Singing the CO2 Blues

A centuries old tree in Istanbul, Turkey

he Doofuzz Dudes books speak a lot about trees.
In fact there are a few very magical trees discussed in the stories. The main tree is the Moon Tree of course (Babbling Bottles, Cobra Curse and Blood Tree); then there is the Tree of Life (see The Planet Zok) and of course the Blood Tree (see The Blood Tree).

Well, unfortunately the reduced rainfall on our planet – Earth, combined with rising temperatures, are causing a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) takeup by trees.

CO2 causes plants to grow bigger but they need adequate water and soil nutrients to do so.

Scientists from the CSIRO have been measuring the leaf area of plants for the past decade and note that there has been a noticeable decline in surface area and hence their ability to absorb CO2.  A NASA satellite that orbits Earth every fifteen days has been building up a map of changing forest cover over the past ten years.

Although higher temperatures have increased plant growth in some parts of the world, the gains have been negated by drier conditions in rainforests which have caused an overall decline in CO2 takeup by forests. This reverses a 20 year trend of CO2 uptake by trees and plants.

Interestingly, I remember watching a documentary on the Amazon about five years ago in which a couple of scientists predicted that soon the trees in the Amazon, which is the greatest treed area on earth, would cease to take up CO2 and instead start releasing it into the atmosphere. According to them, we have in fact only been spared the consequences of our consumer driven lifestyle by the kindness of vast tracts of trees such as the Amazon Rainforest taking up our CO2.

Well, according to the CSIRO, their prediction is now coming to pass. But there’s more…

The next part of the Amazonian scientists’ prediction was that the release of the CO2 would increase temperatures on earth to an unbearable level and then we can expect huge and catastrophic fires in the Amazon and elsewhere. And that will definitely make things a whole lot hotter!

One would think that this might not be the right time to consider annihilating any vast tracts of rainforest. However that is exactly what Indonesia intends to do in Papua New Guinea when they begin their MIFEE Project which will involve destroying 1.6million hectares of virgin rainforest in Papua so that rice and palm oil and soy bean plantations can be cultivated. Read http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OVbtdKQh5pQJ:tapol.gn.apc.org/press/files/pr100811.html+the+indonesian+rice+project+in+Papua+new+guinea&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

to see the details and ponder how the suspicious death of a journalist this month might be involved.

To quote the last paragraph in this article –

Widespread licensed deforestation in Merauke would contradict the Government of Indonesia’s commitment to reduce green-house gas emissions by 26% by 2020.  It also raises questions over a recent billion dollar REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) agreement with the Government of Norway to preserve Indonesia’s rainforests, in particular in Papua.

And that was exactly what I was wondering. How can Indonesia continue on with this project when they have just received a billion dollars from Norway to stop their rampant deforestation? A case of take the money and run?

Although the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW advocates replenishment of cut down forests and the protection of old growth forests, they also blame the rise of CO2 emissions on human activity.

As increased temperatures and reduced rainfall is expected in the next few decades in Australia, the world cannot look to us for assistance in reducing CO2 output.

Let’s hope that the dire predictions espoused by the Amazonian scientists do not come to pass.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Well since part of the blame seems to be laid at the door of our rampant consumer driven lifestyles, it would not hurt to follow the advice of the website www.simplesavings.com.au

You’ll find out how you can turn your back on rampant consumerism and save money to boot! Learn how to clean your house without spending a fortune on cleaning materials and how to make your own presents. The list of ways to save money is endless.

Mind you, I have hens and I’ve found that given the cost of their feed it would be definitely cheaper to buy my eggs. However, I share with Jerry Hall the belief that there is something magical about finding an egg in the hen house.  The excitement of finding a little warm brown egg nestling in the straw is a feeling that can’t be quantified. Also I like to feel that I have saved at least a few hens from a life of abject misery in a tiny cage.

I love making cakes and face creams but unfortunately for me I have mastered the art of making all the products more expensive than the shop bought ones. I suppose adding rose essential oil at $120 for 5 mls wouldn’t help! At least I take comfort from the fact that there are no preservatives or chemicals in the things I make myself.

But don’t do as I do… read Simple Savings and learn.

A book which would also open your eyes is ‘Affluenza’ by Clive Hamilton.

Join the movement against consumerism and save the planet – I really am scared of those fires in the Amazon!

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