Hygge time

This month brings storms and gales, releasing the last yellow-orange leaves from the trees to swirl and dance in the woods. The origin of these November gales is the jet stream that blows from west to east, 10,000m above the Earth’s surface. If you are a keen gardener, fallen leaves are a good source of mulch which gives your soil a boost and provides an ideal banquet for local birds to forage and fatten up for the season. Go ahead and sow broad beans and rhubarb, or why not plant some bare-root fruit bushes? If you are lucky to have a greenhouse, rocket and cress germinate well in these low temperatures. But as the land goes to sleep, our seasonal celebrations remind us of what we have lost. There’s All Saints’ Day on the first of the month and All Souls’ Day on the second: dates that also signify the older Gaelic festival of Samhain. Since all these festivals celebrate the departed it’s not surprising that the full moon in November is named the Mourning Moon. This time of year also heralds the arrival of Jack Frost and the onset of winter. As the air turns crisp and clean and there is ice underfoot, remember the Danish word hygge, which means creating a cosy atmosphere and enjoying the good simple things in life. Candlelight is hygge, a home-cooked casserole is hygge, seeing a movie with three blankets on and turning off the phone – that’s
hygge, too.

Seeing a movie with three blankets on and turning off the phone – that’s hygge, too

Positive Ecological Restoration Stories

Amazon AI vs chainsaws
Artificially intelligent spy boxes have been installed in part of the Amazon to be an effective weapon against illegal deforestation. The boxes are named curupiras, after Curupira, a folkloric forest spirit that stalks poachers. The AI has been trained “to recognise the sounds of chainsaws and tractors, or anything that could cause deforestation,” said project manager Thiago Almeida. Unlike satellite data, which reveals deforestation only after the fact, they can immediately detect when destruction starts. Early results from the project have been successful. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil has made a pledge to end all illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030.

Greening Nairobi
Nairobi has aptly been named the Green City in the Sun because it’s the only capital city in the world with a vast national park sanctuary of 117km2 that’s filled with lions, rhinos, giraffes, buffalos and antelope. “Nairobi rightfully deserves that name because we are a green city that is full of biodiversity, but this is under immense threat,” said Nickson Otieno, CEO of sustainability firm Niko Green. Lions have been known to walk the streets, so it’s about balancing the different needs of humans, animals and nature. The national park is a haven for some. “Here we have an environment in the middle of the city where the air is unpolluted, living on the periphery, on the southern side is paradise because you are not breathing in all the nonsense and the rubbish, the noise and all the rest of it,” observed conservationist David Mascall. Research has shown that the shade cast by mature trees actively reduces dangerous “heat islands”, especially in poor neighbourhoods.

China’s revolution in wind power
The world’s largest wind turbine is named Goldwind GWH252-16MW and is located in the sea outside the Fujian Province, China. This turbine has a 252m diameter, which is almost three football pitches. It was designed to regulate its blades so it could continue to operate through the high winds. Sure enough, when a typhoon passed the area on 1 September it produced up to 384.1 megawatt hours (MWh) in 24 hours, enough to power 170,000 homes, or 2.2m kilometres driving an electric car. This renewable energy plays a major part in China’s green transition. Starting in 2025 the country is planning to build the world’s largest wind farm, said to be capable of powering the whole of Norway.

The peerless earless dragon
The earless dragon has been spotted again after it was thought to have been extinct for 50 years. This grassland lizard, which lacks ear openings, was last seen in the Australian wild in 1969. Its population decreased and then plummeted due to feral cats and foxes. Biologists made huge efforts to locate the reptiles for over five decades and their efforts have finally been rewarded. “This is an amazing discovery and offers an opportunity for us to recover a species once thought lost to our state and the world,” said Victorian environment minister Ingrid Stitt. “With the help of our partners, we will continue to fight the extinction of this critically endangered species – ensuring future generations can see and learn about this incredibly unique lizard.”

Sky Events

Jupiter will be visible on 3 November and with a medium-sized telescope you can spot details in the planet’s cloud bands; even a good pair of binoculars will allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons. On 4 and 5 November, the Taurids meteor shower will produce five to ten meteors per hour. The Leonids meteor shower takes place on 17 and 18 November, with approximately fifteen meteors per hour at its peak. The full moon on the 27th of the month was known as the Beaver Moon by early Native American tribes; to us, in an echo of ancestral remembrance, it’s the Mourning Moon, but has also been known colloquially as the Frosty Moon and the Dark Moon.

Tides in November

Spring: 14th-15th and 28th-29th
Neap: 6th-7th and 21st-22nd

Andreas Kornevall is a Swedish storyteller, author and ecologist. He is the Director of Operations for the Earth Restoration Service Charity based in the UK

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Almanac, Life, November 2023

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