NASA’s “Earth” Proves To Us All: There’s No Place Like Home

April 19, 2019

The very first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. Growing evidence that pollution was leading to developmental delays in children had led to concern and anger in many citizens. Millions of people gathered to protest the negative environmental impact of 150 years of industrial development. That year, Congress and President Nixon worked together to found the Environmental Protection Agency and pass environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to earthday.org, around 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in Earth Day each year on April 22nd.

Which environmental issue hits home for you? Figure out what it is, and go out and make a difference this Earth Day. Maybe you organize a group of friends to plant trees or pick up trash. Or, perhaps you just want to start by getting educated about this awe-inspiring place we call Earth. If that’s the case, then keep on reading!

NASA’s new book “Earth” tells the story of a 4.5-billion-year-old planet that offers so much to admire. Through rare satellite images, the book shows off Earth’s land, wind, water, ice and air from above. Explore waves off the coast of Mauritania, Coral Cocos of the Indian Ocean, colorful faults of Xinjiang China, and the North Patagonian Icefield in South America. You will be blown away by what you learn about the intersection amongst Earth and its people, like the Moken people of Southeast Asia, whose hunter-gatherer lifestyle and small population have helped preserve and protect the high density of plants and animals in the Mergui Archipelago. Side note – if you love to travel, flipping through this book will inspire several unique ideas for your next destination. Be dazzled by descriptions and images of the phenomenon known as glory (which looks similar to a rainbow but is formed differently), undular bores, active stratovolcanoes, fallstreak holes (formed by ice crystals that literally fall out of the sky), and milky green water from a boom of phytoplankton.

Click on image to enlarge.

“The spectacular images in this book remind us of the majestic beauty of our world,” said Lawrence Friedl, program director for the Applied Sciences Program in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Earth Science Division in Washington. “We hope these images inspire everyone to explore, understand, and appreciate the planet we call home.”

When reading through this book, you will start to view Earth as NASA does. That is, a system, with various cycles and processes that are not mutually exclusive, but rather dynamic and intersecting. It can be overwhelming to think about. Even NASA admits that it still has much to learn and explore on our own planet.

Though it’s fun to dream about our planetary neighbors and space travel, the reality is that Earth is the only place most of us will ever call home. To really care about the Earth, we first have to understand how it works. While we have relied on it for so long, and always will, our Earth needs us now more than ever. Happy Earth Day!

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About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.


Earth Day: Legislative Milestones & Beyond

April 21, 2016

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a growing public awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment led to the enactment of key legislation protecting clean air, clean water, and endangered species, the establishment the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the annual observance of Earth Day every April 22.  On Earth Day 2016, GPO makes available these original, authentic documents on govinfo.gov.

worldAside from ushering in legislative mechanisms to protect our environment, Earth Day helped raise public awareness of everyday greening. Green spaces benefit our environment and our psychological wellbeing. Naturally (pun intended), vegetation needs consistent, targeted care. Here are two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) how-to guides for maintaining our planet’s valuable cache of green gold.

How to Prune Trees

When I think of pruning, I picture an English garden full of imaginative topiaries or a miniature bonsai masterpiece. But there are more than just aesthetic reasons for pruning—encouraging strong structure, wound closure, and space-conscience growth are all part of the snip and trim objective. “How to Prune Trees” explains the principles and approaches of keeping plants trees healthy and full of character.

001-000-04755-8This pamphlet tells you why, when, and how to use your hand pruners, lopping shears, and pole pruners. Don’t worry—there are helpful pictures, too. Although this publication is mostly a how-to resource, it does detail a few how-not-tos. The section on harmful pruning practices will make you wince with empathy. It’s a careful reminder that “just as proper pruning can enhance the form or character of plants, improper pruning can destroy it.” Finally, let this be your pruning mantra: “prune first for safety, next for health, and finally for aesthetics.”

Nursery Manual for Native Plants

This USDA Forest Service handbook covers all aspects of native nursery planning, crop propagation, and long-term fertility. This book takes tribal nursery design and management seriously. And so should you. Before you invest in a nursery, consider this: “a nursery is a web of interrelated factors. Each aspect of the nursery affects every other aspect.” So meta!

001-000-04744-2The text introduces Native American tribespeople to the benefits and drawbacks of growing native plants. Subsequent chapters breakdown the concepts of pest control, plant nutrition, growing media, and seed handling. Photos and specific examples demonstrate simple but effective techniques. Tribal nursery management is hard work. It’s also rewarding and challenging and visionary and practical. Nurseries can bring a tribal community together. Because of this, nursery design is “personal…you are the person who can best understand the unique…environment around you.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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