long shelf life, but it’s destroyed family farms, which are vital to rebuilding and preserving soil fertility.

Quotations

Sunbeams

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself.

Johnny Carson

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Spring Comes To New Jersey

I’ve been thinking lately about eccentricity. The word eccentric is from Greek astronomy; it describes a celestial object whose movements aren’t centered around the earth. The ancient Greeks saw the planets moving through the sky with no apparent direction and called them “wandering stars” (asteres planetai).

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