Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Archive for the 'The Umbrella' Category

The Umbrella: Winter 2015–16

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
A catch-all of resources,
events, media, and more
from Brad Lancaster

Winter 2015–16

What more meaningful way to celebrate the approaching SOLSTICE (Winter Solstice is December 21 this year in Tucson) than by engaging with, noticing, and highlighting the 23.44º tilt of the Earth? After all, this tilt is what gives us our seasonally changing sun paths, ergo the seasons themselves. We can see, design, and live in cooperation with those changing sun paths all year long to passively heat, cool, and light our buildings. How? See Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd edition, and here for much more. Glean how-to info on planting and harvesting wild, Sonoran-Desert-native foods on Desert Harvesters’ website.

We hope you’ll agree that Brad’s books would make for a most apropos gift for your partner, your neighbor, or your local public library for Solstice—whichever seasonal holiday you celebrate!

RECENT RESOURCES & PUBLICATIONS

A blissfully bountiful harvest resulting from planting a multi-use rain garden in Tucson, Arizona. See the Drops In a Bucket Blog post for before & after photos of this street corner.

From Brad’s vantage point, the Multi-Use Rain-Garden Plant Lists provided on this new webpage, and whose creation story (for Brad) is told in this new blog post, are invitations to collaborate with and enhance living systems in our shared built environments. They are the result of striving to transform simple plant lists into more dynamic tools that invite greater understanding, maximize beneficial connections and relationships, and lift the potential of what designed living systems can regeneratively provide. These lists promote multi-functional plantings of rainwater, stormwater, and vegetation which, when done well, will not require supplemental irrigation after the plants get established. Several experts have compiled and contributed lists geared to their unique bioregions, and we invite you put their insights and experience to good use. If you don’t see such a plant list for where you live, consider compiling one—and perhaps sending it in to us!

If you and your neighbor(s) are excited to implement street-side water-harvesting basins planted with above-mentioned multi-use rain-garden plants, but are unsure how to begin, you are in luck. Check out the new Street-Runoff Harvesting section of Brad’s website, with the many resources it puts at your fingertips, including new illustrations, a DIY curb-cut guide, key slope details and elevation relationships for street-side eddy basins and curb cuts, and a variety of great links. As you might have gathered from the caption above, we love a good set of before-&-after comparison photos… hint, hint!

Want a spark of inspiration to turn your vision for your neighborhood streets into reality? Check out Brad’s article on pages 24–25 of Bike Life Tucson’s fall issue, Living Streets in Tucson: The many ways you can help create your dream community. This short & sweet article provides an engaging illustrated narrative touching on many of the key elements and motivators Brad saw, felt, and experiences that, when viewed through your lens and applied to your neighborhood, might help you begin to seed vibrant place-based life in your commons.

UPCOMING PUBLIC EVENTS

Click ABOVE ^ on the linked header to find more details about some of Brad’s early-2016 events, including:

    • LIWONDE, MALAWI (January 11–14): Brad and colleague Tom Cole will build on the foundation laid in November by another colleague, Warren Brush, with their contributions to a series of agro-ecology training courses in Malawi. These are designed as opportunities to share strategies and engage in mutual learning with Malawian stakeholders, all intended to enhance the living ecologies upon which we all depend. Stay tuned for Brad’s blog post on this experience in the Spring issue of The Umbrella…
    • TUCSON, AZ (February & March): The 21st Annual Permaculture Design Course, a Tucson tradition, is taught and facilitated over five weekends every spring by Dan Dorsey, Brad Lancaster, and Barbara Rose, each with two decades of Permaculture experience—with supporting instruction by many extraordinary associate Sonoran Permaculture Guild teachers. Register soon, as this course historically fills up with a waiting list every year.
    • TUCSON, AZ (March 14–20): If you’re looking to add still more tools to your community-enhancing kit, a newer Tucson classic learning experience is Watershed Management Group’s Water-Harvesting Certification Course. Unless Brad is called back to Africa during mid March, he may co-teach portions of this spring’s course. Inquire about early-bird discounts and limited partial scholarships via the link above.
    • TUCSON, AZ (early-2016 dates TBA): Brad expects to offer a home tour or two of his urban, integrated-design dwelling in the New Year—be on the look out for that on his website’s Events page (link above) and social media. If you don’t already, we invite you to follow Brad on Facebook &/or Twitter.

We’ve also received preliminary inquiries for possible events in Mexico, California, Australia, and Colorado… so keep an eye out for yet-to-be-booked events with Brad in those and other locales.

Click here if you’d like to inquire about hiring Brad for your public or private event.

REPORTS FROM RECENT EVENTS

This year on December 5, Desert Harvesters’ 20th annual planting of rain, trees, and mulch was carried out in the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood of Tucson, bringing the total trees planted in that program since 1996 to 1,425. Thank you to Sky Jacobs, Omar Ore-Giron, Rocky Yosek, Ezra Roati and the many others who participated!

Photo credit: ??

Photo credit: An esteemed Calgary organizers. If it was you, let us know and we’ll credit you!

In November while in Calgary to present at Landscape Alberta‘s conference, locals from Eclipse Sustainability Projects, Leaf Ninjas, Pixie Gardens, and Open Streets Calgary helped Brad extend his Calgary bicycle-powered-PA-system-presentation tradition at a public talk at the University of Calgary—with the help of rotating cyclists from the audience. So fun and interactive! For more on the bike-powered PA system, check out the folks who invented & sell it: RockTheBike.com and for how the Calgary folk rent their system: www.OpenStreetsCalgary.com/rentals-services.

In September, thanks to the forward thinking of Charlene Dufresne of Copper Rose Community Management, Brad was invited to present alongside others at an event in Tucson with an audience of representatives from almost 100 HOAs in Pima County and 10 landscape companies with contracts with those HOAs. He thought the presenters’ info on proper tree pruning and maintenance was great—a good start for shifting ways. Too often Brad observes that plants are excessively pruned into unnatural shapes causing more plant stress, death, and water use. Brad’s suggested addition to their pruning regimen, which he mentioned in his talk, was the reuse of the prunings on site for mulch. We hope good momentum for continuing education was set in motion at this event—there is huge potential here.

For those of you who haven’t heard Brad speak but would like to, we present this YouTube video of Brad’s full presentation, Integrated Local Harvests, which he gave in Irvine, CA, at the Coneybeare Cleantech Conference back in May. Thanks to Coneybeare for recording and sharing!

A SELECTION OF MEDIA FEATURING BRAD’S WORK

Scott Mann invited Brad back for a second interview on The Permaculture Podcast; this time their conversation focused on how and why Desert Harvesters was begun, how it has evolved over the years to serve the interests of and celebrate the wild foods and human communities of the Sonoran Desert, and how the basic premise of the organization can (and should!) be replicated in cities and towns in any climate. During the closing Brad shares some of the current research on using street runoff to irrigate street-side plants, as well as four water-assessment suggestions he uses to evaluate every site. Brad and the Desert Harvesters core group would be thrilled if you would show your support by becoming a member &/or donating toward the new expanded edition of their sold-out Eat Mesquite! cookbook.

Several more interviews are in the works—keep an eye on Brad’s Facebook &/or Twitter for future links.

… & MORE!

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 9.46.47 PMHonors
As described on MOCA’s website, their Local Genius Awards were “established to honor those visionary and innovative Tucsonans whose activities have a global impact, and whose talents have been internationally recognized.” Brad and three other Tucson-based individuals (Ofelia Zepeda; Andrew Weil, M.D; and Mort Rosenblum) have been each been selected to receive a 2016 MOCA Local Genius Award based on their laudable accomplishments. Awards will be presented at MOCA’s annual black-tie Gala—featuring cocktails, auction, dinner under the stars, awards program, and dancing—at MOCA on April 16, 2016. More about the awards and ticket sales for the Gala can be found here.

Other projects
Brad loves to live, share, and listen to a good story—so much that he’s created a new Storytelling page on his website. His inaugural post there features a story he recounted at a monthly theme-inspired Odyssey Storytelling event in October in downtown Tucson. To listen to Brad’s story about Home, cruise on over to his new page and settle in for 15 minutes to listen to Brad spin a colorful and heartfelt yarn.

 

The Umbrella: Fall 2015

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
A catch-all of news,
media, and events from
Brad Lancaster

Fall 2015

UPCOMING EVENTS

Click ABOVE on the linked header to find more details about some of Brad’s late-2015 events, including:

    • MARFA, TX (September 18): Brad will be one of a slate of professionals who bring experience from places such as the American southwest, Brooklyn, Seattle, Los Angeles, and France who will be presenting at Design Marfa’s Symposium + Home Tour on elements of place-based integrated design, architecture, and community life. The symposium will be rounded out with a home tour and social events on Saturday.
    • ALPINE, TX (September 19): Brad, also a co-founder of Desert Harvesters, will be leading a native-mesquite workshop (full to capacity) during the day and giving a free public talk in the evening (all are welcome) on the history of Desert Harvesters and other dynamo local-food efforts enriching the Tucson community, ecosystem, and palates – and how you can likewise enrich the community where you live.
    • HOT SPRINGS, AR (October 18–22): Brad will be one of three keynote presenters, as well as leading a hands-on workshop at the 17th Annual EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference, hosted by the City of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Recommended for stormwater professionals including permittees, owners, operators, contractors, consultants, engineers, and regulators of stormwater systems, this conference will address and discuss the various issues and challenges of managing municipal stormwater, as well as new and upcoming rules and regulations. Registration is open!
Brad leading a native-tree-planting workshop hosted by Tucson's one-and-only Food Conspiracy Co-op in conjunction with Desert Harvesters

Brad leading a native-tree-planting workshop hosted by Tucson’s one-and-only Food Conspiracy Co-op in conjunction with Desert Harvesters

  • SACRAMENTO, CA (October 23–24): Grow Water of Sacramento has put together a series of events spanning two days designed to Re-Envision Water, Sustainability, and Native Foods. Friday’s events are intended for a broad audience, from citizens, landscapers, architects and builders, to municipal water employees, non-profit organizations, and other water stakeholders. On Saturday evening, Brad will be joined by local wild-foods expert Alicia Funk who share her experience with putting edible wild plants of the area into culinary action. Register now!
  • TUCSON, AZ (November 2–8): Brad will be one of several instructors for Watershed Management Group’s Water Harvesting Design Certification course, which is designed for professionals, educators, and community organizers seeking comprehensive instruction in water-harvesting-systems design and construction.The program offers a unique combination of hands-on and classroom instruction, providing participants with a thorough, on-the-ground understanding of the core practices in this field. Applications are now being accepted.
  • CALGARY, AB, CANADA (November 19–20): Brad will be giving two presentations at Landscape Alberta’s Green Industry Show and Conference—the largest event of its kind in western Canada. Industry professionals—including employees of  garden centers, greenhouses, and tree nurseries; arborists, landscape designers, contractors, and maintenance professionals; as well as municipal workers from urban forestry departments—all industry-related professionals are invited to attend. Early-bird registration now through October 30.

Some of Brad’s unique recent/upcoming private engagements include:

    • A series of meetings in London with colleagues developing an agro-ecology training course in Malawi, to teach strategies for enhancing the living ecologies upon which we all depend,
    • A presentation on water harvesting and native plants for a group of HOA boards and landscape committees, and
    • A webinar on water harvesting, integrated community design, and public health for state public-health officers and directors.

Click here if you’d like to inquire about hiring Brad for your public or private event.

NEWEST DROPS IN A BUCKET BLOG POST

An Evolving Checklist of Green-Infrastructure Capacities to Develop and Potential Strategies to Implement in Our Communities

In-street water-harvesting, traffic-calming, food-producing chicane: an example of green infrastructure

In-street water-harvesting, traffic-calming, food-producing chicane: an example of green infrastructure

Brad prepared this richly-annotated checklist for the BECC/COCEF 2015 Border Green Infrastructure Forum. It is an evolving document meant to help promote and evolve the concept and practice of Green Infrastructure (GI) among local officials, developers, consultants, academics, non-profits, and the general public in communities on both sides of the US-Mexico border; to generate interest and build capacities in the various strategies, technologies, and policies involved in order to apply these concepts to public- and private-sector urban-infrastructure projects.

A SELECTION OF MEDIA FEATURING BRAD’S WORK

Brent Cluff, Brad, Cunningham aide Katie Bolger, and other Tucson water-harvesting activists and advocates are featured in this High Country News article, Tucson’s rain-catching revolution, which appeared in the April 27, 2015, issue, written by Tony Davis. Full article now available for free online.

In July a crew from VICE Media visited Tuscon to tour Brad’s his live-in demonstration site and film & interview him for an upcoming piece on strategies to avert/buffer drought. We’ll let you know when this is released!

Brad has given several interviews for recent/upcoming podcast episodes—keep an eye on Brad’s Facebook &/or Twitter for future links.

… & MORE!

Honors
Brad was nominated and then voted in as a finalist for Tucson Weekly’s Best Local Activist—as chosen by its readers. Voting has closed, so now we’ll see how it all shakes down. No matter the result, Brad appreciates the support and appreciation! We expect the results will be posted here, in addition to being printed in the venerable Weekly.

Brad and his life’s work are being recognized with the 2015 ARCSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Brad was selected by the current Lifetime Achievement Award recipients and the ARCSA Board of Directors. Billy Kniffen, a past Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, writes, “You have been a major influence on rainfall management … and have probably reached more people than anyone I know and influenced so many to actually take steps to manage our resources, especially our water.” Brad will be recognized at ARCSA‘s national conference in Longbeach, CA, in November—hopefully in person, schedule permitting. Congratulations, Brad!

Other projects

Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

Photo credit: Jim Harris Photography

As a co-founder of Desert Harvesters, Brad is continually working with other current members to push the edge of the planting, use, celebration, and passive irrigation of wild foods of the Sonoran Desert. One key ethic of Desert Harvesters’ work is to repopulate the urban core with such native, food-bearing plants—and then harvest close to home, leaving naturally occurring desert abundance where it belongs: in the desert. Desert Harvesters’ core group recently brainstormed ways to convey this and other ethics verbally. Then, they handed the results to local poet-artist Kimi Eisele who crafted from that the beautiful, educational, and inspiring new Desert Harvesters Manifeasto. Brad encourages to you read it, put it into practice, and stay tuned for more wild-foods innovation!

The Umbrella: Summer 2015

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
A catch-all of news,
media, and events from
Brad Lancaster

Summer 2015

UPCOMING EVENTS

Click the linked header ABOVE to find more details about some of Brad’s mid/late-2015 events, including:

  • TUCSON, AZ (May 20 & 21): Brad will give a presentation on local implementation of green-infrastructure programs at BECC/COCEF’s Border Green Infrastructure Forum II. FREE! Attend in person or via live webinar, transmitted in English or Spanish.
  • TUSCON, AZ (May 21): Special evening screening of the film “Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective,” with a discussion following the film with lead teachers of the Sonoran Permaculture Guild (Dan Dorsey, Brad Lancaster, Barbara Rose, and Leona Davis; and Justin Bramhall of Ahimsa Landscaping). Currently sold out—follow the event to see if more tickets will be made available.
  • DENVER, CO (May 28): Evening public talk by Brad, Regenerative Watersheds: From Plumbing to Policy, followed by a panel with Brad and local policymakers & water activists. Tickets on sale now. Hosted by Denver Permaculture Guild & co-sponsored by Woodbine Ecology Center.
  • SEDALIA, CO (May 29–June 7): Integrated Social & Ecological Design course, taught by Pandora Thomas, Brad, and Eric Toensmeier, with local guest speakers, at Woodbine Ecology Center. Registration ongoing.
  • SACRAMENTO, CA (October 23–25): Save the date! Water-harvesting and integrated-design events with Brad, featuring collaboration with local specialists. Details to come.
  • CALGARY, AB, CANADA (November 19–20): Brad will be one of many speakers at Landscape Alberta’s Green Industry Show & Conference. Stay tuned for more…

These are in addition to some potential events-in-progress: a water-harvesting course in Amarillo (TX), a field workshop in Africa, and a conference in Arkansas. Click here if you’d like to inquire about hiring Brad for your public or private event.

NEWEST DROPS-IN-A-BUCKET BLOG POSTS
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G plant 2 IMG_2738 rwm

A spot in need of guerrilla planting

Guerrilla-Planting Rain and Native Food Trees
Do you know a spot in your community that could be more than just a spot? A spot where, perhaps, a native, food-bearing, harvested-rainwater-irrigated tree would make all the difference—by bringing shade, native-bird and -insect habitat, beauty, food, soil moisture, and fertility where there was none before? Whether flying solo is your style or you’d love to make it a social thing with a friend or two, whether you don your superhero cape or go undercover in plain clothes, maybe a little guerrilla-planting is in order! Read Brad’s latest blog post featuring the short tale of how his, Sky’s, and Julie’s efforts came together recently to do just that….

Sun- & Shade-Trap Videos
There’s a rhyme and a reason to the seasonal path of the sun and the subsequent patterns of shade. How can you use this knowledge to harvest these intangible yet important resources to collect free sun & warmth where you need it, and bask in free shade & coolth (yes, that’s a word!) where that would be just the thing? This blog post lines up videos, images, and links for you to illustrate and describe the whats and hows you’ll need to get started harvesting sun & shade where you live!

NEW MEDIA FEATURING BRAD’S WORK

Brent Cluff, Brad, Cunningham aide Katie Bolger, and other Tucson water-harvesting activists and advocates are featured in this High Country News article, Tucson’s rain-catching revolution, which appeared in the April 27, 2015, issue, written by Tony Davis. Full article available online to HCN web or print subscribers.

Gretchen Lück of local Tucson community radio station KXCI’s Weekly Green interviewed Brad over the winter on topics including Desert Harvesters, planting trees in Tucson (Part 1 & Part 2), and How Far Water Harvesting in Tucson Has Come over the past decade. (Note that the sun-path info Brad provides is for a Tucson-specific audience, so the winter-solstice shadow ratio will be different for other latitudes. Also, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, note that Brad means “equator-facing” when he says “south” in terms of tree placement and other solar-design elements.)

Scott Mann spoke with Brad for Episode 1502 of Scott’s Permaculture Podcast, released on January 14, 2015. Scott and Brad discuss water harvesting with living systems, fog harvesting, plant selection, as well as responding to several listener questions.

… & MORE

Eric-Hoffer-Finalist-SealBrad’s still-new second edition of Volume 1 of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond was recently named a 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist. Congratulations, Brad! For more about the award and the other books similarly recognized, click here. To see the other six awards this book has garnered, click here. And to order your own copy, or one for your mom, click here!

In April, Pima Association of Governments recognized Brad and other area individuals, institutions, and municipal projects for their leadership in low-impact development (LID). Brad’s urban homestead and the LID strategies he’s effected in his neighborhood, Dunbar/Spring, are what inspired PAG’s praise of him—click the following link and scroll down to the LID Case Studies Inventory Map to take a virtual tour (geo-referenced when opened on a mobile device with app) of Brad’s property and other Rainwater Harvesting Sites Recognized for Excellence in LID.

The Umbrella: Winter 2014

Umbrella2colTHE UMBRELLA:
News, media, and events from
Brad Lancaster

Winter 2014

DECEMBER 20: Guided Home & Neighborhood TOUR AT BRAD’S Showcasing Integrated Harvests of Water, Sun, Wind, Shade, Fertility, Carbon, & Community

Brad will lead this 2-hour tour of his home property and sites within the public rights-of-ways of the Dunbar/Spring neighborhood just north of downtown Tucson. Come see and learn about the integrated systems that allow Brad to safely drink rainwater, harvest both sun and shade seasonally, grow food, live comfortably in a tiny house, turn ‘wastes’ into resources, support the native bee population, and much more!

Click the linked header above to find out more about the tour, see photos & videos from Brad’s place, and purchase tour tickets in advance (be sure to read the Fine Print) via PayPal. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Click the linked header ABOVE to find more details about some of Brad’s early-2015 events, including:

  • ENCINITAS, CA (January 8 & 9): Presenting, consulting, and meeting with local stakeholders (details still being finalized)
  • BOSTON, MA (February 5): Presenting at New England Grows Horticulture & Green Industry Trade Show and Educational Conference
  • TUCSON, AZ (begins February 7): Teaching the Water day of the Sonoran Permaculture Guild’s annual Permaculture Design Course
  • TUCSON, AZ (February 10): Giving the keynote at Tucson Audubon’s Annual Gala
  • TUCSON, AZ (begins March 16): Teaching integrated site design and leading a water-harvesting tour as part of WMG’s Water-Harvesting Certification Course

These are in addition to some private events including a multi-day consultation at a retreat center in Tecate, Mexico; a workshop in Washington, D.C., for senior agricultural and program specialists in the international non-profit community who work in agriculture, food security, natural resource management and resilience; and a water-conservation presentation to the employees of a large water-supply entity. Click here if you’d like to inquire about hiring Brad for your public or private event.

NEWEST DROPS-IN-A-BUCKET BLOG POSTS

Rains of Hurricane Odile Captured in West Texas Water-Harvesting Workshops and Beyond
Back in September, Brad got to spend a lot of time working & playing in the rain! In the extended watershed of the Rio Grande, he got to teach in Albuquerque, speak at a conference in Ciudad Juárez, and give public talks in historic theaters and lead hands-on workshops at a public library and international school in west Texas. To recharge at the end of the trip, he spent a day basking in the natural world of Big Bend National Park. He made his trip notes into a multi-faceted, multi-media blog post.

Harvesting Rain from a 1,000+-Year Storm Event
In his urban home micro-watershed, Brad used a simple flow-diversion technique to turn a 1.5″ storm into the equivalent of a 19.5″ deluge, and harvested all that stormwater in streetside water-harvesting basins in the public right-of-way. If you need to see it to believe that small-scale, localized, green-infrastructure solutions can beat the pants off large, centralized, resource-intensive interventions, check out the text, photos, and (optional) arithmetic here!

water rainglers NEW MEDIA FEATURING BRAD’S WORK

Earlier this month, Brad’s conversation with Dave McGimpsey of the Water Values Podcast was released (“Water Values” Podcast: Planting the Rain with Brad Lancaster). As Dave describes it, they “discuss permaculture and rainwater harvesting. Brad tells us how he got involved in the permaculture community and harvesting rainwater and greywater. Brad also goes into great detail about the method he uses to “plant the rain,” which is used in his rain gardens to irrigate soil, plants, and trees. He also explains how the soil helps filter out toxins from greywater to keep us safe and healthy, but also transforms those toxins in the greywater into a valuable fertilizing resource for the plants. Brad talks about how other communities across the country are adopting the use of greywater and rainwater harvesting and how he’s working with them to create a more sustainable future. Tune into this week’s episode for fascinating insights on planting the rain!” Listen here.

In November, a group of ASU students interviewed Brad and 3 of his water-harvesting colleagues, Greg Peterson of the Urban Farm, Ryan Wood of Watershed Management Group, and Ken Singh of Singh Farms, to create Water Rainglers, a short, very sweet film highlighting place-based, community-building, common-sense solutions to Arizona’s water needs. Film by ASU students Ren Andres, Philemon Henry, and Thomas Hawthorne. Watch it here.

Over the summer Ivy Anderson’s article, “Rethinking Water Storage,” was published in Water Efficiency, an engineering-oriented journal for water-resource management. In it she highlights her research, including conversations with Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, Brad, and others, all aimed at “taking small-scale steps to obtain long-term results.” Read it here.

GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING

Brad’s water-harvesting books make great gifts that give back to the world—when they land in the hands of folks who will implement the thinking and strategies within. Be an agent of change—put a bow on a copy of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands & Beyond this holiday season… or any time of year!

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Upcoming Events

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Umbrella Newsletter

The Umbrella: Winter 2015–16

THE UMBRELLA:
A catch-all of resources,
events, media, and more
from Brad Lancaster
Winter 2015–16
What more meaningful way to celebrate the approaching SOLSTICE (Winter Solstice is December 21 this year in Tucson) than by engaging with, noticing, and highlighting the 23.44º tilt of the Earth? After all, this tilt is what gives us our seasonally changing sun […]

 »Read all newsletters...

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