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Posts Tagged ‘tree planting’

Until today, I resisted the urge to comment on Wired provocative article on Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to  Be Green.  Lynn Miller‘s comment on Goeff Livingston‘s post about Wired piece, gave me the push I needed. 

First, I agree with Lynn. Anything that can draw people into thinking about their carbon footprint, has my full endorsement. Second, I would also hope that the information that is being conveyed does not further confuse citizens. People need clarity, not controversies. Third, I agree with Goeff Livingston, that any respectable journalism medium, such as Wired magazine, ought to do its homework, and convey only accurate information, to the best of their knowledge.

About Wired‘s  ‘10 Green Heresies‘, here is what I think:

  1. Live in cities: YES and NO; I have written before about supporting research for YES. At the same time, there is something about living closer to nature that supports  greener behavioral changes. It may be that we have not found yet the way to optimize the way we live in non urban settings.
  2. A/C is OK: NO; The fact that A/C is less of a villain than heating, does not make it right.
  3. Organics are not the answer: YES and NO;  I do not agree with the whole setup for their argument. The bigger issue is of conservation and proper use of natural resources. Their point about the role of transportation in carbon footprint is also highly debated. I do support their point about limiting read meat and pushing a vegetarian diet.
  4. Farm the Forests: YES and NO; I am aware that trees are a complex issue; on the whole however, more trees is better than less, and deforestation in the Amazon is never good. 
  5. China is  the solution: YES and NO; it is hard to ignore the polluting of the rivers, and of the air, and the exponential growth of coal plants
  6. Accept genetic engineering: NO; I am no expert. Still that one does not feel right. I say, let us address the issue of growing population with family planning and education, and conservation strategies. Let us eliminate the food waste, let us eat less, and less processed food.
  7. Carbon trading doesn’t work: YES; Carbon trading is an easy way out, that does not solve the fundamental problems of needing to produce less greenhouse gases at each source. 
  8. Embrace nuclear power: YES (reluctantly); I know I will get a lot of grief for that one, from some of my antinukes friends. The issue here is, if not nuclear energy, so what? Can we say with confidence that renewable energies, and conservation measures will be set in place soon enough to win the race against greenhouse gas emissions?
  9. Used cars – not hybrids: YES and MORE; as in retrofitting old cars, biking or walking instead of driving, carpooling, and hopefully soon electric cars that will be recharged with renewable energies. I do own a Prius, but I agree with them, a little old car with good gas mileage would be just as good. 
  10. Prepare for the worst: YES.

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Green is out, blue is in. Move out treehuggers, make room for the sky watchers, and the sea divers.

Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t heard trees mentioned in a long long time anywhere in the press. That, folks is just plain unfortunate. While we are busy chasing after carbon sequestration technologies, trying to build artificial trees even, right there, next to us is the simplest, cheapest, and most effective solution. Trees are amazing CO2 eating factories. And while initiatives such as the United Nations Environment Program ‘Let’s plant one billion more trees in 2008 are commendable, in my opinion, they are not enough, and have not made it down to the mainstream public.

I started thinking what would happen if there were no longer trees? What would the world be like? I imagined it to look like this:

A nightmarish universe, populated with rows and rows of manufactured things, and no sign of nature to be seen. Aseptic, lifeless, colorless, with the smell of death lurking. This could become our world, if we are not careful. According to popular lore, Thom Yorke recorded the vocals for ‘Fake Plastic Trees‘ in two takes, and broke down in tears after doing so.

Just as I was about to give hope, Prad drops this morning’s paper at my side, with, what do you know?, an article on ‘PG&E picks forests for green funds‘ . . .

San Francisco’s PG&E will use cash from its ClimateSmart program to fund the restoration and management of two California forests, one in Santa Cruz County, the other on the state’s North Coast. The trees – mostly coastal redwoods – will soak up carbon dioxide from the air, offsetting some of the gases produced by the power plants that provide PG&E customers with electricity.

The amount of money changing hands is small by the standards of the utility industry – only about $2 million. That cash, however, should help remove 214,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases from the air. That’s roughly equivalent to taking almost 40,000 cars off the road for a year.

It also means that the 17,500 PG&E customers who have signed up for the ClimateSmart program will have offset all the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the electricity and natural gas they consume. Participating customers pay an average of $5 per month over and above their regular bill. They receive nothing in return, except the satisfaction of helping the environment.

Still, not quite what I had in mind. Trees need a PR makeover, with Hollywood celebrities stepping in and speaking on their behalf. Or maybe, just someone to start a tree movement that makes it clear what can be accomplished with just a shovel and a few seeds. Cost: just plain goodwill from citizens.

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