Ecological Evil

The Root of All Ecological Evil

My Big Man said one day, “Where do climate deniers think the carbon emissions go?” He described the earth’s atmosphere as a glass dome, such as a biosphere. If the inhabitants of the biosphere build fires, where will the smoke go? It isn’t going to pass through the glass into “outer space;” the carbon and other elements will be released from the wood or oil and linger in the air of the biosphere, eventually filtering down to the surface or coming down in “rain.” Some of the dispersed compounds and elements will linger as a gas mixed in with what was once pure air.

Burning fossil fuels is the same thing. We have been burning coal and oil for almost 300 years in manufacturing and vehicle emissions. Where does it go? Into the atmosphere, and then brought down to earth by rain, the heavier particles wending to the ground and wafted miles from where they originated by the wind. The heavier particles are often the poisons, such as lead.

Proposed solutions are probably not going to be effective in time to save the atmosphere and many living creatures, from the microscopic to the megafauna. Carbon scrubbing, which could be very effective, is expensive and unavailable. But another solution, which can be done immediately, at low cost, and would be effective from the start, is to plant trees, as my architect friend Carolin Southern reminded me.

Cities need trees. The boreal forest needs trees to replace overcasting and monocultures. The forest floor needs biodiversity – underplanting, fungi, animals, bacteria – to keep the tree culture healthy. So any one of us can do something to save earth and the Arctic: Plant a tree or two.

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