Imagine Two Different Futures

As conscious beings, humans have a unique power of imagination. From epic novels to ingenious inventions, the human mind can imagine amazing things. With elections around the corner, it’s time we put that imagination to use to envision the future we want for not only our country, but for our world.

So, let’s imagine two different futures – one with trees and one without. In the first, we have clean air and water, the concentration of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere is lower, flooding is less severe, wildlife have homes to live in, our countryside is an iconic beauty worthy of post cards, the tourism industry thrives and the planet is a better place for all.

In the second future, the earth is an uninhabitable wasteland where there’s no clean air or water, living beings have no support system and the earth continues to warm because one of the key carbon sequestration tools has been destroyed.

What future do you want to live in? It’s a pretty easy answer, isn’t it? And yet we continue on a path that is directing us toward the second future. Rather than protecting forests and leveraging trees as one of the most vital tools at our disposal in the fight against climate change, we continue to tear our forests down in the name of economic growth and consumption. It’s time to change our trajectory.

Imagine the future you want – not just for yourself but for all the living beings on this earth – and vote with that image in mind. Let’s protect our planet and our trees. Let’s show our support for clean air and water. Let’s build that future we all imagine. SOURCE

RELATED:

How you can be part of the global tree-planting effort
Forests and passion: a hero’s guide to resisting climate change
Why we’ve had enough of broken promises to protect forests

Environmentalists call for Carbon Capture and Storage – with forests

Amazonian rainforest
CC BY 2.0 Amazonian rainforest/ Lloyd Alter

Greta Thunberg, Margaret Atwood, Michael Mann, Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Bill McKibben, George Monbiot and more make the case.

We go on about wood here on TreeHugger, but often fail to see the forest for the trees. In fact, those forests could save us, by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere faster than we are making it. Instead, we are chopping them down and, in many parts of the world, failing to replant them. Every thing we say about the wonders of wood construction are meaningless if we don’t replace every tree we turn into CLT and NLT and DLT and every other form of wood we invent.

Writing in the Guardian, a long list of environmental luminaries, from Greta Thunberg to Brian Eno, have written an important letter calling for protecting and restoring ecosystems.

By defending, restoring and re-establishing forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds and other crucial ecosystems, large amounts of carbon can be removed from the air and stored. At the same time, the protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help minimise a sixth great extinction, while enhancing local people’s resilience against climate disaster. Defending the living world and defending the climate are, in many cases, one and the same. This potential has so far been largely overlooked.

The writers note that this can’t be a substitute for decarbonization of industrial economies, but note that “natural climate solutions could help us hold the heating of the planet below.”Drax carbon capture and storageDrax carbon capture and storage/ Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

MORE

Biodiversity is more than just the forests

Image result for forests biodiversity

Forest. Credit: © Pakhnyushchyy / Fotolia

TOO often when we talk about biodiversity, it evokes a notion of forest destruction or species extinction. To many, it is just about the environment. Little do we realise, however, that in fact biodiversity is the foundation for human health. It underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on which we depend for our food and fresh water. It contributes to local livelihoods, to traditional and modern medicines, and to economic development. It aids in regulating climate, floods and disease. It provides recreational benefits, and aesthetic and spiritual enrichment, supporting mental health.

The World Health Organisation offers an insightful analysis of the link between health and biodiversity, beginning with a definition of a healthy person as someone not simply free from illness but in a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing.

Knowledge of plant and animal diversity provides major benefits, including drugs. When we lose diversity, we limit our future discovery of potential treatments for our health problems. Traditional medicines are used by an estimated 60 per cent of the world’s people. And in some countries they are incorporated into the public health system extensively. Medicinal plants are the most common element of traditional medicine, collected from the wild or cultivated. MORE

GOLDSTEIN: How Canada is ‘faking it’ on climate change


The steel mills on the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has come up with a new way to meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris climate accord.

Except it doesn’t reduce emissions. It’s an accounting trick.

Since there’s no way we can meet our looming target for 2030 that Trudeau agreed to when he signed the 2015 Paris climate deal — lowering Canada’s emissions to 30% below 2005 levels — the Liberals have started moving the goalposts closer to the target.

But it has nothing to do with what we’ve been told is the real problem — industrial emissions from man-made activities when burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) for energy.

Canada’s emissions in 2016 were 704 megatonnes, the last year for which figures are available, while Trudeau’s commitment under the Paris deal for 2030 works out to 512 megatonnes annually, or 192 megatonnes less. MORE

John Horgan announces policy reforms to rebuild coastal forest sector

BC Premier John HorganPremier John Horgan says his government plans to rebuild the solid wood and secondary timber industries by ensuring more logs are processed in British Columbia.

Plans are in the works to rebuild the wood and secondary timber industries in British Columbia by ensuring more logs are processed in the province, said Premier John Horgan.

The forest sector revitalization plan will be done through incentives and regulation changes, he said in a speech at the annual Truck Loggers Convention on Thursday.

The policy changes include increasing penalties for late reporting of wood waste, and reducing the waste by redirecting it to pulp and paper mills.

The actions will reverse a systematic decline that has taken place in the coastal forest sector over the past two decades, he said, adding the plan will be implemented through a series of legislative, regulatory and policy changes over the next two years.

More timber can be processed here in B.C. and to accomplish that the government will reform raw log export policy, discourage high grading and curtail the export of minimally processed lumber, he said. MORE

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology

Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn't a Technology
A forest planted on an abandoned open-pit coal mine, Germany. Credit: Hans Blossey Getty Images 

So far, advocates and politicians have tended to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption through technology and/or policy, such as a steep carbon tax, as climate solutions. These proposals are, of course, essential to reducing manmade carbon emissions—71 percent of which are generated by just 100 fossil fuel companies. For this reason, fossil-fuel–related emissions reductions rightly figure heavily in the national climate commitments of the 181 nations that signed the global Paris Agreement.

Yet the international focus on fossil fuels has overshadowed the most powerful and cost-efficient carbon-capture technology the world has yet seen: forests. Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.

Forests’ power to store carbon dioxide through the simple process of tree growth is staggering: one tree can store an average of about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in one yearRecent research shows intact forests are capable of storing the equivalent of the carbon dioxide emissions of entire countries such as Peru and Colombia. MORE

To curb climate change, we have to suck carbon from the sky. But how?

Once considered a distraction, scientists now say using technology—and nature—to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is not only possible: It’s a must.

Radish cover crop traps nitrogen; mystery follows

The long radish root creates deep channels in the soil that can make it easier for subsequent  to reach water in the soil below.

At McCarty Family Farms, headquartered in sun-blasted northwest Kansas, fields rarely sit empty any more. In a drive to be more sustainable, the family dairy still grows corn, sorghum, and alfalfa, but now often sows the bare ground between harvests with wheat and daikon. The wheat gets fed to livestock. The radishes, with their penetrating roots, break up the hard-packed surface and then, instead of being harvested, are allowed to die and enrich the soil.

Like all plants, cereal grains and root vegetables feed on carbon dioxide. In 2017, according to a third-party auditplanting cover crops on land that once sat empty helped the McCarty farms in Kansas and Nebraska pull 6,922 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil across some 12,300 acres—as much as could have been stored by 7,300 acres of forest. Put another way: The farm soil had sucked up the emissions of more than 1,300 cars.

Moves like this are among a host of often overlooked steps that scientists now say are crucial to limiting the worst impacts of climate change. MORE