• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Brainstorming help requested!

 
Chad Sentman
Pie
Posts: 186
10
bee books chicken duck fish forest garden hugelkultur solar urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm thinking about taking on a new project, in which I want to illustrate the great lengths that we have to go to to survive, and live comfortably.

I'd like to compile a list of technologies and products that we have invented to perform functions that are no longer being properly performed due to the lack of trees in our culture and society, to show how these technologies and products have replaced, and can be replaced by trees and forests. For example, I recently read that trees change the ionisation of the air. I want to show how deforestation created a market gap which we then filled with unnecessary inventions, and to make the point that we could save so much money and effort by reintroducing trees in our landscapes.

To borrow from the collective mind, can you think of any function that trees/forests perform, or inventions/industries that would be made obsolete with the reintroduction of trees?

Please be as specific as you can, even species specific. Listing "air purification" is too vague, since trees can do this in various ways, like absorbing pollutants, trapping pollen, releasing oxygen and sequestering carbon, for example.

Other examples?

Thanks for your help!
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2310
77
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Noise walls.

There is nothing like a wall of trees to cut down the noise from the highway. But houses are built with their backs right up to the freeway, so a concrete block noise wall goes in.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Pie
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
173
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When the former mayor of Phoenix (where I live) put out an op-ed piece stating that he was pro-desalinization plants to help alleviate our water woes here in the SW and access "unlimited water", I countered with "or we could rehydrate our entire watershed with the help of earthworks (of various sizes) and tree planting. If done right, we could vastly improve how we handle our 7" of annual rain and in time, our seasonal river may even run year 'round again. And it would probably be more cost effective (water doesn't flow uphill and Phoenix is not near the ocean hence a lot of ENERGY would be needed to get the water to the desert) and instead of impacting the environment negatively, would have a net overall benefit.

This article was particularly useful to my argument. http://permaculture-and-sanity.com/pcarticles/trees-and-the-water-cycle.php.

When I queried him as to if he would have public input on this topic, he did wrote back to the affirmative and let me know he'd be pulling that together in the next couple of months.

So, in reference to your question, I would say that desalinization plants are an expensive "solution" that could be in whole or in part solved by planting climate-appropriate trees in conjunction with water harvesting earthworks.

Another example occurs to me as well and that is the whole "grey infrastructure" (sewer and stormwater infrastructure) v. "green infrastructure" (processing these through living systems, mainly trees, debate. http://watershedmg.org/green-streets/resources#webinar
 
Chad Sentman
Pie
Posts: 186
10
bee books chicken duck fish forest garden hugelkultur solar urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been compiling a list of functions that trees perform, and have also just started a list of technologies and products that perform the same function.

Let me know if anything can be added, if anything listed can be subdivided into separate and more specific points, let me know if I'm not quite right with any of these, and so on.

Forests:
Change the electrical charge of the air (ionization)
Capture atmospheric carbon
Release Oxygen
Remove pollen and dust from greater circulation
Store water
Filter water
Conserve water
Collect dew/Distill water from the atmosphere
Wind Break (prevents crop/landscape desiccation, removal of heat from buildings)
Wind Generation (thermosiphon effect)
Seed rain clouds
Add organic matter to soil (leaf litter, animal droppings)
Improve soil nutrition (Nitrogen-fixers, dynamic accumulators, animal droppings)
Improve soil structure (erosion control, aeration, humus build-up)
Improve soil health (phytoremediation, waste management/poop beast)
Provide food, forage, fuel, lumber, medicine...(anything else in terms of direct products from the forest?) etc.
Extreme climate buffering (shade makes it not too hot in summer, wind shelter makes it not too cold in winter)
Habitat for fertilizers and pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies, bats, etc.)
Integrated Pest Management (those birds and bats gotta eat)
Habitat for other food sources
Dyes, Soaps, and Fragrances

Miss anything? Anything need more elaboration?

The other list, not as complete:

Superfluous technologies and products (with the reintroduction of forests):
Air filtration
Air ionization
Air conditioning
Air humidifying
Water Desalinization
Water filtration (Bottling in plastic?)
Irrigation
Animal feed
Clear-cutting and open field agriculture
Tilling, plowing, etc.
Chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, etc.
Sewage and waste-water treatment
Cosmetics


Other thoughts?

My goal is to produce a series of short video clips, the target audience being people who often don't concern themselves with environmental issues (and perhaps are somewhat hostile toward them) and present an economical case, the script being something along the lines of:

"Each year we spend [X amount of dollars] and [Y amount of megaJoules] researching, manufacturing, and distributing [product] in order to [perform this function]. Do you know what else [performs that function]? Trees. Meanwhile, [X amount of dollars] could have paid for [extravagant frame of reference] and [Y amount of megaJoules] could have [achieved extraordinary feat]. But instead, we have {product]. Not quite the bargain you had hoped? You can't buy a better world, you can only build one. Contact your local nursery or arborist and START TODAY."

I want to make sure I've covered all my bases and gotten all my facts straight, which is why I'm asking for your help. If anyone has any other valuable links to share, or a go-to expert to confirm the science, I'd be much obliged to you. Also, to Paul Wheaton, I would like to invoke the 48-hour rule. I would appreciate your meticulous and methodical insight (which I imagine stems from your coding background). I know you're quite busy these days, and I'm in no rush, so please take your time and answer when it's most convenient, but I would like to hear from you on this.

Thanks to you all who've contributed or have yet to contribute.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Pie
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
173
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You may have covered this in your list - I can't quite tell.

The "nutrient mining" of trees roots that then bring these up to the surface to make them available for themselves and other plants that tend to grow with them in mature ecosystems in guilds. A modern product that would replace this would be any of the chem fertilizers/mineralizers.

Also, Chad, LOVE your ideas for the videos!!

Will ponder this more.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Pie
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
173
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK - so here's another one. We've paved over so much of our land, especially in drylands where trees are crucial but underappreciated, that we've dehydrated our landscapes and our rivers no longer run year 'round.

But developers want "waterfront property" and so we have a project like Tempe Town Lake. If we hadn't covered so much of our land in hard surfaces which doesn't slow and sink stormwater, IF we had more trees which are also part of the hydrology cycle - then we *might* just have a running river again and not have to resort to creating an artificial lake out of part of a dry riverbed. See a related thread on making the Salt River Run Again.

 
John Merrifield
Posts: 92
Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chad,
I like your idea. I didn't see Habitat for Wildlife or Habitat for livestock (pigs, goats, etc) on your list, unless they fall in under "other food sources".
Also, if you are trying to invoke the 48 rule then you will need to start a new thread under the "tinkering with this site" forum linking back to this thread.
John
 
Chad Sentman
Pie
Posts: 186
10
bee books chicken duck fish forest garden hugelkultur solar urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jennifer, I never got back to you but "Nutrient mining" is what I mean with "Dynamic Accumulators" in my list. Also, thanks so much for your links, I especially found the information about the two Hawaiian islands interesting. And of course, to see how things are being handled in your neck of the woods.

Also, John, you're right, I can differentiate that better. I think when I wrote that list, I had in mind edible wild animals like deer or squirrels, but of course, this can also easily be applied to domestic animals. I think chickens in particular would work well, but so would those you mentioned.

As to the 48 hour rule, I would like direct input from Paul, but he and I both have other things on our plates right now, and I'm considering other options to get that time with him. We'll see how things pan out.

As far as next steps:

1. completing the lists
2. prioritizing the items to start with the most compelling, most impact, easiest to research or implement, etc.
3. research each item, draft a script and start filming.

In addition to rounding out my lists, which still feel incomplete to me, it's a lot of research, which I seldom find time for. (Another reason why I appreciate the links, it's a kind of guided research.) For example, I spent a couple of days trying to find out how much money and energy is spent in water desalination, only to find no consistent unit of measure, and I expect it to be an even greater challenge to calculate just how much trees (like Mangroves, for example) could make a difference. If regions where Mangroves can grow were densely planted with them, how many gallons or liters of water could they convert? in what time frame? Perhaps I'm getting to caught up in the details, but I find increasing numbers of questions with answers that are increasingly difficult to find out.

For this reason, I'm thankful for every bit of help I can get, every extra pair of eyes, etc. who can lead me to solid information, expert opinion, or something similar.

Otherwise, I can just go with a blanket statement of "trees are good, and you are dumb if you don't have them" and I'll have to deal with critics and trolls afterward who (may or may not) know better than I do. But I would rather spare myself (and by extension, all of permaculture) the reputation of being uninformed for the sake of an entertaining, emotionally-driven video series.

 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Use trees to construct Ekman spirals which help it to rain!


Trees arnt so great a s sound insulation!!!


Fodder for livestock ,nb you could replace the feedlot industry with family owned farms fattening cows hogs etc on acorns
honey locust etc!!!
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic