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Stopping roadkill, Indian field trips, and the cost of seaweed farms | Newsletter #56 -

Stopping roadkill, Indian field trips, and the cost of seaweed farms | Newsletter #56

Habari*, friend? 👋 

In this first newsletter of 2024, asks whether seaweed farms could be a future miracle food, a way to support marine life, and a credible form of carbon capture? What can we learn from Colombians’ response to the annual black crab migration on Providencia Island? And which writer suggested that “missing the great spectacle of natural environments is the first step to losing them altogether”?

*‘What’s new?’ in Swahili, one of the official languages of Kenya.

Soundscape of the week 

‘African Bird Chorus’: Jan Brelih’s recording from southern Kenya, captured after a night camping in the bush, presents the listener with an ensemble of melodious trills and uncanny chattering. 

🤔 Interesting facts:

  • The Great Rift Valley – a monumental series of geographic trenches – cuts through Kenya on its way from Lebanon to Mozambique, 4,300 miles (7,000 km) away, and is as much as 35 million years old
  • The Green Belt Movement, an organization founded by the Nobel Prize-winning Wangari Maathai, has planted 51 million trees and empowered upwards of 30,000 women to earn money from forestry, bee-keeping, and other trades which contribute to the preservation of Kenya’s lands and natural resources
  • Along with Tanzania, Kenya is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, a perpetual clockwise loop followed by 1.7 million wildebeest (to say nothing of the 260,000 zebras and 470,000 gazelles that accompany them): the largest migration of terrestrial animals on the planet.

Articles and essays

⛰️ Following an account of his initial soundscape-recording adventures, Grants winner A Bhaskar Rao (aka Mustard Lake) has penned a second installment, detailing recording field trips to grasslands and deciduous forests in Central India and pine forests in the Himalayas.

💦 Against a backdrop of flooding, climate change, and hydropower projects, ‘Awa Khadd Himalayan Stream’ – the latest episode of podcast Wind Is the Original Radio (also by Bhaskar!) – presents the rushing pink noise of one of a system of rivulets crucial to the Himalayan region. Other episodes are available on Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, with new episodes released every Friday.

From the extended community

🍕 ‘Like a 40-Metre Pizza’: The Seaweed Farms That Could Feed Us All – at a Cost’: “‘reforest[ing]’ the oceans with seaweed, thereby […] feeding humanity, rehabilitating ecosystems and ending the climate crisis” sounds too good to be true. And this article, with its trenchant criticism of the geoengineering required, suggests that is indeed the case.

✍️ Joaquín Araújo is in the frame in Bravanariz’s fifth nature-writer primer, which describes the “vast [knowledge]” and ability to “cultivat[e] […] curiosity and wonder” of a man who “has planted as many trees as days he has lived (about 25,000)”.

🦀 ‘How Migrating Crabs Help Us Rethink Our Roads’ considers the cost of the “40 million miles of roads [which enmesh our planet], a network whose ecological impact is almost incomprehensibly vast” – yet also the ways in which “many societies have developed traditions that honor the animals who scurry across our highways”.

👉🏽 Follow us on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, for a daily dose of nature-sound inspiration!

Until next time, we wish you a regenerative week. 🙏

With best wishes,
Neil and Team

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Neil Clarke is an independent comics writer based in East London, who really wishes he could draw.