Good News from the Niger! Green on a Simple Biped Scale

Tip of the hat to the NYT from Feb 11th, 2007 – want to read the article?
Loitering or saving their own lives?

Farmers in Niger are reported to have noticed a few decades ago that all of the trees had disappeared as more and more ground around villages was tilled. The increased tilling happened as the population increased dramatically.
With no encouragement or scientific assistance from the agencies who are “helping” poor countries with development issues, the farmers decided among themselves that the loss of trees might have something to do with the loss of fertility of the soil and the risk of desertification, so these poor subsistence farmers agreed among themselves to protect and nurture saplings in the middle of their crops. This meant extra work, plowing around the saplings, giving up some crop for the trees.

And it worked. The article in the Times reports:

In this dust-choked region, long seen as an increasingly barren wasteland decaying into desert, millions of trees are flourishing, thanks in part to poor farmers whose simple methods cost little or nothing at all.

Better conservation and improved rainfall have led to at least 7.4 million newly tree-covered acres in Niger, researchers have found, achieved largely without relying on the large-scale planting of trees or other expensive methods often advocated by African politicians and aid groups for halting desertification, the process by which soil loses its fertility.

Pretty encouraging. I think generally speaking, trees are good for the planet. Bipeds need oxygen and produce a lot of CO2, trees breathe in CO2, lock it up as timber and breathe out oxygen. Sweet deal and we get charged nothing by the trees for this essential service. It’s time that we look at trees and stop seeing timber and start seeing the lungs of the planet. Don’t be fooled by misleading presentation of issues like reflectivity of trees versus barren landscape, we bipeds live better in a treed landscape than a barren landscape. Just ask the agrarian scientists in Niger.

Exxon Mobil et. al. post Record Profits and Want to Buy Stories

Exxon Mobil are not my friendsThe oil industry is posting record profits again this year as the IPCC comes out with its
watered down, but still powerful
on global warming.

And what does the oil industry to help with the situation?

How about we pay folks to write stories to dispute the IPCC report? Let’s continue to cast doubt on the science and thereby delay action and changes in our lives that will reduce the impact of global warming. Let’s stir up political doubt and embark on wars of global domination to secure oil reserves that should not be burned any more.

It’s really quite amazing and irresponsible, but it’s business as usual for the ruling class. The surprising part is how many common folks serve the politics of the ruling class by being manipulated by wedge issues like abortion or gun control. At the root of the problem is a rather scary and dismal malthusian population issue and consumption of resources, conflict over wealth distribution, environmental degradation are symptomatic, not causative. A global vision is needed on the small blue planet today.

Blimey, the phone book is all soggy

Prompt, bold, decisive, heroic action is needed. The ruling class are not going to be leading the charge, talking about how many people the planet can sustain, how we can produce food and shelter for the bipeds already bipeding around on this small blue planet. They are very busy building gated communities and fighting the death tax. God bless them for their vision.

So, where do we start? How do we mitigate the environmental disaster that we have caused by burning fossil fuels?

Well, I think we have to start with truth. Defending it. Insisting on it. Working with it. Confront the lies and the liars. Engage with the folks that are working on solutions. Implement the solutions right where and when you are. Switch all of your bulbs to compact fluorescents immediately. Don’t drive if you can walk, bike, carpool, or take the bus. Stop mowing your lawn and start turning your little corner of the small blue planet into a yard/garden or yarden. Grow food and flowers around your home instead of indulging a petroleum-based putting green. Look for beauty, love and compassion around you at sneaker-speed instead of the posted vehicle speed limit or ten above.

I guess we have other options, but this is what they look like:

Are we there yet?