AOH :: FRESHAIR.TXT|
Fast-growing trees eat CO2
From indri!uakari.primate.wisc.edu!csd4.csd.uwm.edu!bionet!agate!shelby!labrea!cdp!tgray Wed Sep 6 3 PDT 1989
Subject: Fast Growing Trees to Eat CO2
/* Written 6:43 pm Sep 2, 1989 by jdmann in cdp:en.climate */
/* ---------- "Fast Growing Trees to Eat CO2" ---------- */
/* Written 8pm 9/3/89 by David Yarrow(jdmann) */
/* ----- PROJECT IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR ----- */
Source: Syr Herald, Tuesday, July 29 in the Editorial Column
FAST GROWING TREES
Plants are nature's oxygen machines. They keep our atmosphere
breathable by taking out the carbon dioxide and putting back oxygen.
That's why the killing of the world's forests is such a critical problem.
That's also why the work of two scientists at Syracuse's State
University College of Environmental Science and Forestry is so important.
At an ESF field in Tully, Dr. Edwin H. White and Dr. Lawrence P.
Abrahamson have been making hydrib trees grow 10 to 20 times faster than
their wild-growing cousins do. In the process, they are generating oxygen
at a similarly accelerated rate.
Much has been written lately about the "greenhouse effect" - which
many scientists belive will result in global warming that will melt polar
ice caps and flood coastlines while turning many inland areas into
deserts. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, generated primarily by
the burning of fossil fuels, will trap the sun's heat and not allow the
earth to cool properly, so the theory goes.
As humanity is not likely to curb its use of fossil fules in the near
future, the most promising strategy in battling the greenhouse effects is
to cultivate plants to eat up the excess carbon dioxide. (If you will
remember your high-school biology, you know that photosynthesis is the
process by which plants extract carbon dioxide from the air, use the
carbon to build tissue and return the oxygen to the air.)
The world is just now starting to heed alarms about the destruction
of its forests - primarily in Asia and South America (30 million acres a
year in the Amazon basin alone). This is a tragedy for the areas involved
as wildlife species, deprived of their habitat, are dying out. It's also
of grave concern for all humanity as carbon-dioxide builds up in the
atmosphere faster than the world's plants can absorb it.
The work of White and Abrahamson and scientists like them may be part
of the answer. Besides generating oxygen, their super-trees also provide
wood for fuel - which means leass coal and oil have to be burned.
Thanks to their efforts, future generations may be able to breathe a
COMMENTARY: Another case of "Can't see the forest for the trees."
The idea of fast-growing trees, like faster cars, computers and returns
on investment, sounds very clever - you know, racy. But both editor's and
scientists' strategy lack common sense wisdom.
The very first sentence reveals the writer has gained little insight
into Nature - by calling plants "machines" the writer reduces the Web of
Life to mechanical objects in the industrial pipeline. Dying trees and
ravaged forests are symptoms; the cause is our ignorant tampering with
the Web of Nature. The solution is to reconcieve our understanding and
relationship to Nature, not a license to engage in more tampering.
Nonetheless, it's noteworthy a local paper makes greenhouse effect an
editorial concern - not for the first time. The writer may not see the
Unity of the Natural World, yet the newspaper understands our complete
reliance on a global ecosystem, and the acute threat to its stability.
The writer assumes we can and will keep burning fossil fuels, and lays
the burden squarely on tropical rainforests. Yet ocean biomass is an even
greater CO2 sink, especially conversion of CO2 to carbonates in shells -
and oceans are in deep trouble too. How long until there is the awareness
we MUST stop our massive daily burning of fossil fuels, among other
practices, to stop the climate "machine" from spinning out of control.
The writer is unaware of lessons learned in agriculture's Green
Revolution of the dangers of manipulating and narrowing the genetic base
through hybridization. Similarly the notion of fast growing trees burned
as fuel to reduce coal and oil burning is simply incorrect. CO2 is CO2,
whether it comes from wood, coal, oil, gas, bacteria, landfills, burnt
limestone, termites, or radiactive decay.
And from our point of view, the present man-made defrost cycle in the
planetary ecosystem is just another trigger for a polar deep freeze. Why are
so many glaciers growing, not shrinking? Has anybody checked Antarctica?
-*+*- David Yarrow, the turtle, for SOLSTICE magazine.
***** SOLSTICE "Perspectives on Health and Environment" is published
bimonthly at 201 E Main St Suite H, Charlottesville, VA 22901 804-979-4427
From sdsu!bionet!agate!shelby!labrea!cdp!bmasel Wed Sep 6 12:13:04 PDT 1989
The researchers have also neglected existing plants which fix
carbon faster than most trees. The hemp plant is the most
prolific photosaynthesizer in temperate climates, but illegal.
By the way, burning biomass instead of fossil fuel will reduce
greenhouse levels. Yes, CO2 is CO2, but if using biomass you
burn that much less fossil fuel. And all the CO2 released was
already in the atmosphere prior to the photosynthetic process.
If using hemp stalks for methanol the roots, leaves, and flowers
are plowed back into the soil, returning almost all the nitrate
and phosphate and some of the carbon.
Ben Masel Co-publisher of ZENGER
"The Nation's Underground Newspaper"
E-Mail me your Postal (hardcopy)
address for a free sample.
The entire AOH site is optimized to look best in Firefox® 3 on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 or better).
Site design & layout copyright © 1986- AOH
We do not send spam. If you have received spam bearing an artofhacking.com email address, please forward it with full headers to email@example.com.