Posts Tagged ‘Collapse’

Trees are talking. Are we listening?

April 4, 2015

Have you ever wondered What Plants Talk About? If that sounds like too far out a question, check out the video by that title on pbs.org and enjoy a fascinating surprise! I was amazed to hear that we only see a third of the forest above ground. Below is a mind-blowing family network of roots and fungi working together in the two-thirds of the forest that is underground. We know that trees absorb carbon dioxide and the bigger the tree, the more it absorbs.

The surprise for me was seeing and hearing about the network of fungi that coat all the roots and are part of a huge underground internet for fungus and tree families. And carbon is sucked down deep into their roots to be stored. Mother trees then send the bulk of the carbon as food to their young sprouts. Fungi cover the roots and bring in organic nutrients to the trees while the trees feed carbs to the fungi – symbiosis at its finest.

Because trees are capable of sucking up massive amounts of carbon dioxide, the more trees we have, the better our chances to decrease global warming. Energy problems invariably bring us to the realization that trees are key to our survival and cannot be exploited. Trees provide us with oxygen, heat, furniture, paper, tools, shade, and habitat for birds, squirrels, tree frogs and other members of the wildlife family. They also serve as holding tanks for water reserves and keep the land around them alive.

I just gave Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse, another read. I hoped to understand the pattern that caused so many civilizations to collapse. I hoped to learned something to enlighten us lest we end up another collapsed civilization. In all of the collapsed civilizations, deforestation was a factor or the major factor. In this information age, we are the first civilization to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Here’s the pattern that historically puts deforestation in motion: there was always a competitive streak among chiefs, priests, and rulers to outdo each other. Easter Island rival chiefs tried to do so with bigger and bigger statues. They cut down forests to provide the necessary staging to move the statues once completed. The last thing they did was to destroy each other’s statues. Having already destroyed their trees, they also destroyed wild life, water supply and soil, which led to starvation and cannibalism.

We have a big medical system, big food companies, big agricultural conglomerates, big pharmacy, and big energy competitors. Their precedence threatens our trees, water, and soil. Finding out what worked and didn’t work in other cultures can help us make better choices for our future.

Significantly, Japan has 73% of its land mass under forest management. Perhaps this has allowed the Japanese to recover from such devastating catastrophes.
As we reset our priorities this month, Earth Day can have special significance for us if we plant a tree as a symbol of our commitment to make saving our forests a top priority to keep each other well.

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Trees are talking; Are we listening?

April 6, 2013

Have you ever wondered What Plants Talk About? If that sounds like too far out a question, check out the video by that title on pbs.org and enjoy a fascinating surprise! I was amazed to hear that we only see a third of the forest above ground. Below is a mind-blowing family network of roots and fungi working together in the two-thirds of the forest that is underground. We know that trees absorb carbon dioxide and the bigger the tree, the more it absorbs.

 The surprise for me was seeing and hearing about the network of fungi that coat all the roots and are part of a huge underground internet for fungus and tree families. And carbon is sucked down deep into their roots to be stored. Mother trees then send the bulk of the carbon as food to their young sprouts.  Fungi cover the roots and bring in organic nutrients to the trees while the trees feed carbs to the fungi – symbiosis at its finest.

 Because trees are capable of sucking up massive amounts of carbon dioxide, the more trees we have, the better our chances to decrease global warming. Energy problems invariably bring us to the realization that trees are key to our survival and cannot be exploited. Trees provide us with oxygen, heat, furniture, paper, tools, shade, and habitat for birds, squirrels, tree frogs and other members of the wildlife family. They also serve as holding tanks for water reserves and keep the land around them alive.

 I just gave Jared Diamond’s book, Collapse, another read. I hoped to understand the pattern that caused so many civilizations to collapse. I hoped to learned something to enlighten us lest we end up another collapsed civilization. In all of the collapsed civilizations, deforestation was a factor or the major factor. In this information age, we are the first civilization to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

 Here’s the pattern that historically puts deforestation in motion: there was always a competitive streak among chiefs, priests, and rulers to outdo each other. Easter Island rival chiefs tried to do so with bigger and bigger statues. They cut down forests to provide the necessary staging to move the statues once completed. The last thing they did was to destroy each other’s statues. Having already destroyed their trees, they also destroyed wild life, water supply and soil, which led to starvation and cannibalism.

 We have a big medical system, big food companies, big agricultural conglomerates, big pharmacy, and big energy competitors. Their precedence threatens our trees, water, and soil. Finding out what worked and didn’t work in other cultures can help us make better choices for our future.

 Significantly, Japan has 73% of its land mass under forest management. Perhaps this has allowed the Japanese to recover from such devastating catastrophes.

As we reset our priorities this month, Earth Day can have special significance for us if we plant a tree as a symbol of our commitment to make saving our forests a top priority to keep each other well.

Blues for the Moratorium

March 7, 2013

 I was stunned to see the Moratorium Bill rolled back down the hill. NH  HB 580 required that there be a Moratorium on wind turbine plants and electric transmission line projects until the state issues a comprehensive energy plan. This week, despite hundreds of protesters at the Feb.19 hearing in Concord, the House Science, Technology and Energy Committee voted to postpone dealing with this and other energy bills.

 The news report read like something out of Jared Diamond’s, Collapse. So many civilizations have met their demise by ignoring the management of their natural resources, with towns and states pitted against each other for bigger pieces of the pie. Step one is the top drawer greed and apparent political stagnation in the face of environmental destruction. Step two is the general poverty of the masses leading to disease. Step three is the final starvation of whoever is left.

 Last week, when a tree fell on lines at the Thornton Power station, the area blackout caused Waterville Valley Ski Area to lose thousands of dollars. We all are so dependent on energy that it’s not just the lifts, but the kitchen, the toilets, the internet, and all that must be running well to accommodate over a thousand skiers. Those are recreational dollars lost. Yet the legislators, with few exceptions, want to have more time to think about whether they want time to think about advance planning for future provisions of renewable energy that can be safely transmitted. They want more time to think about burying new lines along state transportation rights of way to avoid such disasters.

 Meantime, energy projects are moving right along, with a third contract for another wind farm in the Groton area. People in the North Country have to regularly ask police to remove trespassers scoping out their land for the Northern Pass Project. Yet these intruders are carrying illegal permission slips from the Department of Energy.

 At this point, if we want to protect the health and safety of people in New Hampshire, we need to support the work of our one true ally: the Society for the Protection of NH Forests. To help stop HQ’s latest Northern Pass bullying attempts, please send your contribution to Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Trees Not Towers campaign, 54 Portsmouth St, Concord, NH 03301; or on line at www.forestsociety.org/np; or call 603-224-9945 and ask for Suzanne Kibler-Hacker at the Forest Society.

 Please also attend your town meeting and support your town’s Rights Based Ordinances. If we want to leave our grandchildren and all children a legacy they will appreciate and continue to honor, we have to come together, and not risk being another chapter in Collapse.