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Editor's Note: Warming up to 2007

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As you can tell from our Week at a Glance this issue, the weekend will be a busy one, with many worthy events. I wanted to call your attention to one in particular which Connect Savannah is sponsoring, the "Gardening Like the Forest" workshop, which will help you put your backyard to work growing fruits, vegetables and herbs.


Not long ago I got a somewhat ominous e-mail from the Arbor Day Foundation explaining that due to global warming the official planting zone for the Savannah area has been changed from Zone 8 to Zone 9, previously a zone for central Florida and the Gulf Coast.


I’ve always been intrigued by James Lovelock's “Gaia” theory, which posits that the earth functions largely as an organism unto itself, with self-healing powers similar to those of a living being. This holistic, self-sustaining concept is in some ways intrinsic to the Gardening Like the Forest Workshop.


How about this for a theory: Could global warming just be earth’s attempt to heal itself from mankind’s destruction of the rain forest, home to the vast majority of the planet’s species of plants and animals?


What better way to offset the loss of the rain forest than by expanding the areas where rain forests can grow?


I concede that many readers will disagree.


 


Speaking of global warming -- and disagreement -- one of the most amazing events to happen in Savannah, basically ever, takes place in various venues Feb. 6-10.


Headlined by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s appearance Feb. 10 at the Trustees Theatre, the "Shaping a Sustainable Future" conference is part of Savannah Country Day's ongoing -- and quite visionary, for this area -- "Creative Minds" series.


Connect will be doing much more reporting on this event in next week’s issue leading up to the conference, but a few highlights of the event include:


• The aforementioned panel discussion including RFK Jr. on Saturday, Feb. 10;


• A free screening of the documentary Kilowatt Ours at Abercorn Commons at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, sponsored by the local firm Melaver Inc., a national leader in green building;


• And a free screening of Al Gore's global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 at Savannah Country Day.


To explore the “controversy” engendered by Gore’s film, there will be a panel discussion including climatologist Peter Webster of Georgia Tech and political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado.

Personally, it seems to me that if you have mounds of data identifying a potential problem that has even a small chance of causing the inundation of most of the world’s major cities, then it would be prudent to address the problem now and work out the “controversy” later, wouldn’t it?


In any case, Savannah Country Day, Melaver and everyone else associated with this event is to be commended for organizing it and making it available.


For more info go to www.savcds.org/symposium/symposium1.html


 


One of the most unique -- and strangely underreported -- aspects of life on the Georgia coast is the annual visitation by one of nature’s most awesome creations, the North American Right Whale.


The massive but gentle mammals -- only a few hundred still remain --  grace us with their presence each winter, as mothers travel south to have their babies in the warm waters off our coast. The rest of the year they spend off New England, in cooler waters teeming with their preferred menu items.


Some years back during a vacation to Maine and Canada, my wife and I saw a whale (no idea which species, but it was huge) during a ferry trip. We had heard that passengers often see whales breaking the surface, so like benign versions of the whalers of centuries past -- armed with a video camera instead of a harpoon -- we kept an eager watch topside.


Sure enough, shortly into the journey and about a mile or so away from the ferry we saw the distinctive shallow V shape of a whale’s tail as it repeatedly broke the surface. It put on quite a show, lasting several minutes -- a performance we’ll remember forever.


Partially inspired by the ship-caused death last December of a Right Whale off Brunswick, Ga., this week local freelance journalist Sabrina Manganella Simmons explores the manmade threats in our Lead Story.


 


Also check out Linda Sickler's excellent roundup on page 26 of conversations with participants in this weekend’s FREE Art & Technology event at the Jepson Center.


It’s one of the coolest things to happen around here in some time, and you’ll want to say you were there!


 


This Friday I’ll be taking part in Savannah’s first-ever blogging conference, UnCon '07, at Bryson Hall.


I’ll be on a panel called “Blogging for the Media” at 1 p.m. Of course the usual case with these panel discussions is that everyone talks about whatever they want to talk about, so it’s all good.


Go to blogsavannah.com for more info.


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