Thursday, December 21, 2017

Update on CO2

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, I wrote a blog alert quoting Lawrence Soloman’s article in the Financial Post: “Hooray! There’s reason to celebrate that CO2 levels are rising.”

What’s to celebrate? Recent finding from NASA and the University of Otago, New Zealand provide us with the first global picture of the seasonal change in the patterns of vegetation – known as phenology, the timing of leaf emergence and how CO2 is altering the cycle. The planet is getting greener. Plants love CO2. But……….!

Earlier leaf emergence moving out of synch with the life cycles of birds, pollinators and mammals will have a significant impact on the ecosystem and could lead to higher extinction rates of species dependent on leaf cycle.

Are these early warning indicators of catastrophic ecosystem changes? NASA is sending up three missions to investigate the role of plants in the breathing earth’s carbon and water cycle. 

Edward O. Wilson's book, Half Earth: Our PlanetsFight for Life, proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: Devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. It’s a good start.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Arrival of Spring

Each spring my Romanian grandmother, Bunica, would mark the vernal equinox with a centuries-old pagan ritual. She would dig up two clods of green grass and place them on each side of the gate posts of her house, and then insert twigs of pussy willows in the centre of the grass. When we asked about the meaning of this ritual she said, "For us Romanians, pussy willows announce the arrival of spring and the renewal of nature. They tell other plants and trees to wake up.”

Traveling through a village in northern Romania in 1981, I noticed two gate posts capped with clumps of grass and pussy willows. I stopped my car and went over to ask the lady in the yard about the significance of this ritual. She told me, "It’s nature’s way of announcing springtime, new beginnings and ensuring fertility in the coming year.”