• do houseplants clean air

    Air-Purifying Houseplants and Other Myths

    It’s an enticing idea, creating little biomes in our homes filled with crisp plant-purified air. Nurseries market it and plant blogs post articles titled, 20 Best Plants for Cleaning the Air. It’s not true. This myth originated in the 1980s when NASA scientist, Bill Wolverton, studied cleaning volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in small […]

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  • George Washington Carver

    The Buried Environmental Justice of George Washington Carver

    “The Peanut Guy” is how many people think of George Washington Carver if they think of him at all. It is true that he did some dynamic work with the peanut and is credited with developing about 300 uses for the legume including soap, cheese, paper, cosmetics, wood stains, medicines and ink. But this is […]

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  • Sticking Carbon Where The Sun Don’t Shine

    I was nine years old, standing face to face with a pine tree, taking long deep breaths. “Breath in…. And out….In…. And out” As far as field-trip activities go, it wasn’t the most thrilling, but it stuck with me. I was breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. The pine tree was breathing in […]

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  • My Pet Worms: How to Make Your Own Worm Bin

    “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.” Charles Darwin made this observation about earthworms in his 1883 book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms With Observations of Their Habits. […]

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  • never out of season

    What I’m Reading: Never Out of Season

    By the 1800’s the hills of Ireland were covered in the green foliage of potato plants. More than 3 million (or ⅖) Irish peasants subsisted almost solely on the potato, namely the lumper potato. Then, in 1846, the fungus-like late blight (Phytophthora infestans), arrived. It spread by air-borne spores from field to field. The potatoes […]

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