Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Chickens Come Home to Roost in the Age of Consequences

Despite yesterday's intermittent rain and overcast sky I decided to wander around the woods that encircle Wit's End, chasing birds with my camera.
Several years ago, before I knew the ecosystem is on the verge of collapse, I had an 8' fence installed over a large proportion of the land to keep the voracious deer from eating every desirable plant. I put in this climbing rose next to the gate to the creek, and I am so thrilled that it has taken root.
In spite of the overall decline of the forest, I found a riot of flowers, and their scent rendered the air exquistely sweet. Outside the gate, brilliant blue forget-me-nots line the banks of the Cold Brook.
This little bird and his mate scolded me with shrill bleats along the way - they must have a nest to protect.
Phlox in shades from white to lavender are in bloom, as is wild yellow iris.
High overhead circled a red-tailed hawk.

Initially I started this blog to record and investigate the death of trees from emissions of burning fuels. In the past year, it has become apparent that all forms of life are endangered.
For anybody who landed here by searching for information about damaged vegetation, I suggest you scroll back up to the top and go to the "Basic Premise" page - because as is my wont, I will digress!
I am so thrilled to have found there is a Yellow Shafted Flicker in the woods...also known as Colaptes auratus auratus.
Despite the alarming demise of bee colonies a few can be found busily at work, pollinating.
The oriole stubbornly stays so high in the branches I can't get a very good photograph. Actually the only reason I can get one at all is there are so few leaves.
I have let the garden go this year. I used to spend hours weeding every week.
But now even though parts of it still look just enchanting, knowing that it is never going to flourish again makes me so sad I can hardly bear to look at it. So many hours of planning, planting, and pruning!
This article in the Guardian details the despicable way that purportedly environmental NGO's have been corrupted by money from the fuel industry.
Now I know why they never answer me when I write and ask about ozone killing trees! The coal and oil companies have bought everything, including the "conservationists".
My friend Roger, who is one of the world's foremost gardening experts and the author of many books, advised me long ago to plant clematis next to every new shrub, which is why this smoke bush is being delightfully engulfed.
And speaking of the Gulf, Bob Herbert has a superb column about the BP massacre. The citizens who are watching the oil flow into the wetlands and devastate the ecosystem - and their livelihoods - are in shock.
Well, it's just the chickens coming home to roost, which they do every night at Wit's End.
There will be many more impacts from our greed and wasteful habits. Americans have been outsourcing their pollution and their carbon for decades, our appetite for power destroying habitats from China to Guatemala. Those are very interesting articles that point out the fallacy in the notion that as societies become more technologically advanced, they improve their environmental impact. Not so. They ship it off where they don't have to look at it!
Here is a review of a new book, "Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse," which I must read if I ever get through "Requiem for a Species," which is seriously painful.
A quote from the book:
“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up. Hopeful people are actively engaged in defying the odds or changing the odds.” He quotes Vaclav Havel’s definition of hope as “an orientation of the heart” and “ability to work for something because it is good."

A quote from the review:
"We enter the age of consequences."
I think of this flamboyant pair as Eva and ZsaZsa, which is dating me terribly.
There have been more lively discussions at, what with a contest to name the catastrophe in the Gulf, and record floods leaving people homeless - all over the world...exactly as predicted by climate science.
Here is my comment:
Bob Wallace, I do think it’s wonderful to point out clean alternatives to dirty energy, and money-saving efficiency. But that simply isn’t enough to persuade people to make fundamental changes, because in order to do so, it must first be admitted that there is a Problem. And there’s the rub. People who cling to the idea of endless growth cannot admit there is a Problem, and so even taking rational steps to conserve energy that would save them money become impossible. Au contraire, they willfully and deliberately and unnecessarily squander energy. Take Christmas lights for an example, who really needs them? It is a kind of defiance.

The fact is, the American life-style is going to change whether we do so deliberately, or it just happens – like it is happening in the gulf right now.

It’s an issue that needs to be addressed directly. The approach you recommend I liken to offering extra fresh fruit and vegetables to an overweight diabetic who is about to have a Happy Meal and expect them to lose weight. It’s not going to happen. You have to explain that they need to cut down on the Mac and fries or they are going to have a heart attack and die.

You have to scare them.
So I haven't been working in the garden, and there are many weeds.
But it hardly matters -their leaves need to photosynthesize too, and so they too are exhibiting symptoms of exposure to toxic greenhouse gases.
Their foliage is stippled, ruffled, stunted, deformed, and lacks even color.
I read one study that said grasses are more resilient than broad-leaved plants, when it comes to ozone.

Let us hope something is.

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