W4W Weathering – The Big Resolve

With New Years rolling around, we might assess where we stand in this big world for 2012. With the New Year comes resolutions, and we get called in to do something that means something, maybe something for someone or something. This year, we might resolve to do something incredibly meaningful.

Resolve…. to better our little corner of space that we steward for the time we are here. The place we don’t really ‘own’ on this Earth, the place we are a temporary caretaker.

And how do we resolve this in reference to weather? In light of recent research and weather models, it is not too much a stretch to say ‘we’ are careless caretakers and have been for a very long time. I mean ‘we’ as generalized in the greater sense of ‘we’, the many, but not the all. Certainly not those readers in this forum. But we can do more, always meaningfully more.

The models predicting climate change are pretty frightening as of late. Changing weather patterning, a result of climate change, will transform about 40 percent of earth’s land surface into another entirely different ecological system. If we continue on the current path, we will be forced to weather the consequence.

The redistribution of many plant species is shifting because of climate change along with the changes in land use, both natural and man-made.

The insects and herbivores will likely accompany plant species redistribution, but not simultaneously if predictions and observations are correct.

Findings have shown that plants that range northward because of climate change may be better at defending themselves against local enemies than native plants. Some studies postulate that the newly invasive species will be winning the battle of survival against the native plants out of a simple reason of taste preference.

The invasive species will not appeal to the herbivores and insects which will choose native plants of which they are accustomed. The weed plants, having an unjust advantage, would then receive the reward of pollination without the ramification of being eaten. At least until their specific predator finds its way to the area. Studies presuppose that an arrival disparity of timing will occur.

To further complicate the issue, controlled research study found that while the insects still pollinated the native species, they also pollinated the weeds equally, producing a weed/native hybrid of seed. But the resulting plant was not as healthy and often did not live to full maturity. I am guessing in some case, certain hybrids would develop to be more robust, but have no benefit to the ecosystem. This is how ecosystems will transform and in a short time we will be weathering the outcome.

We are seeing these changes with insects moving into formally colder areas of the country. The success of exotic plants expanding their range in response to warmer climates will be an additional threat to biodiversity. And determining whether species can survive within a habitat seems to depend on the biodiversity of the ecological community in which it finds itself.

And does biodiversity matter? It increases ecosystem productivity, where even the smallest species has an important role to fill. Ecosystems can recover from disaster when there are more players in the pool. More plant species equals a greater variety of crops, and greater species diversity equals a better and larger workforce to ensure a sustainability for the life within the ecosystem.

The ecosystem is a working system offering services that are free to us and we often abuse or take for them for granted. The system protect the water, form the soil, recycle nutrients, absorb pollution, clean the air (think trees) and help keep the climate stable and comfortable. And that is just a portion of nature’s free miracles.

So what’s next?

Studies have modeled the effects of climate change on flowering plants and their respective pollinators to see where this may lead. It has been known for a long time that climate change alters the timing of when plants flower and when their pollinating insects emerge. But a more recent development finds that the earlier warming soils cause dormant seeds to change their hormonal sensitivity to plant hormones. Knowledge of these processes will help scientists to predict the impact that future climate change will have on native plants and the invasives that compete.

What studies have found and what is being noticed in temperate climates, is that blossoming and emergence are occurring even earlier in some areas as a result of the warming trend associated with climate change.

The term for these species that rely on each other for survival within an ecosystem is being called ‘mutualists’. What is now being investigated is if climate change may be causing the mutualists to be active at differing times. It is not too hard to see where this may lead. It could lead to the extinction of both if their innate process of evolution cannot keep pace with that of the recent rapidity of change. Scientists are looking now to see if evolution itself can lessen the inimical effect of the off-timing for the mutualist pairings.

Research has found that evolution, in limited cases, may be able to save the plants that would otherwise become extinct, but that their survival would then be dependent on the density and distribution of alternative pollinators within their ecosystem. So here again is a reason biodiversity is important. But is biodiversity getting a ‘helping’ hand with species that are new to an already functioning and successful ecosystem? If the climate changes in a domino effect to the system, then what?

Mutualists are likely to be especially sensitive to rapid climate change, according to the study, and pairings could be broken. I cannot download the full paper but if you have society membership or are an educator, you can get it here. Some of the excerpts were reported in Science Daily.

“In such cases, habitat fragmentation or loss of native pollinators might compound the threat of climate change to mutualisms,” said Tucker Gilman, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the paper’s lead author.

“The results are troubling because anthropogenic (or human caused) climate change is thought to be happening up to ten times faster than any natural climate change in the past 500,000 years,” Gilman said. “This means that mutualisms that have survived past climate change events may still be vulnerable to anthropogenic climate change.” source.

But the problems are much bigger than the plant and insect life on the move. The redistribution of plants are but a symptom, a way to recognize the bigger problems, and an opportunistic result of climate change for some species, but a death sentence to others.

We are displacing ecosystems and responsible for increasing habitat loss, among a host of other problems affecting this delicate issue, like clean air and potable water for example. It really has hit a critical time where the people of this world really need to assess their circumstance and understand what is likely if they continue to ignore the predictions or doubt their validity.

The chart below illustrates why everybody should care. I personally live in a red zone where it is 100 percent likely my area will convert to a whole new ecological type. I will be gone before 2100, but that does not mean I am blameless or should not want this path reversed. Here is a downloadable pdf  link to the full paper explaining the issue called:

Ecological sensitivity: a biospheric view of climate change by Jon C. Bergengren · Duane E. Waliser · Yuk L. Yung.

In the light of recent news headlines out of NASA, they are predicting by 2100 that plant communities will be modified to the extent of converting nearly 40% of land based ecosystems from one ecological type to another, meaning forests could be converted as well as grasslands and tundras to something else. Climate change is really upon us and is not a farce.

Alive

“The model projections paint a portrait of increasing ecological change and stress in Earth’s biosphere, with many plant and animal species facing increasing competition for survival, as well as significant species turnover, as some species invade areas occupied by other species. Most of Earth’s land that is not covered by ice or desert is projected to undergo at least a 30 percent change in plant cover — changes that will require humans and animals to adapt and often relocate.”

Dead

“In addition to altering plant communities, the study predicts climate change will disrupt the ecological balance between interdependent and often endangered plant and animal species, reduce biodiversity and adversely affect Earth’s water, energy, carbon and other element cycles.”  This information was researched from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and reported by Science Daily.

The article goes on to say, “The U.N. report’s climate simulations predict a warmer and wetter Earth, with global temperature increases of 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 degrees Celsius) by 2100, about the same warming that occurred following the Last Glacial Maximum almost 20,000 years ago, except about 100 times faster. Under the scenario, some regions become wetter because of enhanced evaporation, while others become drier due to changes in atmospheric circulation.”

I think what they are not sufficiently reporting is what a change of only a degree or two actually means for life as we know it. Recent studies show that a one degree rise separates us from a point of no return where the threat of climate change becomes irreversible. So what does this mean?

“A one-degree global change is significant because it takes a vast amount of heat to warm all the oceans, atmosphere, and land by that much. In the past, a one- to two-degree drop was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Little Ice Age.

River basin affected by the Little Ice Age

A five-degree drop was enough to bury a large part of North America under a towering mass of ice 20,000 years ago.” as reported by NASA Earth Observatory.

This area, the Niagara Escarpment, was covered with a sheet of ice around 1.8 miles thick of the Wisconsin Glacier 23,000 – 12,000 years ago. So are we headed that way again or the other direction being baked into oblivion?

Actually, what is predicted for our area is to undergo the great degree of species turnover. And where do the displaced and replaced go?

A frightening possibility of 7.2 degrees of change would put an end to us as a species, as indicated by other reports and models.

Clean, fresh, free water.

Ultimately, we must realize that our place is a habitat within, not a community beyond the shared ecosystem. That, or we will be driven out by changing weather and NASA will be on the lookout for a new place to put us. Maybe NASA can get funding to research sending us off into space. But I would question that too if it is anything like what happens in the movies. See my post Happy Monday from Pandora. That poor planet did not need us showing up.

The next post in this series is entitled, “I Wish It Mattered”.  It talks about the current approach and is illustrated by a strong statement from one expert. It is a look at things we do to ‘help’ the environment and realistically accessing their impact.

The following post will look at “Sustainability” and how it was considered very early in the 1900’s and where we are today. What ideas were good and those that were not implemented to plan when it was feasibly possible to do so. It is a look at how we are weathering decisions previously made and how some might be choices made for the immediate future if we revisit our past.

If you have a take on Weathering, join in.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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43 Responses to W4W Weathering – The Big Resolve

  1. helensadornmentsblog says:

    I really love the depth that you discussed this topic. My children are much more environmentally aware than my generation and that is a hopeful sign.

    • I am counting on the younger generation to find solutions. I think too many are not looking at this as a possible imminent problem that affects us all. I was in college in the nineties and it was pretty well discussed then, but it waned over the last twenty years and that is what the next post I wrote is about. It explores the word ‘futile’ as said by one expert.

  2. GirlSprout says:

    Very evocative post. It’s chilling what could happen if we’re not careful and is already happening.

    I might link up later in the week if I get my post together.

    • I know when I read the full paper, I felt alarmed, especially when I saw what zone I am in. I was ready to pack up and move back to PA. I felt very strongly that last year was a great indicator that things are changing fast. We were too wet to plant many crops, then it turned bone dry over night and lasted over a month without rain. Had we not had surplus early, we would have experienced much tree loss.

  3. jakesprinter says:

    I Love it all Great entry and Photos in one 🙂

  4. andrea says:

    Hi Donna, this post should invoke some still dormant awareness for most people, or they should be scared. Our recent experience in the country, which is flood devastation, loss of lives and properties through the effect of climate change coupled with human irresponsibility is a very recent example of what you have been discussing. Aerial photos show massive devastation.

    Regarding weathering, in our Soils Science classes we were taught to delineate weathering from erosion, as weathering is the changes in rocks, minerals (etc) through time without movement. It includes physical, chemical and biological weathering while the rocks are exposed to a lot of elements in nature. I love to make a post about this, i think i have some rock formations weathered through time, however i forgot my external hard disc at home and all my photos are there.

    • I have been seeing the devastation in your area on TV. There is no doubt I believe that it is a glimpse of things to come. You are correct on weathering of surfaces. That was what my post was going to be on, the weathering of materials and the resulting patinas. A happy, informative post. How to use weathering to your advantage, and to plan for the effects of weathering to have structures last. Erosion is caused by weather in a present situation, not over time like in the weathering of rocks. Time is the determining factor how a surface is affected. But there is no denying that weather changes landscapes. It repositions things even as large and heavy as boulders too. How about those islands that keep popping up out of the ocean? Is it weather related or just natural ebbing of tides?

  5. You know my position…so many people just want to bury their heads in the sand and not deal with this because we may disrupt our way of life…great to see the discussion still going…if we need any proof just look at the weather this past yr…extreme storms/weather too often…you know something is amiss…

    • It is funny you used the ‘head in the sand’ analogy because my next post deals with this and uses the phrase a few time. These posts were written last week when these studies first became public and I really had a strong reaction to the findings and found myself reading and looking for more and more. What I found really was eye opening, especially the next post on I Wish It Mattered. The post on Sustainability, I have experience with this topic as my thesis was on this issue and designing sustainable architecture and cities. And to design, you must be very familiar with all the associated sustainable possibilities. I know your interest in this and it is good to have people, especially writers, exploring this topic.

  6. One says:

    Donna, Your photos are exceptional today. I especially like the Alive and Dead and also the one of the bulb in the snow.

    Gotto to run now.

  7. b-a-g says:

    Donna – You’ve outdone yourself again. Brilliant, thought-provoking post!
    (Sorry for my rather trivial interpretation of the word Weathering.)
    Your post left me wondering if there is anything that I personally can do as a gardener. Plants that may have been native to the UK in the past, may not be what’s required now to balance a changing ecosystem. On the other hand, non-native dandelions are here to stay whether I like it or not. Does what I do in my suburban garden matter? … as it is nowhere near fields or countryside. Looking forward to reading your next post.

    • I enjoyed your post. There is nothing trivial about it. There are so many ways to approach weathering and I switched midstream just because I was so infuriated by what I was reading happening from the summit. I get most amused by those saying climate warming is not occurring yet I swear the last few years has shown what is coming. Even as a laymen, I feel I can see change. I believe that there is nothing we can do to control non-native or even invasive species. It just makes us feel good to try I think, like my post on the boy scouts removing Buckthorn at the Niagara Gorge. Just not going to happen at the rate it reseeds. And climatic conditions will re-vegetate areas with species to replace native plants because the warmer conditions will not be conducive to the natives or their pollinators. So how do you combat that. What I read was the Ecologists are working to UNDERSTAND it. Fine, get a handle on why it occurs, but what are they going to do about it with that knowledge is the question. The process needs to be reversed and that can not happen in isolated individual studies. Reversing the warming trend is paramount from the perspective of human cause. Natural cause is something out of our control I am guessing.

  8. Donna, once again you have made me stop and think on a deeper level. My Father’s generation were of the mind that said “It’s not going to be my problem”, and it always bugged me a bit when he said it. But the reality is, am I any different really? Yes I care and yes I am careful, but do I REALLY do enough? I am looking forward to your next post!!

    • Christine, I too was a product of that generation as well. And guess what, they are not here to see it. Both my parents are gone and my dad went at 62. I do believe that generation needed to step up.

  9. Awesome work.. I’ve recently posted some pics and when i see then now after I’ve seen your pics , my pics just look childish..:) awesome work ma’am!

  10. John says:

    I’m always so saddened and amazed that this issue gets turned into a political rodeo instead of a simple facts based problem and logical debate of solutions. The NASA map predicting ecological change didn’t divide by red and blue states, it’s a problem for everyone. Here in Eastern North Dakota we have no snow (and we’re almost in January) and have set record high temps a few times over the last week. And though I know you can’t misinterpret weather for climate, this type of extreme and unusual weather could quickly become the norm.

    The strange thing is that I have no kids and never will have kids, so by all rights I shouldn’t give a hoot about this problem. By the time the significant issues happen in 2100, I’ll be long dead. It boggles my mind that there are people out there raising the next generation, the generation that will have to cope with all of these problems, that care less than I do, a person with no vested interest in the future.

    • I feel like you. I have no kids either and feel I made a contribution in that regard. But the problem is there are so many concessions that need to be made and the only way it will happen is not because we do it out of the goodness of our hearts, but that we will be made to do it. War, policy, regulations, whatever. Somehow it will happen and nobody is going to be happy about it anywhere I am guessing. If the next war is over water and not oil, survival will be the ultimate motivator. And surly there will be a great cost of life.

  11. Laurrie says:

    Interesting — and complex. A highly invasive species (humans) has altered every system it has colonized, mostly beyond recognition, and the effects continue to cascade. Great post.

    • Yes we are the most invasive species by far and we just keep multiplying. You have to wonder what it will be in the future. Some predictions say there will be many less of us because we exceeded our ability to feed the world’s people. But what about other resources like water,and of course OIL. As I write this the world population clock said this many people are here at this very moment. 6,934,998,501

  12. Can we weather the storm? I heard several well-respected environmental organizations say that they wished the US delegation to the recent climate change summit in South Africa would just pack up and go home. The delegation was obstructionist and treated the summit like a trade negotiation where not sacrificing anything in the US economy was paramount. What do we expect in a country that measures its success by housing starts and spending on consumer goods. We won’t accept even the smallest change to our economic well being, and without huge changes in the United States there is no hope. In a recent movie preview, I heard someone ask, “How can you live so large and leave so little for the rest of us?” It really hit home.

    • I did read what you are talking about how the US ran into opposition. Does it not surprise you? We are so comfortable compared to those elsewhere that the status quo cannot be upset. As I said to Diana, it is our humorous way of thinking here to ‘shop our way out of this dilemma’. I really believe had the world pursued sustainable living years ago, or living within what an area can support, that things would be different to a point. But we still have the ‘super-sized elephant in the room’ (I meant that pun too) with how many of us inhabit this planet and it grows exponentially each year almost. Now who is going to address or regulate that! I have no kids by choice, so I feel I bettered my contribution in that arena.

  13. This reminds me of an earlier post you wrote on water. One of our holiday resorts, Ballito near Durban, under the influx of Christmas visitors, literally ran out of water. They had water rationing. Can’t just ‘ignore’ that.
    Did you see this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko3e6G_7GY4#t=25s from COP17?

    • Thank you Diana for the link. I agree wholeheartedly with her position and that of the rest of the world. My next post somewhat takes that position and the halfhearted attempts to address this issue by ‘shopping our way out of this mess’. What we in this part of the world are doing to clean up the environment is laughable and deeply seated in appeasing the public and corporations, making profits and NOT addressing the issues. It should not be about what we will do in the future, it is what we NEED to do now. I think the problem is that we seem to be doing nothing yet saying we are doing much. Just like so much in life, there are those that talk and talk, but do nothing. The right people need to speak/act and get others motivated into just doing. I know that sounds cryptic, but it will take a real leader to unite and govern and regulate us back to a reasonable reality.

      I have been following the summit by reading what those speaking and those writing are saying. It is the voice of the young that will push for a solution, just as in the sixties and early seventies when they pushed for policy change, like the Clean Air Act. But it slowly just faded into the background until it becomes evident that it will be too late. I joked about sending us off into space, but some of us might want to buy a ticket soon. I feel so strongly on this issue and studied this part of Architecture in college, but do you think there was a job to be found? I was hired by a firm while I was still an undergraduate and very quickly saw no personal future pursuing this type of design. What we do now is only because we are required to by law in regards to energy conservation. Money controls final product, so if it is within a budget it is OK. Well, I have to get off this part of the subject because my blog is not to conflict with my profession, but we really do need the voice of the young to step to the plate and force a consensus to act.

  14. Dear Donna, An important and thought-provoking posting. Since I retired, I rarely read weighty reports, so I really appreciate your summary of this one. It does make me feel rather helpless, but being aware and understanding a problem are necessary in order to find a solution, or at the very least a plan of action. I look forward to reading more. Oh, and I must say your brilliant photography perfectly illustrates your text. P. x

    • It took a lot of jumping around to tie this post together. And if you noticed, not a lot was said that has not been addressed before somewhere. Much is a rehash of what has been known for awhile. The numerical assumptions are new, but I am sure in time this will change too. Part of the reason is all the studies are done with specifics on funding which keeps findings pretty exclusionary I believe. The studies are done in a vacuum of sorts then they get discussed at places like summits. In my next post, I have a link to summits on just about every conceivable environmental topic. Even ones to benefit industry, commerce and the biggie, oil. It is good to bring these groups to the table, but not make it easy for them to lessen restrictions and make new regulations lax and profitable.

  15. Jess says:

    I enjoyed this. Of course, I try and be as green as possible, but I admit I’m not yet sold on the idea that humankind can have that much effect one way or another on massive climate change… there are reasons that dinosaurs no longer walk the Earth, and clearly we have evidence of climate change causing massive extinctions… and suddenly. I think at some point in humankind’s existence, whether it be 100 years from now or 10000, we are going to face the reality that the climate of the earth hasn’t always supported current inhabitants, and might not always support us, and someone will be digging out our fossils many years from now! I definitely think we might as well do as much as possible to negate our own effects on the planet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we realize that we aren’t the primary contributing cause.

    • Many experts agree that this is a problem both man-made and natural. I subscribe to that hypothesis too. It is unlikely we can change a natural course of things, but there is evidence to the fact it is occurring at a record rate. The earth and environment can only be so self-correcting unless its course of action takes a drastic turn. This gets into theology and/or fate. Basically beliefs that things either happen by accident or natural design. I don’t believe it is by accident, or predetermined design. Both take the responsibility off of us and place it at a higher or arbitrary level. I look to science and hopefully they give accurate and proven information. But, so much of this is theoretical or based on numerical assumption. So it is difficult to really formulate opinion. But I still believe we need to act, and pretty much immediately. Too much has changed over the years to ignore.

  16. Nice take on weathering! It is all rather depressing to think about but obviously something that can’t be ignored. I certainly try to do my part on a personal level and also educate my own children and others through my role as a Master Gardener. I think it is everyone’s responsibility to be a good steward to the environment but unfortunately, I think many of the climate changes will continue regardless of our efforts. (Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer in my comments!)

    • It is depressing. But maybe it will get people spurred into action. My next post is on the personal part we play and the gestures we make to help. Is it too little too late? Does helping at the individual level accomplish much? What are companies doing and passing off as green? And is green just another buzz word to make us all feel like we contribute? Too many questions and with no definitive answers. I believe as you say it will continue. There is little evidence to support that plants will not continue to expand their range or do they have anyway that I read to address this either. But without major concessions on our parts and policy to fuel it, there will be no stopping any of it anyway.

  17. Emily Heath says:

    As part of my job I go to quite a lot of talks by academics and scientists on climate change. They seem pessimistic to me about our chances of being able to avert serious climate change. The global temperature increases of 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 4 degrees Celsius) that you mention are global averages across both land and sea – as sea is cooler, the average temperature increase above land mass will actually be much higher. This will decrease the yield of major food crops such as rice and increase the chances of severe and unpredictable weather.

    Meanwhile politicians work short-term. Their priorities are usually to remain in the position of having a job, and to do that they need to please voters. The main issue that voters are worried about is the economy, because voters don’t tend to think long-term either. So things that might make a difference now, like incentivising public transport and raising petrol prices, don’t get done. The trouble with doing small things like switching to energy saving lightbulbs is that, when it comes to emissions, every little small thing adds up to… a small thing, a small reduction. If we’re really going to cut emissions to the levels we need to, we need to really start changing behaviours on a large-scale in a way that unfortunately will at times be inconvenient, for example driving and flying far less or not at all.

    • Emily, thank you for your informed input. You touched on many of the points of my next post, like the small things we do and think they add up to meaningful benefit. We may have been listening to the same speakers. The one I am quoting in my next post is a former UK Environment Journalist of the Year, now living in New York. While I do not subscribe to his politics, I do very much think his hard talking realities are what we need.

      I feel exactly like you on the direction of politicians from all parties. It is a job that they are working to keep from the moment they ascend to office and not much more. They appease and reward corporations and industry to keep the reelection dollars growing. There are very, very few with very ‘good’ intent and with enough gumption to go to action without thinking how it will effect reelection. And the voters are very self oriented, looking at what helps them and their families and not much more. This egocentric existence for all is a real downfall to the collective well being to the bigger picture.

      I should have mentioned the mean temperature in the post, but thought most would have understood the vast difference between land and ocean temperatures and how that is responsible for the more volatile weather and shifting patterns. It is reported frequently. The Gulf Stream is an example with the movement it has experienced over the last few years and made the weather people and scientists work harder at analyzing for predictions.

      As per car usage, I agree on that. If we would have actively pursued sustainable communities (big scale) when it was more easily attained, cars would have been less of a problem. They are too ingrained in our culture now and like much of current technology dependence, will be impossible to extricate from our lifestyle without being regulated to do so.

      Working and living in the same place reduces emissions but increases the use of technological conveniences. I live and work out of my home mainly because my job allows for this. I live in a city and walk to many places I need to go. But in the time I have lived here, many services closed and if I need something from a department store now, I have to travel. Same with butchers, entertainment and other like commodities and services. In a sustainable community, much of what is needed can be gotten to by walking or public mass transportation. Cities declined and people made the decision to leave them. Jobs left. That is another area that needs to be seriously addressed. I believe that people will return to cities because of rising costs, but what they would be returning to needs extreme help. Many cities are not nice places to live due to crime, lack of employment opportunity, inferior social atmosphere and infrastructure decline. But, they have the potential and possible need to return to glory. Perceptions need to be altered and that is another thing not easily changed with so much supporting the sorry state of urban affairs. The big think tanks need to be redirecting efforts I fear. Too much prediction and not enough active and attainable solution. This reply is longer than my post!

      • Emily Heath says:

        That is sad that you don’t have many shops within walking distance. I am quite lucky living in London as most of what I need can be easily purchased nearby. I think integrating nature within cities is important, for instance lots of parks and gardens, so that people have somewhere to go to relax and a local environment they can take pride in. Look forward to your next posts!

  18. nhgarden says:

    Thank you for an amazing, informative post.

  19. Donna, I knew that you and I agreed on this topic, but I didn’t know how strongly you felt and how our thinking runs along many of the same lines. Politicians and corporations and even global summits are not going to solve the problem. We the consumers who allocate and spend the money can control the problem and already have the means to do it. Although I think it is still important for each of us to change light bulbs, drive fuel efficient cars, etc., our major tool is our spending and voting power. We need to cut back and carefully choose what we buy and whom we vote for to support environmental change. If our money does not go towards practices that are degrading the environment, then they will stop because they won’t be economically viable. Unfortunately this would mean a change of lifestyle that most perceive as unfavorable, so it hasn’t occurred. Carolyn

    • I really should have had the second post uploaded. 😀 So much of what I wrote and researched is being discussed in the comments, even probably the individual I am quoting. You now have hit a couple more points. The main contention is that we lost the activists that bring about policy change and are now pacified by industries and manufacturers pumping out ‘green’ products and processes. I just saw a commercial, and we all know how honest they are, saying how their new plastic garbage bags will save clouds full of additional bags. This is what I find humorous. Fine, they are making a stronger bag, but it is still plastic and it still goes to landfills. And landfills that maybe clear across the country or even overseas. Someone has to be accountable for the products they that produce and where they end up. I guess if it is about economics it will never change.

  20. Tuincoach says:

    Your text is alarming and to be taken at heart. Your photos are gorgeous as allways.
    Thanks for sharing your talent with our world!
    Our Dutch queen spoke in her Christmas speech also about caring for our planet. I am thrilled to contribute to the environment with natural Feng Shui gardens. I also recommend my friend’s website http://www.KleanWordwide.nl. He advocates that we clean up the ‘plastic soup’ that spoils our daily living, our food and our future. Join hands and create beauty from within ourselves!
    Warm regards and wishing you lots of love in 2012, Mariëtte Verlaan

  21. KL says:

    I am so glad to find a like-minded person like you. I am into science and research and I know and understand, from first hand experience by talking to my scientists colleagues who are doing research in this field, that the world is going for a disaster if each and every one of us do not wake up about how we are destroying the environment; how we are affecting the climate. Many people are refusing to believe in climate change because scientists by mistake coined the term “global warming” and people are finding that the winter is still coming and it is still snowing; but they are not understanding that “global warming” means drastic change in climate – it will become colder in other places, hotter in some other places and etc. National Geographic’s “Six Degrees could change the world” is a good documentary to watch. There are many such documentaries and I hope people will get some message from these documentaries. But, time is still not lost. If we all rise up – start demanding organic food, start planting native plants and berries, stop using SUVs unless absolutely required, start using energy saving bulbs and gadgets, stop wasting and use as required – we will be able to make much statements and help in reversing the climate change.

  22. lula says:

    Sorry for the late comment, but i just want to say that yes, it definitely matter and everyday all these news are making me feel so bad, that sometimes I feel battling is useless. But it is not, and it needs all our efforts to continue. thank you for your passionate post. Lula

  23. So sad. I would like to think that the work that I, you, and others put into making a difference and educating others makes an imprint on the problem. The truth is change can only occur when people are forced to change, and sometimes that may be too late. Nature has been something to which I have been innately drawn for most of my life. It is easy for me to care. Sometimes I think nature is just not important…does not awe and inspire others..as it does some of us. And even then, that is not the point…it is our mother from whom everything comes…we should care, all of us.

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