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Light On Light Through


You'll hear a little of this and lot of that on Light On Light Through - my reviews of great television series, my interviews with authors and creative media people and their interviews of me, my political commentary, thoughts about my favorite cars and food and space travel, discussions of my music, and a few of my readings from my science fiction stories. These are usually audio and a few are video.  In the first years, starting in 2006, I put up a new episode at least once a month.  More recently, it became more or less often than once a month, usually a lot less often.  But in the Fall of 2018, I began getting more in the mood to podcast, and you can expect new episodes now a little more frequently.  - Paul Levinson

Up on the Roof: The Power of Biology on Skyscrapers

Jul 29, 2007

How about growing gardens on the tops of skyscrapers as a way of combating global warming?  A Columbia University professor has proposed it.

This kind of "skyfarming" is not at all pie-in-the-sky, and is precisely the kind of answer I always give to people who say, well, even if global warming were really happening, what could we possibly do to stop or even diminish it?

The answer is not just using energy more carefully, or in developing further cutting-edge green-friendly technologies. The power of biology itself can also help. Fighting nature - or what we've done to nature - with nature.

Science fiction - ranging from Damon Knight's "Natural State" in the 1950s to my own more recent novel, The Silk Code - has been speculating about the power of the natural world, harnessed to help us, for years. (The Amish seem to understand this better than we do.)

In a nutshell, DNA is more powerful than any computer programmed algorithm. Every living organism is an incredibly successful machine, with a design usually road tested millions or more years. That gives living things a level of reliability light years ahead of the oldest, hardest technologies.

Indeed, raising of crops was probably one of the signal events in our emergence as a civilized species. The change from gathering to growing gave us more power over our world, and, more important, ourselves.

It makes good sense to put that power "Up On the Roof" ... the Drifters knew what they were singing about...