Shortly after Hurricane Sandy I wrote to George Monbiot about the damage being done to trees from pollution. Leaving aside the flooding along the coast, the major issue from the storm was the loss of power in the mid-Atlantic region, and that was the result of millions of trees and branches that fell. The reason so many fell, even though the winds were not extraordinary by the time the storm made landfall, is that they are dying prematurely. It was evident from the many photos taken of the aftermath that trees were black with rot on their interiors, and I explained that ozone weakens trees and makes them more susceptible to opportunistic attacks from biotic pathogens such as disease, insects and fungus, which are now epidemic all around the globe. George wrote me back and asked for scientific evidence - which is, to put it modestly, plentiful. The US EPA is only one among many government agencies worldwide that document the research indicating that ozone is toxic to vegetation and advise governments to pass stricter standards to protect vegetation.
In response I sent him various links, hopeful that perhaps - finally! - a prominent environmental reporter would bring this staggeringly important existential threat to public notice. But, I never heard back from him, which didn't surprise me. You see, George has Hope, and has taken to writing about rewilding the landscape - as if climate change isn't going to make that utterly futile. Anyway, after I watched this short video that he narrates, it became even more crystal clear why George doesn't want to acknowledge that trees are dying. The documentary is about how reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone lowered the number of deer, which increased the growth of trees, which led to a cascade of other beneficial effects for biodiversity. One of the comments at youtube quoted John Muir: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." Indeed. No trees = no anything else.
Even though all evidence indicates climate change is advancing at a cataclysmic rate, this still seems such a pity to me, because it's exactly people like George who should be up in arms over the wholesale massacre of trees from fuel emissions...because obviously, if someone like George won't speak up for preserving forests, who will? So, pardon me if I say... Fuck. You. George.
Enjoy the movie.
- BASIC PREMISE + Research Links about Dying Trees
- Four Radio Interviews, Video of Fall Foliage + Contact Information
- More Links to Recent Research
- Visit the Apocalypsi Library at the End of the World
- Pillage, Plunder & Pollute, LLC - free download AND watch the movie - The Silent War on Trees
- Whispers From the Ghosting Trees - Guest Post at Greg Laden's Science Blog
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