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On the effects of carbon farming, global warming and rainforests destruction

 
Bryant RedHawk
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What we need is more focus on the facts of global warming, the effects that the rapid, massive deforestation in the tropical and temperate rain forests are now being felt, but this doesn't stop the advance of those who seek to profit from the trees that are left.
There is a group of "Scientist" that still seem to think that global warming is either not real or that it will have limited effects on certain parts of planet earth.
Then you have the group of "Scientist" that are gloom and doom, the end of world is here and we caused it all.

Unfortunately neither of these groups seem to grasp the full meaning of this fifth shaking of the earth.
It could be that they do have a grasp but have decided to punt by shouting their own agenda items as loudly as possible and confusing the vast majority of people of what is happening and the effects that are to come.
What is being called Global Warming, is indeed a natural, regularly occurring (in the existence of planet earth time) atmospheric event.
This "time" is not what we think of as time, for most people it is hard enough to grasp "a Life time" (today this is around 80 years on average) the "time" I am talking about is measured in eons.

For Perspective:

The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report considered the timing and areas affected by the LIA suggested largely independent regional climate changes, rather than a globally synchronous increased glaciation.
At most there was modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during the period. (As opposed to what happens in a true Ice Age)

Whether or not you subscribe to either of the notions being put forth about global warming, there are several things that can be determined by simple local observations.
1. Your seasonal temperatures (at your location) are not behaving as they did over the past 10-20-30 or more years.
(In the past you knew when to plant each type of crop but now you aren't as sure, spring comes and then there is a late cold snap or extra rains or no rains)
2. In Areas that were previously prone to periods of draught, these periods are extended in length of duration and temperatures are climbing.
(it is hotter and dryer than anyone alive can remember)
3. When rain does come, it is a) heavier, b) longer lasting, c) you experience hail when you almost never saw it before. All of these are happening, they are partly caused by the extra heat melting sea ice which then cools the oceans which are one of our weather tempering devices.
4. Rains come from directions that were previously unheard of for the most part.
(this is caused by the temperature fluctuations that direct wind flow patterns, which direct cloud formation, which determines where it rains and how hard it rains and for how long it rains)

When you take the time to really observe, then make good notes on all the variables, then graph this collected data, you begin to see new patterns that are sometimes vastly different than what recent history shows as "normal".

While where you live may not seem so different (to you) a close inspection of historical data will most likely show differences. Our earth mother likes to take her time both in changing and in showing we puny humans those changes and how permanent they are or might be.
Global Warming is not something a person living in a 100 or 200 square mile area might notice as heading towards catastrophe, but then humans are prone to being blind sided by mother earth.
The polar Ice Caps contain almost half of the fresh water on this planet. The Ancient times occurred when the oceanic levels were about 300 feet lower than they are now, ruins discovered at the bottom of seas, show this is a fact.
In the "little ice age" many people starved to death because crops would start to grow then a long cold snap would come and kill the plants resulting in no food to eat. Some years were good for growing, some years were devastating for growing.
Currently the ice caps are feeling the encroaching heat, the melting of sea ice, where it used to not ever melt in summer, is one indicator that should not be ignored or cast to the side as "just an anomaly".
The last ice age, and the ones before it were kick started by the shut down of the Gulf Stream ocean current.
Today the flow rate of the Gulf Stream is slowing down at a measureable rate, this is a "Not Good" indicator that we are heading into a time of changes we can only imagine the effects upon our mother earth and so upon us.
The issue is not "who caused this", one of the issues is how will we adjust, another is can we do something to stop the causes or even reverse the causes.

We know that the CO2 levels in our atmosphere are rising and have been rising since the invention and wide spread use of the internal combustion engine, this is easily measured.
Prior to the coming of the internal combustion engine, cow, swine and horse farts were probably the large pollution factors, along with the resultant quantities of poo (but that is fertilizer so can be discounted).
Today one of our biggest errors (race wise (we are the human race)) is the destruction of the Rainforests, this one thing accounts for almost all of the free CO2 that is going into the atmosphere today, before the trees could capture all the CO2 humans created and put it back into the earth's soils.
Now, with more than 3/4 of the Rainforests gone, we don't have enough trees to capture much of the CO2 we put into the air, there is no huge canopy to suck up the heat of the sun and redirect it, so it bounces off the barren forest floor and back into the atmosphere, where it is trapped by the high CO2 content of the upper atmosphere.

Every thing about our earth mother is dependent upon every other thing, screw up one thing and the ripple effect will be felt through out the world we know.
Carbon Farming, is one method we can help our earth mother, it is part and parcel of the ideas that are permaculture.
Hugel mounds are a direct method of putting Carbon back into the soil, one of many ways. The more techniques for getting the excess CO2 back into the soil we can use, the better our current situation can become. Do nothing and nothing can or will change for the better.
Making compost, using mulches from plant materials are other methods of putting carbon back, but the overall best method is to plant and grow hardwood trees (just like the rainforests do it).

While there is a movement going on to sequester carbon back into the soil, it will take at least most people on earth participating to make a large enough difference to be measureable at the scale of planet earth.
Planting trees and practicing the methods of carbon farming is a good start, we just need literally everyone to join the few of us doing it now.

Below are some thoughts I posted in another thread.
It gives some perspective to this entire situation.

Since 1950, the U.N. FAO has documented that Latin America has destroyed 37% of their rain forest, Central America has destroyed 66% of their rain forest, Southeast Asia 38% and Central Africa 52% In North America, a similar loss of old growth temperate rain forest has been documented.

If you average out the loss of carbon sequestering rain forest alone there is virtually no way to recover in less than 30 years simply because trees take time to grow large enough to take in enough CO2 to make a difference.

One acre of rain forest can sequester 10% of its volume in carbon per day, One entire rainforest region can sequester 10% of all the CO2 created and released by humans per day.
We loose enough rainforest every day to sequester 100,000 automobiles emissions of CO2.
By the year 2090 there will be at least 16 billion humans on planet earth.

At the current forest destruction rate, by 2110 humans might not be on planet earth because of the increase in temperature along with the rise of ocean levels and large wild animal habitat loss.
All these things together could create the destruction of mankind along with most of the other inhabitants of earth.

People being active in planting "carbon  farms" is a very real necessity but the News Media and even the scientific community do not put enough emphasis on this dire need.
The problem is, the News people don't think it is important enough to always be "News Worthy", while at the same time the scientific community can't come to a consensus of the long term effects and how to counteract the issue.
That lack of "keeping it in front of the people" means that the building of carbon farming is going slower than what would be needed to actually create a reverse in global warming.
Especially when you account for the 20 million hectares that will be cleared today and every other day forward.

At that rate, it is impossible to use all the current methods to sequester back into the soil enough carbon that global warming would even slow down the tiniest bit.
Indeed the rate of destruction would have to terminate today for us to be able to make a dent in the next 20 years.
This would change if the Media would treat this issue like they do a U.S. Presidential election year. 

Since it seems to be the nature of humans to do what ever it takes to put money into pockets so it can be spent, it is up to us to curb this greed desire.
Nothing will change, if we don't reduce the quantities of free carbon dioxide rushing to the outer reaches of the earth mothers atmosphere and creating even more global warming.

There is hope and we have methods that will help, but unless the News Media and all special interest groups start a relentless push to stop the madness of clearing trees for lumber and useless farm lands.
(useless because the soil depletes in two years and so they clear even more rainforest to plant and this idiotic lunacy continues on and on and on, until there will be no rainforest left. When all the rainforest is gone most life now on planet earth will also be gone).
Along with weather patterns that will be totally unpredictable and vary month by month so much that no yearly pattern will be predictable, making it harder and harder to know when to plant for good yields of crops.

While Strip Inter-farming will help (a miniscule amount), it would take a massive, multi-country reforestation effort to actually make enough difference to be noticeable.
I realize this sounds defeatist, however, this is the actual reality we currently face as the human race.
change needs to be rapid, and while it can be done in the "developed" countries, it is a much greater task to get the developing world to jump on the carbon band wagon and reverse their current thought processes.
In developing countries it is the poor that do the most damage as they struggle to survive and desire to have a better life.
It is a vicious, never ending circle of destruction that threatens to destroy everything, and this circle will have to be broken before resurrection can occur.

What we can do is work hard at building our own, tiny speck of new forest, encourage everyone we meet to do the same and spread the word as quickly as possible.
Those with the ability to influence those who report in the Media, must be relentless so the Media talk about what needs to be done and hopefully ways to do what needs to be done.

I have experienced first hand the power of one determined and out spoken human being.
I would love to see what the masses could accomplish using the same determination and voice, it would indeed be capable of changing the world.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Here is what I am doing to help earth mother recapture her carbon.

We are planting trees to fill open spaces.
We are building our orchard in an area that used to be open grasses, as I plant the fruit trees I build garden spaces between them to get the most green per sq. ft. as possible.
I compost everything that isn't used to build hugel mounds or hugel berms (really low hugel mounds).
If we find or make bare earth, we get it planted asap and keep it that way.
We use wheat straw for mulch (nearly everywhere), this puts the carbon from the straw back into the soil as the mulch deteriorates.
We try to make sure that everything we plant has multiple purposes ( food, ground cover, places for wild animals).

Even our driveway is green, we are trying to not have to put down gravel for the driveway so even it can grab some CO2.
recently heavy rains have damaged the drive but we will get it back into shape and heavily grassed so it won't wash away again.

We collect rainwater to use on our gardens (keeps fossil fuel use lower).

Now all I have to do is get 1 billion other people to join in and do their part.
 
Tyler Ludens
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How can we encourage people in forest regions to not cut down forest for pasture and to let existing pasture regrow to forest?

 
Steve Farmer
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There is talk of building solar arrays in vast areas of the sahara, to replace fossil fuel power stations. I wonder if, for a similar investment of money and manpower, could we reforest an area much much bigger? Which would be the best of these two choices? Or both?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Good question Tyler,  The problem is not necessarily those countries governments perhaps. In Brazil for example the logging industry is running rampant and un-checked. The "police" who are supposed to stop them, are ineffective at best.
When loggers are stopped in one location, they just move quickly to another spot, cutting a path that will become yet another illegal road through the jungle.
There are approximately 105 thousand miles of illegal roads crisscrossing the amazon rainforest, all these roads have been made by the illegal loggers.

Families will clear forest so they can plant crops, these crops will do ok, (not thrive) for two to three years, then the soil is depleted and they go and cut down more forest.
This is their main way of providing food so they can survive, it is a very poor way and these folks simply subsist on the verge of starving.

Brazil made it illegal to cut any Rosewood trees, yet I can purchase (legally) Dalbergia Rosa (Brazilian RoseWood) to build guitars, furniture and other items with.
I have a source of trees that were cut in the 1950's through a friend, his father was the cutter of these trees and they have been aging under roof since they were cut.
When I make a purchase from my friend, I receive the wood and a certificate of legally harvested and sold rosewood from the government of Brazil. This certificate is required by both governments, Brazil's and USA.

I do know of a place that sells this wood but without any certificate, that means to me that this company is probably selling black market woods, so I don't do business with them and have in fact reported them to our government.
Nothing has happened from that though, and that is one big part of the problem. No backlash or huge fine, keep doing business as usual.

The only way I believe we could stop the madness would be to provide alternatives to both the poor and the poacher.
The poor need to understand that when they cut down trees, they are not doing anyone or anything any good at all.
All their efforts will be lost in two or three years.
If we could show them methods that will work for them, they would likely give them a try, when they found they worked well for their needs, they would abandon the old methods.

The poachers are a totally different situation, my personal method would be to remove them from the planet permanently, one outfit at a time. However, that doesn't work because of bleeding heart types thinking killing poachers is wrong.
The other way to address them is to dry up all their markets for illegal woods, if they can't make money, they will stop.
Problem with that idea is that it has not worked for the Ivory or the Rhino Horn black market so why would it work for the wood black market?
Solutions have to be found or in ten more years we will not have any rainforest left worth speaking about.

There are some who are going into the bush and teaching those natives that are willing to change, this is a good sign.
Still the issue with the poaching timber companies has to be dealt with and it is unfortunate that it currently seems they are like drug lords.

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm actually referring to our fellow permies - how do we encourage them not to clear forest for pasture?

People on this messageboard, for instance.

How do we encourage them to allow pasture to regrow to forest?

 
John Weiland
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@Bryant R.: " ....the issue with the poaching timber companies has to be dealt with and it is unfortunate that it currently seems they are like drug lords."

And as you noted, both the drug lords and their addicted clients need some sort of "moral corrective" in their lives.  Without the addiction....to fancy woods, drugs, or imagined aphrodisiacs....there would be no market.  The poorer countries will be less resistant to the lure of the black market.  But it's an well-integrated mess no matter which way you look at it.  I think it was Tyler L (?) who earlier suggested in a different thread that the story "The Road" (Cormac McCarthy) may have little that applies to the Permie movement, but I'm not so sure.  Irrespective of how one wants to interpret that story, there was suggestion that some remnant of humanity will be (has always been?) characterized by still harboring "the fire".  My own interpretation is that there will still be some who realize that there is no life worth living without "the others".....birds, trees, insects, .... all of it.  I don't think it will get better without first getting worse.  So to modify and paraphrase Paul's recent suggestion, "be one of  the embers that will be needed to rekindle the fire".
 
Tyler Ludens
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I doubt it was me, because I have never read or seen "The Road," I have only read what doomers said about it.  I find it implausible that humans will survive the extinction of most life on Earth, which seemed to be the premise of "The Road."
 
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