Tag Archives: TREES

From Intent.com: Swaying in the Wind

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.01.04 PM

Wind. The powerful and invisible force that comes and goes whenever and wherever it wants. It shows up in your life and it shakes things up. Sometimes it’s a welcome break from the heat and sometimes it’s the disruption that whips around us, stopping conversations and carrying on. It can be wonderful and it can mean destruction. Continue reading

Portraits of our Oldest Inhabitants

Every portrait tells a story. Famously, a picture is worth a thousand words, but how many years? Photographer Beth Moon searched the world for the oldest remaining trees and made them the focus of a beautiful series we first caught glimpse of on Bored Panda.

Some of our favorite images?

tree1

 

tree2

 

tree3

 

tree4

 

tree5

 

See the full collection here. And take a moment to pause and notice the life happening all around you!

4 Stunning Examples of Community Love (Video)

The first definition of community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. The second definition is much more interesting though – a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  A feeling of fellowship. What does that mean to you? As we look at the different kinds of love that we give this week, what do you consider your community? Do you give back? How do you celebrate it?

The following videos are about people who went above and beyond for the love of those they share a common attitude, interest or goal with. They are community leaders and kids. They start massive construction projects or simply add a little extra joy to their day jobs. The common thread is that they care about the world and people around them, and are taking the time to show it.

Many of the children currently living in Ethiopia have never known a world outside of the HIV/AIDS crisis. It is something that impacts them every day. These teenagers used their phenomenal dancing skills to create a group called the BEZA Anti-AIDS youth group. They travel around the country performing these dances and hand out fliers and information to the crowds that watch them to help create a more educated society and prevent the transfer of AIDS. Talk about using your artistic talents for a good cause.

We all know that hospitals can be a depressing place, but this nurse makes it his mission to give each of his patients something to make them feel warmer and loved. They call him “The Singing Nurse.” It started with him mindlessly singing as he handed out medications and went about regular tasks. Then he realized it was a great way to give his patients some personal care and make them feel special despite their less than enviable situations. It just goes to show how much joy you can bring even in the toughest jobs if you just open your heart.

Jonny Benjamin was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with a mental disorder that left him hopeless for a normal life. So he decided to take his life, but the kindness of one stranger named Mike convinced him not to do it. Instead of committing suicide, Jonny became a campaigner for mental health regulations and research. He’s a leader that tries to shine a light on illnesses that we still don’t fully understand. A few years after that night on the bridge, Jonny started an internet campaign to find Mike, to thank him for saving his life. His story touched millions as the campaign went viral. Above is the video of their second meeting, and proof of what happens when you just take the time to lend an ear.

Your community doesn’t have to just be the people or places around you. We’re all part of a global community because we have this one thing in common – Earth. So it’s important to show love for that too. In Milan they are creating vertical forests to show some love for Lady Earth. Not only does the project beautify a part of town that has become overrun, but it gives a home to over 900 trees per building. Something to pretty, and it benefits the planet? Where do we sign up?

Do you have an example of someone showing love for their community? Share it with us in the comments below!

Be Like the Trees: 3 Steps in the Art of Mindfulness

Learning to Listen
Learning how to listen to your body and trust in the information coming to you through sensations is so important. Over the last few weeks I’ve taken a little unplanned and unexpected break from my yoga practice. I rarely miss a day, so to wake up in the morning and feel like I didn’t want to go wasn’t an easy feeling to have, mentally speaking.

It started with just two or three days where I didn’t go to the studio. I felt that my body was exhausted and needed a break. Then I wasn’t exhausted anymore, but I didn’t want to go. It didn’t feel like an issue of discipline or laziness, I just felt in my body that I did not want to go. I wanted to write and sleep and do other things.

I decided to listen to my body and over the last twenty one days I’ve only practiced about six times. On the days when I haven’t gone to class, I tend to feel a sense of guilt or hear a critical voice telling me that I “should” go, but by staying mindful and returning to breath I’ve been able to remind myself that it’s okay not to practice somedays.

Identification Issues
Why was this even an issue? Well, it hit me in class today that I have been deriving a large part of my identity with the fact that I usually practice yoga daily. It also became clear to me that when we identify strongly with something that is external to who we are at the core of our being, whether it be a practice of some sort, our career, friendships, a hobby or talent — we can become susceptible to relying on it too much.

This new awareness is another reminder of why it’s good to take time to sit in silence and *feel* who we are. We are not our yoga practice, our job, our children, our guitar playing, our baking.. we’re not any of that.

I think my little break from yoga was my inner wisdom’s way of reminding me to not look externally for validation about how worthy I am as a person. I am valuable and incredible simply because I exist.
Period.

I don’t need to do anything else besides breathe and stand tall to let my light shine and contribute positively to the collective consciousness.

The Trees

About two weeks into my yoga break, while driving down into a valley on the 2 freeway, it seemed that the morning light was communicating in an act of reciprocity with the incredible array of trees that dot the hills of Eagle Rock.

It hit me so hard at that moment that I should strive to be like the trees. They stand still in confidence for the entirety of their life. The only practice they attend to is one of mindfulness.

They breathe in, and breathe out. They stand bare and naked in the world, bold in their beauty, while focusing solely on their purpose — to absorb the carbon dioxide and return life-giving oxygen to the universe.

They grow where they are born — on rocks, in fields, near freeways, on flatlands, the beach… they do not complain about their lot in life. They do not run away and relocate to escape hardships. Instead, they make do with the nutrients provided to them in the soil they were conceived in. They embrace challenges and remain rooted firmly into their place in life.

Trees are so simple, yet they’re each unique. They don’t need to perform or achieve or move to get your attention. We can all see that each tree is individually unique. They all look different and make us feel different things. Just simply by existing they are valuable and important to us.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all be a little more like the trees?

Devil Trees and Leadership

 Over the holiday break, a contingent of our family stood on a hill overlooking Panama City. As we took in the view, our son Cameron remarked, "It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? I might suffer a terrible death. From a personal perspective that would be catastrophic. In this city, that might make news. Yet, from a historical perspective, that is nothing. How many millions have suffered the same? It becomes nothing."

We listened to the sounds of the city and watched women hanging laundry out of windows below. We surveyed the skyline, a building fashioned to look like a corkscrew, and the ocean etching a border.

Senya, Cameron’s sister, then encouraged us to contemplate that cities, or systems, like this were rocking and rolling, moving and shaking across this country, across Central America and beyond. She brought up the struggle of actually comprehending how interdependent actions were madly occurring all around us and that we were somehow affecting the melee, even as observers from above. How many people were hanging their laundry at that exact moment? How many were laughing, crying or walking to work? How many were watching like we were? How did each of those actions mess with another?

I appreciated this conversation and how it shifted my perspective in those moments. I was remembered a Jewish proverb that reminds us to place a piece of paper in each of our front pockets. On one we are counseled to write, "I am unique in all the universe," and on the other, "I am nothing but dust." The art is to know which piece of paper to fish out when.

I was brought back to Cameron’s initial statement four days later floating down a creek in a small fishing boat, or panga, near Bocas del Toro, Panama. Our captain and guide hailed from the local Nôbe-Buglé tribe.  After pointing out caimans and sloths, he added, "and that tree over there is called a devil tree. Some people will go make offerings in front of trees like those to call out the devil to get things that they want — jobs, a girl or money.  On Good Friday they wait to make their request and spirits will appear sometimes in the form of a monkey to answer them."

He had my attention. I have been long fascinated by how trees play a role in cultural practices. In Thailand, you can pray to a tree to save your child from illness or to get a job. If rewarded, you return to the tree and give it gifts. Apparently, tree spirits are feminine as when traveling in the country, I witnessed a number of trees awarded very fancy dresses.

In Crow culture, trees might be adorned with prayer bundles or gifts if prayers are answered as  you can see in the included photo.  

And, Deidre, how are you going to  connect this to leadership?

Harkening back to Cameron’s statement, leadership is all about perspective. For example, how often does your average Westerner walk past a tree without notice? How many of you reading this knew about the potential importance of trees and tree spirits within these cultures? More importantly, how often do I remember that what is standard to some is sacred to others?

Leadership calls for humility. I know well that my personal perspective is not the only one on each situation, yet I need constant reminders. Too often I want to barrel ahead ignoring this fundamental fact.

Like the death example above, what might be a catastrophe for me could be interesting news to another, or have no significance at all. As simple examples, take the cutting down a tree or filling in a wetland. Therefore, as leaders some of our most critical tasks must become sharing, gathering and shifting perspectives.

 

Story Rx: Ygdrassil – The World Tree and Trees in Stories

From Stories are Good Medicine:

Ygdrassil

Just saying it makes me feel as if I’m wearing flowing robes and a circlet of gold.

Ygdrassil

Hark, is that Aragorn, son of Arathorn at my door?

Ygdrassil

Fabulous how just a name, a sound, an idea can take root in our consciousness and give rise to branches and buds of our imagination…

Ygdrassil

Today I’m thinking about the ‘World Tree’ also called ‘Odin’s horse’ – the enormous tree of Norse mythology that unites the nine worlds. I used to think it was just three worlds – the underworld, the human world, and the heavens… but I discovered last night during my kids’ ‘winter solstice’ play that I was wrong. The entire school was studying Norse and other Scandanavian myths and has built a beautiful image of Ygrassil on stage, complete with serpent, eagle and rainbow bridge to Asgard. 

Ygdrassil

I like the feeling of just saying it, nonetheless thinking of its mythologic significance:  Nidhogg, the serpent who gnaws at its roots, threatening to destroy all of life, because if the tree dies, we all die. The gossipy squirrel who runs up and down its trunk, reporting on happenings from this world to the next. The four deer, representing the four winds, who run across the branches and eat the buds. The eagle in the top branches, who sees all.

I have no personal connection to Norse mythological traditions, in fact, I’m far more familiar with Greek, Roman, or Egyptian ones, but somehow, the strength of any mythological story is its ability to transcend personal history or even familiarity. A tree, of course, is an incredibly potent cross-cultural symbol. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining – trees stand for life, sustenance, beauty, strength, nature, connection to both Earth and sky.

In Indian mythology banyan trees play an enormous role, both because of their age and strength, but also because of their symbolism – what looks like an entire forest can actually be a single tree. Banyans, like Ygdrassil, represent the interconnectedness of all life – both bad and good. Underground roots lie a foundation for reaching branches – if one is destroyed (or, eaten by a serpent named Nidhogg) the other dies. Similarly, if branches are burned (it is said in Norse myths that the fire giant Surt will set the tree on fire on the day of Ragnarok) so too do the roots suffer.

Trees not only have symbolic potency as symbols of life, but represent that which is ancient and unknowable. (Check out this story that came out recently about the oldest living tree on Earth.) In Indian ghost stories, trees are the dwellings of a pantheon of spooky ghosts – bhoot, petni, shakchunni. Just this week, I finished writing a story (that will appear online soon) about Bengali ghosts – who have a penchant for throwing unsuspecting travelers in the trunks of hollow trees.  The mysterious sound of the wind rustling through a coconut grove in an Indian ghost story;  the knotty forest floor and fallen leaves that made a bed for the Babes in the Woods; the fighting ancient forests of the Ents… all of these represent a tree’s many faces.

Just last week, I was teaching Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a story in which a tree takes on central significance to the protagonist. As she struggles to articulate her experience, the teen protagonist similarly struggles to represent a tree in art class – through sculpture, painting, wood work – capturing the essence of a tree becomes symbolic for finding her own voice, strength, inner rootedness, and her ability to grow after injury.

And then of course there’s the childhood classic The Giving Tree – a tree who gives a boy fruit and shade, a young man timber to build his home, and finally an old man a seat to rest upon. (I know people love that story – I was always bothered by the gendered implications… and how the boy took her for granted… but that’s another story for another day…)

What are your favorite stories that use trees as central symbols? Alternately, what are your favorite tree poems?

Hm… I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree — Joyce Kilmer

Advent Calendar:Sat 5 and Sun 6 Dec 09-Trees and Elephants for Christmas!

From Meady’s Musings

This week on Meady’s Musings Production’s Advent Calendar we gave the gift of trees and elephants. So as we relax on the weekend let’s have some music! Join us dancing and singing to some of our odes to trees and elephants for our Christmas fun! 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch

www.youtube.com/watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch

 

Advent Calendar: Wed 3 Dec 09-The Gift of Trees!

From Meady’s Musings

Meady’s Musings Production is always celebrating the trees and you can expect to see many references to them as this year’s Advent calendar progresses. Today on the calendar we’d like to feature trees on each of the blogs in this manner:

– Meady’s Musings-The beauty of trees
– UCP-The spirit that can be found in trees
– Books and Films Corner-Yes we kill trees to make books but hopefully it is a willing or worthy sacrifice and may blogs, kindle downloads and e-books be the books of the future so we can save them trees! But for now we will celebrate some poetry about trees!

THE BEAUTY OF TREES

The Purple Elephant loves to wrap his trunk around trees while the little mouse scurries around in the leaves below looking for something to munch on. This year on Meady’s Musings we took many a beautiful walk among the trees and as the year draws to a close on our Advent calendar we’d like to remember those walks…as well as some other tree memories over the years…

Refinery walks Apr 09

Refer to this blog post for more pictures from that refinery walk…


Bamboo cathedral, Red Earth Eco-Arts Festival, Chaguaramas National Park, May 09 TRINIDAD.



Cheraw State Park, Jun 09


Visualizing the Tree of Peace, Oct 08


Yosemite National Park, Jun 07

Climate Change – A Planetary SOS

 

A major condition of healthy living on Earth is keeping a positive balance between our environment and us. While growing up in the Carpathians I took being self-sustainable for granted, from growing all necessary vegetables on our own land to raising animals that would help us through the winter. Nowadays, I could not do much without relying on fossil energy sources. Unfortunately that comes at a high price. The nature has changed drastically and brought fear among us, for the future of our lives and for our children. The media is full of information, very controversial at times, so I was as confused as many of us are when I decided to look closer into the issue of climate change. Are we doomed, can we do something about it, is anything going to change the damage that has already been done – all these questions were racing through my mind. I wanted facts and wanted to know what is in my power to change.
Our society has changed radically in the twentieth century into fossil fuel addicted society, majorly industrialized and, as a consequence, it has caused greenhouse emissions to dramatically increase. This has brought about a chain reaction that has changed our whole world, as we know it, in one single generation.

“The atmospheric concentrations of dioxide of carbon and methane in 2005 exceed by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years”
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This table is a major overview of greenhouse gases; these are rough approximations and it is often hard to be precise because they are closely related, each one being found within the other categories. In a Synthesis Report on Climate Change (2007) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states “the atmospheric concentrations of dioxide of carbon and methane in 2005 exceed by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years. Global increases in dioxide of carbon concentrations are due primarily to fossil fuel use, with land-use change providing another significant but smaller contribution. It is very likely that the observed increase in methane concentration is predominantly due to agriculture and fossil fuel use. The increase in nitrous oxide concentration is primarily due to agriculture” (pg 15)[1].
 

Oil, coal, natural gas resources

Energy production accounts for the highest production of greenhouse gases.
We are largely dependent on petroleum (43% of total energy related carbon dioxide emissions), coal (36%), and natural gas (21%) based energy, to the most basic activities (EIA, 2008)[2]. In today’s society most of us would not be functional without fuel for our cars and electricity. Energy production accounts for the highest production of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. In 2006, United States emitted 20% of total carbon dioxide based on fossil fuel, while China 21%. However, if the emissions are calculated per capita, the rate for United States is 20, while for China 5 (EIA, 2006)[3].

Possibilities for alternative energy sources exist and are explored more and more as the threat of global warming becomes more obvious. Currently an increased number of countries are shifting towards solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. As of 2008, renewable sources of energy accounted for about 7.3% of total U.S. energy consumption and 9% of electricity generation (EIA, 2009)[4]. Renewable energy sources are accounted for being the fastest growing industry in 2008 (EIA, 2009)[5]. Shifting towards this kind of energy is going to take time and happen gradually but the benefits will be considerable. Not only the carbon dioxide could be reduced, but also the US dependency on fossil energy sources from other countries would be valuable with 57% of fossil energy sources coming from foreign countries such as Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria (EIA, 2008)[6].

 

Livestock – key factor in climate change

Beef production is by far the leader for livestock emissions; “1 kg of beef being responsible for the equivalent of the amount of CO2 emitted by the average European car every 250 km, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days”.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How did a basic activity like eating end up being part of a climate crisis? Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that choosing to eat less meat or none is the most important choice that one can make to directly affect global warming. United States ranks the highest and it has been the highest for a long time; England is close but its population is about 5 times smaller than that of United States. A change in American diet would have a huge impact on global warming.
 
Livestock production is responsible for 18 percent of carbon dioxide production (from energy, waste, land use, and forestry), which is higher than emissions produced by transport (FAO, Steinfeld, et al., 2006, pg 112)[8]. The impact of livestock production does not stop here. It goes beyond carbon dioxide to other two major greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide. How is it possible that livestock could be responsible for so much of the greenhouse gases? One of the problems with industrial livestock is the waste. The first thing that comes to mind is that manure is sustainable as it is generally being used as a fertilizer but in industrial growing there is too much of it so it is stored in manure “lagoons” where due to lack of oxygenation produces methane and nitrous oxide; the United States is responsible for half of the globe’s total (Lappe, 2008)[9].

In addition, ruminant livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats digest through fermentation, which in turn produces methane and which is eliminated through belching. Though livestock production is only responsible for 9 percent of carbon dioxide, the methane for 37 percent and nitrous oxide for 65 percent of emissions, it must be emphasized that methane has 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over 100 years and nitrous oxide is 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over 100 years (FAO, Steinfeld, at al., 2006)[10]. Beef production is by far the leader for livestock emissions, “1 kg of beef being responsible for the equivalent of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 250 km, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days” (Pachauri, 2008)[11].
 

Amount of water needed to produce 1 Kg of:

  • Maize 900 L
  • Rice 3 000L
  • Chicken 3 900L
  • Pork 4 900L
  • Beef 15 500L
Besides the high amount of water spent for the production of beef, it takes more than 10 kg of animal feed to produce 1 Kg of beef. In addition, a farmer can feed up to 30 persons throughout the year on 1 hectare with plant food, while using the same amount of land for production of animal produce the number of persons fed drops dramatically to an average of 8 (Pachauri, 2008)[12]. In addition, livestock pollutes the land and water with nitrates and phosphorus from the use of manmade fertilizers, which contributes to acid rain due to the high amount of ammonia produced. The energy requirements are high due to required refrigeration and cooking at high temperature as opposed to grains or vegetables. The largest part of deforested tropical areas is used for cattle pastures; the overuse has already led to soil degradation in some parts.
Organic farms on the other hand are self-sustained, rely on manpower not on heavy machinery, fewer manmade chemicals are used, and less carbon dioxide is produced. In addition, organic farms can actually help with climate change by trapping carbon in the soil, 10.000 organic farms being able to trap as much as the carbon dioxide from 1 million cars (Lappe, 2008)[13].

 

Deforestation

At the current rate of deforestation, tropical forests will disappear in 100 years leading to the extinction of many species of plants and animals, and unknown effects in climate change.
 

Studies of deforestation during Mayan civilization coincide with the drastic drop in Mayan population when it is thought that 90-95% of population has died (Ray, D. K, 2005)[14]. According to NASA archeologist Tom Sever, Mayan civilization was one of the densest in the human history, the population density being similar to that of Los Angeles County in year 2000 – 1800-2600 people per square mile. This is not to say that deforestation was the only reason for the Mayan event, but deforestation combined with natural factors and water management implications, lead to the ending of the Mayan civilization (Michon, Earth Observatory, 2007)[15]. The Mayan civilization was one of the greatest that ever existed; the above facts should teach us a lesson – to learn from their success as a nation but also from their failures.

According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) 2005 Global Forest Resource Assessment, deforestation continues at a very high rate, but the loss is not so severe due to forest replanting[16]. By and large, the global level of the forest seems to be doing reasonably fine, however looking specifically at the tropical deforestation the figures are alarming. Tropical forests cover 7% of the earth land out of the 30% of the global land covered by forests (National Geographic)[17]. However, as much as 50% of all species on Earth, live in tropical forests. This is why it is so crucial to preserve tropical forests. Unfortunately, the figures do not look so good in relation to tropical forests. Island Nation of Comoros (North of Madagascar) cleared nearly 60% of its forest between 1990 and 2005, Togo in West Africa 44%, Honduras 37%, and Mauritania 36%. Thirteen other tropical countries cleared 20% or more of their forest between 1990 and 2005 (Lindsey, 2007)[18]. At the current rate of deforestation, tropical forests will disappear in 100 years leading to the extinction of many species of plants and animals, and unknown effects in climate change (Urquhart, 2001)[19].

The major factors to be held accountable for deforestation are agriculture, cattle, and logging. Local farms usually clear only a few acres of land as opposed to commercial agriculture where a few square miles are cleared. The forest cleared by farmers can grow back as soon as 20 years if left alone, unfortunately due to the commercial equipment used for massive deforestation in commercial agriculture, it can take up to 50 years for the trees to grow back. The impact on animals and plants cannot be easily reversed. The carbon dioxide cycle is even more disturbed; not only that there is less of it trapped by the trees, but also burning the trees releases carbon dioxide adding even more to the climate change. The solutions are strongly related to the countries owning the tropical forests but we need a global change in agriculture and cattle raising in order to slow down the deforestation.

Desertification – the most threatening process that primarily affects the poor

The dust storms have had an effect on respiratory diseases as far as North America and had an influence on the coral reefs in the Caribbean.
 

Desertification is a process where the dry land becomes desert-like. It is natural that a certain amount of desertification occurs, but at the current rate there is extensive evidence that point towards human activities. This process can expand from an already existing desert or form in new places, both due to human activities. According to The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, based on the number of people affected, desertification ranks among the greatest environmental challenges. It is estimated that about 10-20% of dry lands are affected by desertification (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005, pg 1)[20]. A direct consequence of this process is dust storms, which can in turn lead to further soil degradation. China’s dust storms are found to be mainly due to climate change and human activity and at a much lesser extent to natural processes (Journal of Geophysical Research)[21]. While global warming produces more evaporation from oceans to respond to the warmer atmosphere with increased moisture it also takes moisture from the soil leading to increased desertification. In addition, by loosing fertile soil, more biodiversity is lost, less plants growing and increased carbon dioxide. Other major factors are overexploiting the land, agriculture, and the population growth that has put more pressure on the usage of soil. Agriculture can have a positive impact depending on how it is managed. For example, the fast burning of wood can increase desertification while slow and controlled burning can nourish the soil.

The best approach to desertification is prevention, as restoration of the already affected areas can be expensive and time-consuming. Steps to prevent soil erosion, desalinization, proper irrigation of the water during droughts, can all help prevent desertification. Drought is considered a “silent killer” because it deprives the soil of its valuable nutrients. Extreme conditions are seen, with drought followed by long periods of water scarcity. As of 2005, 1-2 billion people suffer from water scarcity, most of them living in dry land areas where the desertification is predominant (Millennium Assessment Ecosystem, 2005, pg 13; UNESCO, 2006)[22][23]. At this moment, the poorest countries are the most affected; it is sad that the ones having the least responsibility for global warming are the ones to suffer first. All continents besides Antarctica are affected, with a heavy predominance in Africa and Asia. The dust storms have had an effect on respiratory diseases as far as North America and had an influence on the coral reefs in the Caribbean. A complete desertification synthesis is found under the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment initiated by the UN in 2002.

 

Conclusion

The global warming is currently affecting glaciers, which has major consequences in many aspects of our life and the animal and plant species. It is estimated that by 2020 up to 250 million people in Africa will suffer from water scarcity, 20-30 percent of plant and animal species might face extinction if the temperature continues to increase, and melting glaciers will cause floods that could affect more than 1 billion people. (Assessment Reports on Climate Change, 2006)[24].

To conclude, it is a fact recognized by scientists that climate change is mainly due to human activities. The number of skeptics has drastically dropped over the past years; the ones left either do not argue directly in peer-reviewed scientific journals or recognize the effects of human activities but dismiss any effects that require immediate action (Suzuki)[25].

 
 

TAKE ACTION NOW

Meat consumption

  • Decreasing meat consumption is one of the most important changes that one person can do
  • Beef is the meat that takes most energy to be produced
  • Being vegetarian is a good choice but making a program for lower intake of meat is very helpful as well
  • Choose organic as it has a lower impact on climate
  • Health benefits can be seen with a moderate intake of meat

Energy

  • Replace light bulbs for energy saving bulbs – did you know that if all America would change one bulb in their house it would be like taking 1 million cars off the road (National Geographic)[26]
  • Buy energy efficient appliances
  • Turn off lights when they are not needed
  • Turn off computers when not in use or overnight
  • Cook in pressure cooker devices

Transportation

  • Whenever possible choose walking, biking, carpooling to work
  • Take the train
  • Choose smaller cars as they emit less greenhouse gases and are most cost-effective – did you know that “a typical car produces three times its weight in carbon dioxide emissions. Annual fuel costs average $648 for a new Volkswagen Jetta and $2,067 for a Ford Expedition 4×4”. (Suzuki Foundation)[27]
  • Put your kids in the school bus
  • Buy local food, imagine how much energy it takes to bring food from South America, Europe etc
Trash

  • Change the attitude “out of sight, out of mind”; landfills are a major source of pollution
  • Be environmentally conscious and recycle cardboards, paper, cans, and bottles
  • Bring your reusable bags for groceries

Water

  • Use a filter to purify your water and avoid bottled water, it is less expensive and it would reduce the containers waste
  • Install a low flow shower head
  • Choose plants that require minimal watering
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth

Trees

  • Plant a tree at home
  • Pay your bills online and choose paperless statements
  • Avoid paper phone books – choose the internet
  • Use both sides of a sheet of paper when printing
  • Choose a service to help you get rid of junk mail
  • Use the local library instead of buying books

Information

  • Go online and find more ways to go green, there are plenty of websites with good tips to help our planet
  • Join different movements and groups that promote sustainable and green living
  • Tell everybody about the exciting changes you are making – you might be surprised at the outcome
  • Promote healthy living among local and national officials
 

We might ask ourselves, how this is going to make a difference; I am only one among billions of people. Mother Theresa once said: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean; but the ocean would be less because of that drop”. I believe it lies within our power to take the next step. There is a need for everybody throughout this planet to be aware and make changes, and most importantly we need our governments to come together now, to leave politics and money driven interests aside and think about our planet for once. Change is not easy but it is definitely necessary.

 
Damiana Corca, MSOM
Family Herbalist
Candidate, Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Candidate, Board Certified Classical Homeopath

References


[1] Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K. and Reisinger, A. (Eds.)IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, (2007). pg 15. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf

[2] Energy Information and Administration Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases Emission Report, Report #: DOE/EIA-0573 (2007). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/index.html
[3] Energy Information and Administration Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government, Frequently asked questions – Environment. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ask/environment_faqs.asp#CO2_quantity

[4] Energy Information and Administration Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government, International Energy Outlook 2009 with Projections to 2030. (2009).
Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/speeches/howard052709.pdf

[5] Ibid

[6] Energy Information and Administration Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government, Frequently Asked Questions, (2009). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/ask/crudeoil_faqs.asp#foreign_oil

[7] Guardian.co.uk, Meat consumption per capita, September 2, 2009, from Food and Agriculture of the United Nations. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/2009/sep/02/meat-consumption-per-capita-climate-change

[8] Steinfeld, H., Gerber P., et al., (2006). Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pg 112. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

[9] Lappe, A. The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork, (2008). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/climatechange/#fn1

[10] Steinfeld, H., Gerber P., et al., (2006). Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pg 112. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

[11] Patchauri R.K. The Impact of Meat Production and Consumption on Climate Change, (2008). London. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://www.rkpachauri,org.pdf.London08.pdf
[12] Ibid

[13] Lappe, A. The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork, (2008). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/climatechange/#fn1

[14]Ray, D. K. et al. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting (2005), abstract #B33F-07. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005AGUFM.B33F..07R

[15] Michon, S. Mayan Mysteries, Global Hydrology Resource Center, Earth Observatory, (2004). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Maya/

[16] Global Forest Resources Assessment, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.(2005). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/A0400E/A0400E00.pdf

[17] National Geographic, Deforestation. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview.html

[18] Lindsey, R. Tropical Deforestation, Earth Observatory, (2007). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Deforestation/

[19] Urquhart, G., Chomentowski, W. et al. Tropical Deforestation. (2003) Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from http://alliance.la.asu.edu/model/geoliteracyCD/LessonFiles/Stelten/SteltenForestS1.pdf

[20] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Ecosystems and Human Well-Being, Desertification Synthesis, World Resources Institute. (2005). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available fromhttp://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.355.aspx.pdf
[21] Journal of Geophysical Research, Qi, F., L. Wei, L. Yansui, Z. Yanwu, and S. Yonghong (2004), Impact of desertification and global warming on soil carbon in northern China, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D02104, doi:10.1029/2003JD003599. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2004/2003JD003599.shtml

[22] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Ecosystems and Human Well-Being, Desertification Synthesis, World Resources Institute. (2005). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available fromhttp://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.355.aspx.pdf

[23] UNESCO. Sharing Water. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/wwdr2/pdf/wwdr2_ch_11.pdf

[24] Gateway to the UN’s Systems on Climate Change. The Science. The Economics of Climate change – The Stern Review. (2006). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/climatechange/pages/gateway/the-science

[25] Suzuki Foundation, Science – The Skeptics. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Science/Skeptics.asp

[26] IPCC. Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. (2006). Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from
http://www.ipcc-nggip.iges.or.jp/public/2006gl/index.html

[27] Suzuki Foundation, Science – The Skeptics. Accessed September 14, 2009. Available from

 

 

Make Some Shade

If the hot sun turned your home into a sauna this year, it’s not too late to think about planting shade trees. Fast-growing species can provide shade in as little as two years, and trees that block the sun can reduce cooling costs by 40 percent!

Fast-growing shade trees include Red Maple, River Birch, Yellow Poplar, and Sawtooth Oak, but you’ll want to select trees based on your climate zone to give them the best chance for survival. The website, Fast-Growing-Trees.com has many suggestions for shade trees that can be organized by state or climate zone–wonderful!

Since shade trees must be very tall to shade the South side of the house during the summer, when the sun is at its steepest angle, concentrate your efforts on the West side of the house where trees don’t have to be as tall to provide shade due to the lower angle of the sun after 4 pm. The South side of the house can still benefit from shade trees, it just may take a bit longer–especially if your home has two stories.

Fall is the best time to plant shade trees, so visit your nursery soon!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...