China (you’ve been on my mind)

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A country full of people
I will never meet.
Some are farmers, others politicians
for the communist government.

Your rivers and lakes
run like sewers
from the west into the ocean,
and can’t be drunk from, nor swum in….

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Dirt! The Movie – The Soil Under Your Feet Is Alive!

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Since the beginning of time, of all the planets in all the galaxies in the known universe, only one has a living, breathing skin called dirt. — Dirt! The Movie

We wash it off our hands, our clothes, our cars, our bodies. We walk on it, drive on it, dig in it, build on it. We bury our loved ones in it. And in it we grow the plants that feed us. But how much do we really know about the dirt beneath our feet? …

Recently, I received an advance copy of Dirt! The Movie, a documentary that opened my mind to the wonders of soil. I’ve watched a lot of great videos in the past year: Food Inc., A River of Waste, Blue Gold, and more….

But Dirt!, directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, stands out for me, probably because the content was so surprising and enlightening. Let’s face it, few of us talk very deeply about dirt in our daily conversations. We may complain about the health of the local rivers and waterways. We may talk about the horrible chemicals added to processed foods, the pesticides and herbicides that coat our foods. But it’s not often that we discuss worms and microbes and the exchange of nutrients in the soil. (Well, maybe you do.)

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Notes from Iowa: We Are Gambling with Life Itself

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As part of the National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions held at colleges and universities across the U.S., the University of Iowa invited activists and experts to participate in panel discussions. Blue Planet Green Living was privileged participate on a panel with Andrew Saito, a student in the MFA program in Playwriting. After a short reading from an original play, Saito read the following essay to the audience. We found the images and the message so thoughtful, beautiful, and powerful that we asked him to share it with our readers.

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Peace Corps Volunteer Teaches Green Living in Namibia

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Seated across from me is a gentle, silver-haired woman. She speaks in soft tones, gesturing slightly from time to time. Her manner is warm and welcoming. You could easily call her mild-mannered. But don’t let her appearance fool you. Miriam Kashia is a force to be reckoned with when there’s a job to be done. And that’s just the spirit with which she tackled her recent Peace Corps assignment in Namibia, home to some of the world’s most impoverished people.

Kashia returned to the United States a year ago, in January 2008. She’s had time to reflect on her experience, and to see from a distance the effects of the work she did half a world away. I interviewed her in her Iowa City home.

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