ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Great Lakes

This is...
These freshwater seas have always felt like home to me.
In the foreground, the Finger Lakes can be seen. When I was bicycling around the Great Lakes, I came into the top right of the picture on my way back from rounding the North Shore of Lake Superior. My route, contained within this photo, which took about two weeks at fifty miles (80 km) per day on average, came down The East shore of Georgian Bay, roughly followed the Severn-Trent Canal and rounded the nearest point in this picture crossing at the Thousand Islands Crossing, coming back from Canada. I took a few days off  (as well as being off the photo)to recuperate at the Canton Canoe Weekend. A special shout out to all my friends from Outing Club!

After that, I headed West again, pretty much hugging the shore the rest of the way home to Green Bay.

As I ponder this image, it is basically a look back from the downwind part of our airshed. Just as the water follows gravity, through clefts in the rock and dunes, the air wafts from our tailpipes and smokestacks, our fossil fuel powered electric generating stations and the wires that transmit that power, our heat islands are clearly evident way back, poking through the clouds. You can see a few black smudges and holes poked through the cloud bank that obscures Lake Michigan. I'm sure that each person who looks deeply into the image, at least those who know the area will see all sorts of different things in it, but for me who has pedaled his way through the image, it still has the power to amaze and mesmerize me. When I was a child, and had the dream to ride my bicycle around the Great Lakes, to see how large they had to be, to be able to dilute the poisons and terrific amounts of waste that we clogged them with when I was growing up. What I found is that they are actually pretty small jewels relative to our planet. The fact that they contain 20% of all the liquid fresh water on the planet is all one needs to know about why I dedicate my life to saving them.

Millions of tree seeds have been planted by our organization, tens of thousands of seedlings and saplings have been planted as well. This is to say nothing of the forbes, the composting and the aeration of long depleted areas that frequently start the whole process of regeneration. We are currently working to transform ever more acreage faster because forest cover, (especially on high ground, susceptible to wind erosion, marginal or steep slopes and along watercourses where runoff can carry massive sediment and nutrient loads) is essential if we are to reverse the flow of carbon from fossil fuel to the atmosphere.

We can only do as much as we can afford to do. We give as much time as possible. All the work is done as a labor of love, but all of our trees are either purchased with donations, or grown from seed which requires even more hours of our time. To give a bit of perspective, it costs about ten dollars per tree to get it, plant it and protect it. We do get some benefits from scale and the larger your donation, the lower the cost per tree. The nurseries that we deal with often give us steep discounts because of our commitment to maintaining an all-volunteer staff. Just because our trees are planted, the airshed is already being scrubbed of some carbon, with your help, we can do more.

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