15 August 2011


Every day is science day, and this is no exception. I love this article forwarded from my Chicago friend Bill ~ Do Trees Communicate? Why yes, Grasshopper, it appears that they do. Kevin Beiler "found that all trees in dry interior Douglas fir forests are interconnected, with the largest, oldest trees serving as hubs .... within the mycorrhizal network (see image above) .... survival of [younger] establishing trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked with the network of the older trees .... increased survival was associated with belowground transfer of carbon, water and nitrogen from the older trees."

This research provides one more link in the chain of evidence favoring protection of old-growth forests ~ all things are connected. "You cannot pick a flower without disturbing a star."

Thanks to Sheril Kirshenbaum for sharing this brief video, How Are Hubble Images "Created"? It's not about magic, it's about the blending of technical and artistic skills to show us things we would otherwise never have seen.

Finally, professor of population studies Paul Ehrlich warns that Scientists Must Leave the Ivory Tower and Become Advocates. He talks about the "urgent need for scientists to take their research results and use them to inform the public about the threat of global environmental collapse .... Calling ecology the most important science today, Ehrlich said that ecologists have a singular responsibility to get their work into the public eye .... To try to head off environmental collapse, he has joined with hundreds of other ecologists, social scientists and scholars in the humanities to start the Millenium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere in an effort to influence government policy and societal behavior.

Given that U.S. policy makers are mostly lawyers, with very few trained as scientists or engineers, this seems like a good first step. Nor does such formal effort relieve the rest of us from our responsibility as planet stewards. As with every significant social movement ~ civil rights, feminism, antiwar ~ two paths toward change are called for. The moderate path (The Nature Conservancy, Audubon), works within the system, promoting education and electing representatives who are enlightened and committed to reform. The radical path (Greenpeace, EarthFirst!) works outside the system, forcing nonviolent confrontation and employing selective direct action to bring public attention to the corporate miscreants who are despoiling the earth. Each path is justified, and each is most effective when both are active.

Gracias to Andrea Kuszewski for the article link.

No comments:

Post a Comment