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

Friday, March 17, 2017

First Robin

Robins always reminded me of Robin Hood. Harbingers of Spring, they send a chill the first time you see one for the year. This year was odd because they stayed 'til way after Thanksgiving, the early winter floods and green grass kept them on even after the first snow. At least one brave fellow is back, staking claim to the small patches of grass on the verge of plowed areas.
When I was a youth, I remember one year calling the tee vee news, I think it was channel five when I lived with my mom and sister on Kellog street. I had seen the first robin and they wanted to interview me. I think, in the end, I chickened out. The interviewer saw me at the old Shopko on Main street one day and remembered all those years earlier, when I was but a timid second-grader.

My daughter had a great Birthday, we had a cup of coffee before she had to be in class and when I got home, a friend and fellow blogger Tenney Naumer, had posted this: It is about asking the American Geophysical Union AGU to refuse funds from ExxonMobil. I completely agree. The jig is up! Although many self-respecting environmentalists say they will take money from everyone and not let it detract from their message, I can't believe that large corporate donors would line up to support causes antithetical to their bottom line. Fossil energy is dead. In addition to poisoning the planet, the fossil fuel industry has waged a culture war against the poor, workers and users of their "products" for decades. This is a classic example of the need for people to boycott, divest and sanction these corporate welfare recipients.

We are experiencing cultural genocide, where the culture being eliminated is primarily the poor. We die earlier than the wealthy, because they can jet off to places that still have relatively clean air ,spend more on unprocessed and organic ingredients, drink Fiji water, etc. Even these privileges are granted them as a privatized good, subsidized by us all through socialized costs. When we organized ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. Fully ten years ago, it was plain what the stakes were. We could either practice restoration biology, reclaim clean air and water as a right, or squander the earth's resources, polluting more and more for the benefit of a tiny few. There were obvious and cost effective ways that we knew of to rehabilitate soils, restore native plants and reforest denuded areas. Many acres had already been composted, aerated and planted with trees as a result of our efforts, however we wanted to be more "formal" about our commitment. Being able to go out and sit in the shade of trees that your hands planted twenty years ago is pretty heady stuff. Those moments are literally stolen from the oligarchs, they didn't make a dime on most of those interactions. we create bridges between the ECO-Tourists and the Earth. The trees they plant will be there for lifetimes, encouraging them if they ever return, to see them mature and grow. Reclaiming the planet is one thing they cannot benefit from, it is not possible to capitalize on doing the right thing. The uberwealthy are unable to wrest from us the desire to make the world a better place. It is our cultural heritage to live unmolested, free of usury, deceit, hatred and oppression. Creator, endowed all of us with the same inalienable rights. None of those include  abuse or neglect of others. The first robin always shares a resonant chord in our hearts of industriousness and optimistic yearnings and their abundance, the blessings as brought forward when generosity springs eternal. The graciousness of mother Earth to gift us with the first Robin is sublime.

Much of the stock, tools and equipment that we use to do our work is cast off, re-purposed, or reclaimed in some way.The only thing we really go through is soil and dollars spent on native seedling trees. since we started, we have inspired several local growers to begin planting trees to give away as well, multiplying the effectiveness of silvaculturalists across Northeast Wisconsin. as with the robins, once that first one appears, more follow, just like in the realm of ideas. Once the path has been made, others soon follow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Get an Apple...

I saw a great visual aid for understanding just how important the topsoil of our planet is. Let me thank the filmmaker of One Man, One Cow, One Planet, for showing this very exercise to help understand the Earth and her biosphere. In this example, or mind exercise if you prefer, it helps to understand that an apple when representing the Earth, has a skin about as thick as the zone within all life flourishes. The apple skin is actually true to scale as if it were to represent the thickness of a zone, it represents the distance between the top of the atmosphere, where life can live, around the height of Mt. Everest 8,848m (about 29K feet); to the deepest point in the ocean, nearly 11,000m (36Kfeet) below the sea level the Challenger Deep (part of the Marianas Trench). This becomes important later on, when the end of the example comes up. Keep in mind that within this thickness, all life we know of exists. Soil thickness within that tiny sliver of life is rarely more than a few feet deep, out of that peel of the apple nearly twelve miles thick. 20,000m (65Kfeet) in a few places soils are mere inches thick and places where chemical agriculture has predominated, the humus is nearly non-existent, leading to bankrupt soils that can only grow crops with massive chemical inputs.

This ECO-Tour of the mind requires us to imagine the Earth as an apple.

 Concentrate on how much of the apple goes away. These portions are unavoidable physical facts.
 First, cut it in quarters, eat three, representing world oceans. It is unavailable for crop production.
 That last quarter cut in half, eat one it represents mountains, desert and ice; again non-arable land.
 The last 1/8, cut into four parts, eat three, they represent areas too wet or too dry for crops, rocky areas, and places too heavily forested or urban to be farmed. All of these are non-arable as well.
 So, this 1/32 represents the portion of the planet we need to focus on. But first, cut off the peel...
Representing our nearly twelve mile thick biosphere, soils might max-out at just a few feet, thick; the area we need to focus on is even smaller than the peel can represent. The actual part we need to focus on is probably only as thick as a single water molecule within this tiny slice of apple. Biodynamic agriculture and using biochar actually build soils long term into healthy productive land. Besides healthy food, the biochar helps reduce irrigation protecting water resources as well. This is the sort of revolution we need to turn the tables on the petrochemical industries. We typically only have to build enough soil for healthy root systems in our plants, and we can sustain life, generate income for communities and pass along the information, genetic and otherwise for sustained yields throughout the ages. Nature can take a hundred years to generate a single inch of soil. On my land I built three to five inches in a single year. Creating lush abundance is not difficult, anyone can learn the techniques, it also instills an immense feeling of pride when you can stand back, look at a trouble free, fecund acreage and know it is taking care of itself and you because it has been provided everything it needs.