Saturday, January 22, 2011

Collateral Damage

More stories are constantly emerging of dying animals.  Obviously, I don't attribute ALL of them to disappearing vegetation, which comprises the collapse of the base of the food chain from exposure to toxic ozone.  However, it is quite noteworthy that despite official reassurances that mass die-offs are not unusual, a perusal of the individual stories more often than not quotes the unfortunate discoverer of the corpses as saying something along the lines of..."I've never seen anything like it!"  I have yet to see even one account from a witness that says something like, "eh, happens every few years, no biggie."

For instance, take this news article from January 20, the headline of which reads:
"Boat Harbour residents baffled by arrival of dead seals, fish...I've never seen anything like it"
Boat Harbour — As many as 20 dead harp seals have washed ashore in Boat Harbour over the past couple of weeks, leaving perplexed locals scratching their heads as to the reasons why.
Wallace Woodward, who has lived in the small community northwest of St. Anthony for most of his 52 years, says no one can remember such a thing happening before.
Last week, the carcasses of several seals lolled about in the breakwater; some had been pushed ashore by strong waves and others were buried under three feet of seaweed.
And it’s not just harp seals that have been swept into the harbour — hundreds of dead catfish have washed onto land, becoming entangled with the seaweed strewn along the shore.
A myriad of other marine life, like sea slugs, sea urchins and starfish have also perished in the past three weeks.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, b’y, in all my years,”  Woodward said Thursday, “It’s just unbelievable.”
The former fisherman said the catfish appeared to be malnourished and skinny, suggesting they may have been struggling to find food.
Here is a list of the latest stories I've noticed, if you're feeling morbid, the causes for which range from weather to poisoning to cocaine trafficking - but are mostly unknown.  Following is the latest dying tree information, which is the basis for my expectation that animals do not have enough to eat, leaving them vulnerable to weather and predators.
Mass bird deaths in China.  Ten thousand dying cattle in Vietnam.  Buffalo die on New York farm.  Octopuses dying in Portugal.
Pilot whales in New Zealand, starlings in TurkeyPelicans in Florida...
I'm quite sure this has nothing to do with ozone, but it's worth noting nonetheless, that the floodwater from Australia has killed untold numbers of animals; and a review in the New York Times, even without considering ozone pollution, concludes that climate change will certainly cause mass extinctions.  Then there is this alarming report that a bird flu pandemic has begun in the northern Canada.
None of this is exactly within the purpose of the Wit's End blog, which is devoted to resolving the question of why trees - and other forms of vegetation - are dying off at a terrifyingly rapid clip.  The deaths of creatures that rely on plants for food are merely indicative of the shrinking of the biomass.  So, how are our dearly beloved, lately lamented trees doing right now?  Just a few pictures tell the entirety.
I had to stop and take a picture when I was going past this fallen giant.
I next saw a post over at DesdemonaDespair about the reduction in the expected yield of rice in the Philippines, which is being blamed on the weather.  No doubt, since record-breaking storms must be a large factor, although there are credible government agencies that attribute rice yields losses to ozone.  At any rate, the fact that it mentioned as an aside that the coconut exports, a major source of income for the Philippines, was also diminished, made me realize that I haven't been paying any attention to coconut trees.
Notice how the bark burst off from the inner wood.  There is no cohesion.  Also too, there is quite a bit of parasitic lichen and moss.
Hey, I live in New Jersey, and we don't have them!  Somehow I've collected all sorts of links (up in the Basic Premise page!) about maples and oaks and hemlocks and apples and butternuts and pecans and aspen and sycamore and ash and even citrus trees dying, dying, dying...but nothing about coconuts.
The violence of such a fall is tremendous.
So I googled it and guess what (surprise, surprise) - they are in terrible trouble as well - and have been for some time.  Naturally everyone blames their demise on insects, disease, or both.  But we know better.
Here, for the record, are links to reports of dying coconut trees, from disparate places around the world:
A thread of concerned residents of Belize as to dying coconut palms.
Hawaii is nervous about deaths of coconut palms, and fears the importation of pests and disease which have been killing palms in Florida and the Caribbean.
A bulletin from the International Society for Infectious Diseases warning about the threats to coconut palms in India which states:
"The considerable drop of about 40-50 per cent of coconut yield this year [2010] in Bicholim [subdistrict] have become a matter of deep concern to agriculturists and coconut growers."
NOTE:  In India, they blame insects, in Belize, Florida and the Caribbean, it's disease and insects,  Hawaii blames all, while in the Philippines, it's storms.  Why don't more experts notice, THERE IS A GLOBAL PATTERN!
Here is a vantage from the roots.  It just split from the ground, with nothing to adhere to.
Here is yet another account - a creepy solicitation for funds for the purpose of mowing down 600,000 dying coconut palms in Mozambique, as an investment in a biomass business venture...which doesn't even bother to raise the question of why there are massive numbers of trees dying.  They just want to make a profit from them!
This is the condition of a random and typical tree.
In case it's not obvious, the bark is corroded.  This tree and many others will not be leafing out in the spring.
I had wished to post a video from Badlands - the last scene where Sissy and Martin dance in the dusk and sure knowledge of their impending doom, lit by headlights, to Nat King Cole's immortal version of One Blossom Fell - but couldn't find one.  So here instead is a composite, sorry - a clip from the movie, followed by a fantastic audio version of the song.


  1. One could see the movie as a giant metaphor .. a revolutionary mashup thought.

  2. hi Gail, I hoping to get some real momentum going on the 'grassroots' approach.

    I think its the only way to get the sleeping public motivated on this. The science hasn't and has been shown in the past not to work. We need to work at the moral concience of everyone.

    Please support and pass on….

    “Addressing Global Warming, I vow to eliminate all my non-essential flying. It’s a moral issue…” ClimateFlightAction/165484890164497?v=info

    By signing up to reducing your non-essential flying you make a big impact on emissions reduction in multiple ways.
    >Your emissions are substantially reduce.
    >Your resolution highlights and focus the urgency of the issue and the sort of effort that will be required to address the problem with your peers.
    >You reenforce and provide suport
    to consolidate action in tackling global warming.

    Its a moral issue….
    >Yes, our lives must be an expression of what we most deeply value.
    >Yes, we can and must make conscience-driven choices about how we spend our money and time.
    >Yes, we must provide a safe and thriving future for our children.

  3. crystalwolfakacaligrlJanuary 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    I totally ♥ your blog! Learn so much here. Re: the animals dying do you think some of these bird deaths and sea animals might be from some of them that have migrated through the oil spill?(not seals obviously, but especially migrating birds & fish?)

  4. Hi Paulm, I agree that's a very important approach. Have you seen this: He posted a link once on CP, he dresses up like the "elephant in the room" and asks people to stop flying. Once I get through the Koch protest this week, I plan to get an elephant costume and wander around Newark airport with a sign. I already checked with the Port Authority and they said I can do it. What fun!!

    Crystalwolfakacaligrl...Thanks for your comment -Your pins are on the way!

    I'm absolutely certain that the Gulf oil spill is responsible for uncountable dead creatures, some of which are migratory. But many of the stories of dead animals are from way too far away to be related to that. So there is something else, much larger, going on. Certainly, the trees started a mass die-off well before the spill even happened. I have read very disturbing reports that people in the region have terrible levels of toxins in their blood and are sick with a variety of ailments. It's horrible. And then to think of Sarah, Drill Baby Drill!

  5. I arrived at this blog in search of info regarding Coconut palms in S. FL. I live in the FL keys and thruout the Keys, Dade and Broward counties every cocunut is showing the bottom 2-3 layers of fronds totally dead and brown. Some trees have progressed to the point of total death with all fronds brown and the crown falling over. I have never seen anything like this before even 1st quarter 2010 when we had the coldest Jan. ever. It also does not look like lethal yellowing as the fronds simply dry up and turn brown with no progressive yellowing further up. Every coconut is affected, every one! Does anyone have any ideas or knowledge on this?

  6. Hello Atlantis. It is my contention that ozone is killing every species of tree, with somewhat varying degrees of rapidity. Did you try going to the top of the blog and clicking on the basic premise page? There are many links to scientific research indicating that ozone is highly toxic to all forms of vegetation.

    Please feel free to email me at witsendnj at yahoo dot com if you have any specific questions.


Blog Archive

My Blog List

Search This Blog