Monday, February 17, 2014

Hitched to Everything

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.


  1. Sigh and this is EXACTLY why in my humble opinion Monbiot is more dangerous than a climate change denier. Fuck you indeed George. *Hitched* is another way to say chained to hope. It is not helping one iota.

    Some pleasant new music with a little tree love.

  2. Wendy:

    They won't be able to lie about it much longer due to all the plain evidence right before our eyes. Just wait til there's not enough food being grown to feed even U.S. citizens (maybe this year with the CA drought) and you'll see complete mayhem. Like many of the Middle Eastern countries, people here are giving up on elections (since they're rigged by big moneyed interests and don't affect any change in business as usual) and will just give up on politicians and the whole bogus "political process." In a country awash in guns, when the people get fed up enough, all hell may break loose. Besides the food issue, there are so many other factors barely holding "civilization" together with duct tape and baling wire (like our fiat currency, the global economy, disease outbreaks for which we're completely unprepared, war, scarce resources like water, crumbling infrastructure and electrical grid, abusive police, and on and on) strained to the breaking point, that it's just a matter of time before the big step off the cliff happens. Enjoy your days.

    Thanks for the update and video. Hope you're well and keeping depression at bay.


  3. Interesting that the only way hope works is when it's coupled with ruthless adherence to laws -- in this case the laws of thermodynamics. But the only hope humans have is in adhering to eco-totalitarianism - and that is so repugnant to people that they would rather die than change behavior, so be it , easily arranged. We are a species that has made colossal changes in some ways, and blundering intransigence in other ways. Change or die. Rather, it is "decide to change, then change - because if you delay then it does not matter what you decide."

    As Bill Nye just said this weekend, (I cannot believe he has hatched the best slogan for our times) He said we must "change everything, all at once"

    Ferociously interesting times.

  4. rpauli: I hear ya! Don't expect "our elected officials" (otherwise known as the corporate toadies) to change anything either - they'll keep fracking in drought affected areas, lay-off and outsource good jobs to third-world countries (and others where they can pollute to high heaven with no regard for anything beyond their profits), insist on austerity for most of us while they enjoy themselves, and on and on. We're on our way out.


  5. Cl-Fi may help with our messaging. (Climate Fiction)

  6. Yes cli fi can help w messaging......dan bloom


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