Monday, June 3, 2013

A Domino Effect

I would like to sincerely thank new readers and contributors to comments who visited by way of the Age of Limits conference post just prior to this one.  The links at the top of the blog will give an introduction to the purpose of Wit's End if you're not familiar with the science of ozone and its pernicious effects on vegetation - Greg Laden's guest post is a good introduction.

I have collected some new articles of interest that are on topic but as usual it's taking an inordinate amount of time to sort through them...but meanwhile I felt compelled to post the following brief (two minute) video with words from Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, about ocean acidification.  I submit it because it's such a terrific example of the kind of delusional hopium that is constantly peddled by scientists who must surely know better.  It's simply absurd to even postulate, as he does, that life in the ocean can be "resilient" to and "recover from" the rate of acidification (especially considering that emissions of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are accelerating, not decreasing).  It's absurd because you would have to NOT know the most elementary principles about how evolutionary biology creates complex, interdependent ecosystems to even entertain such an idiotic notion.

It seems to me that this teenage photographer has a better grasp on the human conundrum than your average climate researcher.  I can't say whether his intention mirrors the mournful thoughts I have attached to his tremendously intriguing creations, but to me it seems an uncanny fit with the existential questions that preoccupy me on this blog.  The one at the beginning of this post needs no caption from me, he had already titled it:  We All Fall Down, and the dejected portrait immediately below, Goodbye Nellie.

On the perils of hubris:
The consequences of forests dying of pollution and climate change:
The other side of global warming - flooding and sea level rise:
The precarious house of cards we have constructed that dwarfs our capabilities to continue:
The irreversible dwindling of Earth's rich biodiversity:
Our utter dependence on the trees that are falling out of our grasp:
...And, our endless quest to reinvent ourselves as creatures outside of our innate tendencies:
Be sure to visit Zev's website fiddleoak where he explores themes of nature, technology and time, explains origami techniques and tells the process he uses to make images like this one:

At his flickr page, I found a whimsical video that expresses a peaceful sense of awe for trees that inspires everything I try to write about here at Wit's End.


  1. Hi Gail,

    Marvelous, the material you find! - but you might want to fix the link to Zev's wordpress site - needs to be
    to arrive directly


  2. I had a rather startling experience recently while walking through a pathway in a forested park area. I heard an extremely loud crack and immediately looked around to see which tree was coming down. It turned out that it was just a very large branch that had sheared off under its own weight and came crashing down about 15 feet to the side of me.

    Needless to say it scared the shit out of me and from the glimpse I caught of it coming down it appeared to have been a fully leafed out branch, not old dead wood like one would expect of a falling branch. It seems that because the trees are rotting from the inside out, sometimes these branches are just shearing off under their own weight.

    I can go to any forested area and find large branches with leaves still green attached to them that have recently come down.

    On the day I had my close encounter there was no wind, absolutely calm. The branch just didn't have the structural integrity to support its own weight.

    Thanks for all you do Gail. I think this blog is an important log of whats been happening and a source of proof that what is happening is getting worse year by year.

  3. Yikes well I'm glad it didn't land on you! I remember seeing this study a while ago, that Des just posted:

    It's a great illustration of shifting baselines and of course when I was looking at the pictures of fish I was thinking that the same sort of thing has happened with trees. They didn't used to fall over and drop branches. I never worried about climbing on them when I was young, or having my children climb on them when they were growing up.


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