Monday, September 26, 2011

No Tomorrow

Recently I've been posting about the protest at Occupy Wall Street, because the injustice of the economic system at the heart of the revolt there is a significant cause of my main concern, which is ecosystem collapse.  The pillaging of wealth by a tiny but powerful segment is a related part of the converging catastrophes that loom ominously on the horizon...from climate change, peak oil and other resources, and exponentially growing overpopulation particularly.

There are many blogs, books and organizations that exist to educate the public about the limits to growth for industrial society - or perhaps I should say, the threats posed by industrial society to life itself.  And there are excellent thinkers who talk about the psychological and emotional burden that can be so difficult once people reluctantly become enlightened, and from whatever source, recognize the inherent unsustainability of human civilization as it has been expanding.  For me, it was realizing that trees are dying - leaves are falling off, branches are breaking, cankers are swelling, weeping holes are appearing, bark is splitting, root systems are rotting and whole trunks are toppling over at a rate not explained by any natural influence.

So for the most part I leave those other topics to writers far more qualified than I to expound upon, and do what I can to warn about the symtoms of tree decline.  Very few experts are alerting the public to this urgent existential threat, as profound as coral bleaching - which is the increasingly severe damage being done to vegetation around the world by rising levels of tropospheric ozone.  Ozone is the highly toxic air pollution resulting from precursors such as reactive Nitrogen that are emitted whenever fuel is burnt for energy.  It is invisible, but it is circulating in the lower atmosphere, poisoning through wet deposition and dry, the air, water and soil.

It has been known to science for decades that ozone is injurious to plants - and also is a cause of the epidemics of cancer, emphysema, asthma, allergies, diabetes, autism and Alzheimer's.  There are links to research in the pages listed at the top of the blog for anyone who wants corroboration. Instead of uploading pictures, I am experimenting with my videocamera (which I'm finally learning to operate).

This is my first humble attempt to document in a video the dramatic difference between leaves that have gone through an entire season of exposure and so are stippled, spotted, and withered - compared to newer foliage that hasn't yet been seriously impacted.  There is no other influence other than ozone that I know of that can account for the evidence...and there is no way to stop the destruction other than to stop burning fuel and switch to clean energy.  Which is why no one wants to talk about it, of course...but like any problem, there is no way to fix it without first acknowledging its existence.  And there is no way out of this conundrum.  The choice is stark.  Continue to consume energy like there's no tomorrow - or we will run out of food, and there will be no tomorrow.

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful camerawork. Very nice to hear commentary during the video. Nice

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  2. Great illustration of ozone damage and, potentially, some other pollutants, as well. I have noticed the same thing happening to some of my trees and others in Pennsylvania, especially the Horse Chestnuts, Walnuts and Elms. The Oaks and the Maples seem to be weathering it better, so far. The extreme drought we had in June - July also hit the moisture-loving trees (horse chestnut, walnut and elms) very hard this summer, even with extra watering.

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  3. Love the added sound and motion; hate what it shows; astounded that so many people are oblivious to what is happening.

    How much longer will it take? Thank you for all you do to sound the alarm, Wit's End!

    PS: I see that your Occupy Wall Street video is up to 15,410 views. Thank you, too, for helping to cover that story.

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