Welcome to the Greening in the Red Zone blog. Here you will read about examples of people turning to nature in times of crisis to get through hardships from the news media, and from personal accounts. Of particular interest are stories of people whose involvement in "greening" immediately after a disaster or war increased their own and their community's resistance and resilience to the disturbance. We hope you will find inspiration in these stories, and we welcome you to add your own stories of Greening in the Red Zone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gardening with Military Family Members

Some resources on gardening and community gardening on military installations --

Gardening with Military Family Members

To Rehabilitate Young Vets, Go Hunting : NPR

Here is a piece dealing with Returning warriors and teh value of outdoor recreation to their rehabilitation.

To Rehabilitate Young Vets, Go Hunting : NPR

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gorillas, Not Grenades: Conservation as Diplomacy

“At first it might seem preposterous to worry about wildlife when bullets are flying,” said John Calvelli. “The fact is that conservation of natural resources—including wildlife—is the foundation of stable societies. Protecting and conserving these natural resources is the key to any nation-building process.”

Gorillas, Not Grenades: Conservation as Diplomacy - Wildlife Conservation Society

Ft. Stewart Honors Fallen Soldier with Memorial Tree

The Army post planted a memorial tree in honor of Sgt. Johnny W. Lumpkin at Warriors Walk. (photo courtesy of United States Army)

See the full story here: Ft. Stewart Honors Fallen Soldier

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Landscapes of Resilience in Detroit & Joplin

Check out this research and participatory design project entailing greening in red zones in Joplin and Detroit
Landscapes of resilience project overview

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wounded Warriors honored with hunting

Wounded Warriors honored with hunting - News - Stripes

Food and Agriculture as a Foundation for Peace in Northern Afghanistan

In this paper the authors draw on cases from the province of Badakhshan, in Northern Afghanistan, to present three local solutions that all have some potential to break, from the bottom-up, the self-reinforcing loop that characterizes the trap of failed states. While all deal with local-level solutions to food production and diversification, they work at very different levels of human activity: the first describes an agricultural research station’s attempt at improving agricultural production, through an innovative approach to governance. The second example is a bold and innovative experiment to teach women the skills to grow and process vegetables in the high Pamir Mountains. It succeeded in introducing greens and beans to seminomadic communities who had never eaten vegetables before. The third works at the level of identity and imagination: using food culture to rekindle people’s sense of pride in who they are, it helps to offer a different basis from which to re-imagine a future that is their own, free of war.

Hopeful Harvest: Food and Agriculture as a Foundation for Peace in Northern Afghanistan | Solutions

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Veterans Conservation Corps

After serving in Operation IraqiFreedom and being awarded a Combat Action Ribbon,
two Marine Corps Reserve Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation, Haberthur saw that
his personal experience with nature could become a broader experience shared by fellow
vets who may be struggling with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Haberthur’s fellowship project will connect fellow vets, including those struggling with
PTSD, to the healing powers of nature by developing a Veterans Conservation Corps in
the Chicago Area. The Corps will restore habitat at the 1,131-acre Dick Young Forest
Preserve (named after a recently deceased former Marine to honor his service and carry
on his conservationist vision).

Benjamin Haberthur | Together Green

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Sea, the Port & New Democracy: The Delta of Rijeka, Croatia

Here is an interesting example of planning for greening in the red zone-- see rijeka.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Greening initiatives in Christchurch, New Zealand

On February 22, 2011,  the city of Christchurch, New Zealand was rocked by a large, shallow earthquake right underneath the city. A previous earthquake on September 4, 2010, had caused major damage in the province but only minor damage to the city, but the February quake caused significant loss of life and devastation to the central business district and to residential suburbs in  the east of the city. As this part of the city is built on old swamplands and beachsands, flooding and liquefaction were major problems in the days after the quake. All of the CBD was red zoned and large tracts of housing in the eastern city will have to be demolished.
  Christchurch has always prided itself on being "The Garden City". Many people are keen gardeners, and the sight of precious gardens inundated with grey, sludgy, smelly liquefaction was as heartbreaking to citizens as the loss of their homes. The Student Army and Farmy Army (students and farmers from surrounding countryside) helped residents dig out their gardens, but aftershocks continued to pump sludge up from the water-table.
  Many voluntary groups were set up to deal with many areas of the disaster, two in particular to do with green issues, but quite different in their scope and aims.
  Greening the Rubble www.greeningtherubble.org.nz was set up to make some of the ugly demolition sites into green areas, where people could relax and enjoy natural beauty. They work with site owners, and carry out temporary landscaping with donated materials and plants, with volunteer labour. These sites are entirely temporary; their function is to provide greenery until the sites are rebuilt with permanent structures, and the landscaping (bricks, stone gabions, seats) is designed to be moveable from one site to another. They've found that 'temporary' is a somewhat flexible term though; site owners have often asked them to stay longer as insurance payout timeframes have lengthened.
 Quite different in intention is the Avon-Otakaro Network www.avonotakaronetwork.co.nz. This is a group whose focus is political and long-term, formed to further the creation of a new city park, stretching along the Avon River from the estuary to the central city. The government is proposing to grass over these areas after the houses, trees and gardens have been removed, and to "leave the land fallow" for many years to come.  The Avon-Otakaro Network has presented a petition to Parliament, with the aim of conserving the heritage trees in this part of the city. The inner part of the eastern city is an old area of town, with many established, well-loved gardens, which will be bulldozed if some action is not taken. People living there have accepted losing their homes, but are more upset at the thought of the destruction of the trees and shrubs they have nurtured for many years. No firm decision has been made yet about the future of the red-zoned residential area after the houses are gone; hopefully, a new park can be built and years of residence can be remembered with a greenway, a walking and cycling path along the river from the sea to the city.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kieve Hosts 10th Anniversary 9/11 Family Camp

A wonderful example of greening, green spaces, and outdoor recreation as a resilient response to a red zone event... from http://www.kieve.org/news_events/index.php.

Kieve-Wavus hosted the 10th Annual Family Camp for families affected by the September 11th tragedies. Individuals and families from a number of FDNY firehouses and Cantor Fitzgerald in New York as well as The Pentagon all arrived at Kieve for another fun-filled and relaxing week on the shores of Damariscotta Lake. Kieve-Wavus Executive Director Henry Kennedy said, “these families have endured unimaginable loss and it has been an honor and a pleasure welcoming them each year to relax, heal and share with one another at Kieve”. Pat Friscia whose brother was a fireman with FDNY Ladder Co 3 said after the week, "this is a very special week for my family, our entire family was at Disney earlier this year and all the kids talked about was coming back to Kieve, it is a special place in our hearts”.
New to the camp this year was world renowned fire engine and equipment restorer Andy Swift of Hope, Maine offering rides to kids and adults in his 1927 American LaFrance fire engine. Andy also hosted a tour of his shop the next day for everyone to see the craftsmanship and detail of his fire equipment restorations. Once again, one evening the firemen took over the kitchen and prepared a delicious Italian dinner for everyone. And back for the 10th time, musician Bruce Marshall and his guest James Montgomery provided great live music and dancing on the last night.
Many of the FDNY families at camp were associated with Ladder Company 3 and Battalion 6 on September 11, 2001 where twelve members were lost while evacuating civilians from the North Tower. On July 20th Ladder 3’s truck “Big Red” became a permanent part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. A crane lowered the 60,000-lbs. truck 70 feet into the exhibition area. It was wrapped to protect it and draped with an American and FDNY flag. The front of the truck was shorn off in the collapse of the towers and its main body and ladders were damaged beyond repair and some of the company's rescue tools are entangled in the vehicle. It has been stored at Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport since its recovery.
According to 9/11 Family Camp Director Russ Williams, “we had another incredible week together with 4 new families joining us for the largest camp since 2002. Once again many volunteers along with local businesses and our staff helped make this another very special week for our friends from Washington DC & New York.”
The events of September 11th, 2001 changed the world and changed our lives forever. Thanks to the financial support of many individuals over the years, Kieve has had a unique opportunity to share facilities, it's wonderful staff and volunteers with these special families. Williams says, “It is very rewarding for all of our staff and volunteers to be able to help these very dear friends who really appreciate our local community and Maine hospitality”. Downeast Magazine recently mentioned Kieve's 9/11 Family Camp - take a look at Downeast Magazine

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cherry Blossoms in Fukushima

In Fukushima we had tried to see the famous Takizakura, the 1000-year old weeping cherry tree and a national treasure, in full bloom just then. News stories were circulating about how residents of temporary housing units were finding solace in this ancient beauty. Not surprisingly, it was so crowded we gave up.

Instead, that evening we visited a younger cherry tree in a nearby valley — this one a gentle giant of about 400 years. It stood by a stream, showering the small temple next to it with pink petals. The perfume of spring was everywhere and I could hear the reassuring croaking of the frogs.
Local residents I asked did not seem to quite know why there are so many ancient cherry trees in Fukushima. But they all seemed to agree that their prefecture is beautiful. They kept repeating, as if in a mantra, the same refrain I had heard throughout the trip: as long as our trees, our waters, our air and our mountains are alive, we too shall be fine. 

Excerpt from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/cherry-blossoms-in-fukushima.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&ref=global-home

Monday, May 14, 2012

DoD and EPA Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Increase Sustainability of Military Bases

DoD and EPA Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Increase Sustainability of Military Bases
The Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, Dorothy Robyn, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Paul Anastas, signed an agreement on February 7, 2012, that formalizes the partnership between the Department of Defense (DoD) and EPA to develop and implement technologies that will help create sustainable American military bases all over the world.

Under this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), DoD and the EPA’s Office of Research and Development will collaborate in the development of innovative technologies to help DoD create sustainable and resilient military bases across the country and overseas. The cutting-edge research of EPA and DoD scientists and engineers will be used to develop and demonstrate tools and technologies that will aid DoD in achieving its vision of sustainability.

The mission of DoD is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and protect the security of our country. To successfully execute this mission, our Military Departments must have the energy, land, air, and water resources necessary to train and operate, today and in the future, in a world where there is increasing competition for resources. Sustainability provides the framework necessary to ensure the longevity of these resources, by attending to energy, environmental, safety, and occupational health considerations.

This MOU underscores the Administration's commitment to fostering collaboration among Federal agencies. In addition to enabling the sharing of resources, this agreement provides an opportunity for DoD, in collaboration with EPA, to use its military bases as test beds for innovative technologies that can then be shared more broadly in communities across the country.MOU

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Swifts spend fleeting time in holy site

In interesting case of nature and and the potential for shared value and conflict resolution... I was at this event, briefly visible at 1:02 -1:04.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NY Times Article- Schoharie NY

A few plein-air tables under the maples and the Norway spruces behind the Daughters of the American Revolution hall in Schoharie becomes a cafe, and a symbol of resilience, resistance, and recovery. An interesting take on Greening in the Red Zone, both in terms of the site selection under the trees, and because of the important, obvious, and oft overlooked links between food and  survival, symbolically and otherwise. See the story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/dining/makeshift-cafe-sustains-storm-ravaged-schoharie-ny.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&src=dayp

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Landscapes as DoD Missionscapes

Resources for the Future: Landscapes as DoD Missionscapes

Build Smart

Resources for the Future: Landscapes as DoD Missionscapes

By Lynn Scarlett, Co-Director, Center for Management of Ecological Wealth
Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C.

Several decades ago, environmental scholar and author Barry Commoner remarked on the "interconnectedness of everything." Yet governing institutions and resource managers, decades after Commoner's insight, still often operate within bounded jurisdictions using a single-issue lens. The Department of Defense (DOD), juxtaposing this traditional framework against the scope, scale and complexity of its resource management challenges, is eying the benefits of collaboration across landscapes and governing boundaries. Their goal is not simply neighborliness; their goal is better fulfillment of their mission.

Consider the operating context of a 25-county area in eastern North Carolina, an area of farms and forests and Marine installations with operational and training needs that extend over a large area. That landscape is changing as populations expand and drive up development pressures, simultaneously augmenting competition for water, lands and resources. On this changing landscape, community, environmental and military goals collide, compete and intersect, amplifying the imperative of coordination - both to overcome conflict and to find "sweet spots" of shared goals among diverse interests.

Those shared interests, it turns out, are many. Farmers and private-forest owners strive to maintain working rural lands and open spaces that also benefit Marine installations by minimizing the potential of conflicts with populated towns and suburbs. Farmers, foresters and the military all need secure water supplies and fire mitigation; all benefit from sustaining wildlife habitat to avoid restrictions on land use under the Endangered Species Act. Citizens and the military share a strong interest in national security and, hence, protection of current and future training "space" for assuring military effectiveness. Yet pursuing these shared interests is not easy. For the Defense Department, the areas of training needs at various locations often are simply too large to deploy a "buffer" strategy of acquiring land around each military installation. Moreover, important existing economic activities, such as farming and forestry, are tied to those surrounding lands dominated by a patchwork of land ownerships, rendering buffer acquisitions potentially expensive and contentious. Finally, all around defense installations, demographic changes are unfolding; people are spreading into the countryside.
Some installation commanders, assessing this tableau, are crafting landscape-scale strategies implemented through collaborative action. A central goal is to work at a geographic scale commensurate with training needs. In the case of eastern North Carolina that means a 25-county area. Working at this scale requires coordinating action among many jurisdictions and many agencies, and working with many "publics" to develop a shared vision. Success requires long-term and sustained action. And, it requires innovative funding as federal, state and local coffers shrink.

Barry Commoner made his observations about the interconnectedness of everything decades ago. Yet linking the DOD "missionscape" to large landscapes is a recent phenomenon. Why this shift? Why now?

In part, the shift toward landscape-scale strategies results from the growing competition for resources and the increasing awareness that effective resource management requires cross-jurisdictional actions. Nature itself knows no boundaries. Drought in the southeast catapulted Atlanta into the headlines, but securing water supplies for the city involved contemplating actions along three interconnected watersheds that spanned Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Atlanta's plight was not unique. Management of the Bay-Delta in California, the Platte River and elsewhere across the nation all involve intersecting actions by multiple cities, urban and rural participants, and, sometimes, several states.

Reducing flood risk, controlling stormwater runoff, managing wildland fires and adapting to the effects of climate change - these and other resource issues - all require cross-jurisdictional, large landscape action. Decisions about the siting of both renewable and nonrenewable energy and associated transmission infrastructure, if undertaken without consideration of wildlife corridors, military airspace requirements, water use and other effects, can heighten conflict and yield unintended adverse impacts.

The traditional "inside-the-fence" focus of DOD installation management is increasingly incommensurate with both conservation requirements and DOD operational needs. But shifting to a landscape-scale focus requires coordination, iterative conversations with adjacent communities, ongoing assessment of conditions and adjustment of actions in response to changing information and circumstances, and actions integrated across issue sectors and geography. This coordination, these conversations and these dynamic adjustments all must occur amid what Rebecca Rubin, president of the consulting firm Marstel-Day, calls "forces of fragmentation." Political jurisdictions and land uses are fragmented. Roles and responsibilities are dispersed among many agencies. As a consequence of fragmented working space, DOD even faces training fragmentation.
In the southeast, DOD and five states have created a Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability to transcend this fragmentation. They are working jointly to sustain military training, enhance economic development, preserve working lands and protect habitat, including long-leaf pine forests. Within this broader partnership, the Marine Corps is developing an Eastern North Carolina Land-Use Strategy (ENCLUS), a 25-county comprehensive plan to preserve farm and forest land located under the Corps' low-level aviation training routes in eastern North Carolina. The planning effort seeks to meet the Corps' training and installation resource needs while also protecting migratory pathways of birds, maintaining endangered species habitat and supporting working-lands values of farming and forestry in the region.

Though still a work in progress, the Eastern North Carolina Land-Use Strategy is a model of network governance that mirrors efforts by other public and private collaborative efforts to work across jurisdictional and ownership boundaries.

South of Tucson, for example, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) initiated a traditional planning process in the 1990s to create an Empire-Cienegas Resource Conservation Area. Poor planning, lack of public participation and exclusion of private and state trust land stakeholders in the process eventually undermined the planning process. Citizens, local governments and conservation groups concerned about ecosystem health in the area thought any meaningful restoration effort must include state trust and private lands. They formed the Sonoita Valley Planning Partnership and teamed with the BLM to establish (with Congressional approval) the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (NCA). The partnership then developed a community-based management plan for the NCA, which was embraced by the BLM as the preferred alternative in the Las Cienegas NCA planning document. The Partnership now works with the BLM to implement a shared plan through community-based participation and adaptive, outcome-based management. A special nonprofit organization with a governing board of trustees, including multiple agencies and organizations, oversees implementation of the plan.

Elsewhere, examples of this sort of network governance are also emerging through the Platte River Cooperative Agreement among Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and the Department of the Interior; the Puget Sound Partnership and other initiatives. As DOD explores opportunities to collaborate at a landscape-scale to address critical mission needs, they can learn from the experiences of other agencies. Those experiences reveal three important characteristics of successful landscape-scale networking.

First is the imperative of multi-participant collaboration and "place-tailored" decision-making. In the southeast, for example, a key goal of the Marine Corps is to interconnect four major conservation and working-land holdings that form an arc from west to east that is important for training purposes. The area includes state lands, a university property, a national forest and a national wildlife refuge. Numerous agencies - federal, state and local - have interests in or manage resources in and around this area, along with many organizations and individual landowners. Successful planning requires coordination among these various participants.

Second is the integration of science and decision-making, using collaborative processes of mutual learning. Land and resource management involves often complex and dynamic interconnections. Future conditions are often uncertain. Together, these characteristics demand sophisticated technical and scientific knowledge about such matters as water quality and availability, fire regimes, species behavior and habitat, and a multitude of other factors. Yet decisions regarding land and resource management can affect people, their communities and their livelihoods. Decisions, thus, lie at the intersection of science and community values.

The importance of science and technical expertise raises a conundrum that some have referred to as the "technocracy versus democracy" quandary. How is it possible to increase public involvement in resource management when the scientific and technical issues are often complex? An emerging tool is what some U.S. Geological Survey scientists have called "joint fact-finding" in which scientists, decision makers, and citizens collaborate in the scoping, conduct and use of technical studies to improve decision-making and to build shared knowledge. At Tomales Bay in California, for example, fishers, farmers,

Tomales Bay, California.

wastewater utility managers and others in the community joined together with scientists to better understand the causes of poor water quality, which, in turn, helped them identify improved management tools. The Army Corps of Engineers, assessing the challenges of integrating scientific knowledge with citizen perspectives within a complex and dynamic context, has developed an "enhanced adaptive management" framework. This framework includes scenario planning, engagement of citizens in processes to better understand priorities and preferences, and ongoing monitoring and adaptation to new information.

A third challenge for ventures in landscape-scale networking is funding. These efforts often require innovative funding. The concept of ecosystem services - the idea that natural systems provide benefits to human communities - is gaining increasing traction. Wetlands purify water, thus potentially avoiding the need for communities to invest in costly additional water filtration systems. Floodplains can store water. Trees absorb pollutants and sequester carbon.

A central question is whether and how these "services" can translate into economic opportunities for landowners. In Florida, the state worked with scientists, ranchers and others to explore ways to pay ranchers to store water on their lands rather than shunt it down canals and engage in management practices to reduce farm chemical runoff. The state saw benefits to making payments to ranchers for these "services" rather than investing in additional water storage facilities and expensive water treatment. Drawing upon this concept of ecosystem services, the Eastern North Carolina Land-Use Strategy is exploring possibilities to incorporate "food and fuel" provisions to "buy local," thereby engaging DOD in helping to sustain and support farms and forestlands that lie within their "arc" of training operations.

As DOD joins other agencies in partnering across landscapes to fulfill its mission, other governance challenges loom. The federal policy toolkit for land, water and wildlife management was not shaped to support large landscape, cross-jurisdictional settings. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in its implementation, has tended to apply within individual agency boundaries rather than within cross-boundary settings. And NEPA processes are not well-aligned with decision contexts that require adaptive and iterative management choices over time.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) implementation, too, has generally focused on listing and managing individual species rather than applying a broader multi-species, ecosystem focus. Yet both NEPA and ESA implementation are evolving as agencies attempt to shift their management to larger landscape, cross-jurisdictional ecosystems. DOD, for example, has benefitted at Fort Hood from the development by the Fish and Wildlife Service of a "recovery credit" tool that enables Fort Hood commanders to pay adjacent farmers to protect golden-cheeked warbler habitat, thereby giving the installation greater flexibility in the use of its own lands.

Contemplating the evolution, by DOD and other agencies, toward larger landscape, cross-boundary management, one is reminded of the words of Admiral Nimitz, who once opined that "the road is long and filled with potholes." But perhaps the quip of famed baseball player Yogi Berra is also apt: "The future ain't what it used to be."

Lynn Scarlett is a leading environmental policy analyst. She was Deputy Secretary of the Interior (DOI) from 2005 to 2009, having previously served as the Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget from 2001 to 2005. Scarlett chaired DOI's Climate Change Task Force, which examined the effects of climate change on land, water, wildlife and infrastructure, and convened and chaired the Department's Cooperative Conservation Working Group. She also represented DOI on an interagency cooperative conservation task force that planned and convened the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation in 2005. In her management capacities, Scarlett served on the President's Management Council and its executive steering committee. Scarlett is currently Co-Director, Center for Management of Ecological Wealth at Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Unseen Injury - A Look at Returning Veterans

I see images of home--but I see a surprising number of images of outdoor recreation-- fishing, romping with a hunting dog, and so forth. How does time spent in nature figure in to recovery of vets?

Unseen Injury - Video Library - The New York Times