The Best Time…

No MegaGlobalCorp will make billionaires in doing so, but it is perhaps the most effective and achievable intervention in the near term to take carbon out of the air–Plant a trillion trees, per this AP piece by Seth Borenstein:

“… there’s enough room, Swiss scientists say. Even with existing cities and farmland, there’s enough space for new trees to cover 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers), they reported in Thursday’s journal Science. That area is roughly the size of the United States.

The study calculated that over the decades, those new trees could suck up nearly 830 billion tons (750 billion metric tons) of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s about as much carbon pollution as humans have spewed in the past 25 years.

“This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution” and the most effective, said study co-author Thomas Crowther, a climate change ecologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Six nations with the most room for new trees are Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and China.

The image is from the upcoming presentation on Climate Chaos for SustainFloyd’s Third Annual EnergyFest. Time is 10 a.m. and place is Chantilly Farm on Franklin Pike. Jane Cundiff and I will look at the global and the local of this “slow emergency.”

For my part, I look back a half century to the first Earth Day and my engagement with the planet as a “biology watcher”; then we look ahead a half century to 2070, when our grandchildren’s children will be making their way in what world we leave them. The real and metaphorical trees we plant NOW will determine much about the quality of life they have THEN.

With Freedom, Responsibility

If I could only teach him how to select and bring in kindling of a morning.

It was just a task that Scout took on–a way to let us know that we don’t always have to be responsible for his goings and comings.

Besides, if we put the leash ON the dog when we brought him up to the house from the garden, he rebelled, spinning and leaping in a tantrum. You could almost hear him saying “I’m a big boy now, stop treating me like a puppy!”

The one minute video ends with the dog carrying the leash to my mom, who was staying the weekend.

She comes to see the dog, and we are also here. We’ve gotten over it.

The Root of All Weevil

Spontaneous generation?

They just are there–in the five pound bag of flour you just brought home yesterday. There, in the mixing bowl that was going to hold the biscuits for dinner, but now, in a puff of white smoke, ground grains with tiny hard beetles go into the burn pit out back.

But don’t blame the insects. They are just doing what they do to make a living, wingless though they are. They have learned to hitch-hike around the world over the past few thousand years as post-glacial humankind cultivated the land, then stored, then globally-shipped wheat products everywhere.

Read the details at NPR, and just go ahead and enjoy a little crunch in your next batch of pancakes.

Old Dog: New Tricks? Maybe.

Merwin you can't plant a forest SustainFloyd Floyd Virginia
The bones of trees

Just when a geezer gets comfortable with “the way things were” they morph out from under him.

And that isn’t all bad. Nothing like a rocking boat to test your equilibrium. So now that I’m paid up for another year of life on Fragments without any great notion of the so-what of such a choice, WordPress mixes it up and changes their editing platform.

And so I decided to change up my Style plugin for a while and see what a visual change might bring about.

I actually have a long list of potential blog posts, but am yet to be convinced that this tree falling in the forest will make any sound. Things have been this way for years now, and the old blogging hay days are long past. And yet I can’t quite say I’m done.

I will give this “blocks” approach to editing some weeks of use and see if I get inspired–as in come to sense I am not bowling alone.

Let’s just toss in an image here and see how that works.

Okay, this one of tree silhouettes from Rocky Knob–already in the media gallery from long ago–prompts the possibility of a future post on trees–when the piece is cleared for public release. This work has been invisible to Facebook and the blog, but which kept me pleasantly busy for a couple of weeks in December. More, perhaps, soon-ish.

Let me know of any viewing issues with the new template.

Common But Commonly Overlooked: Horsehair Worms

The FB post a few days ago about the Siberian worms (nematodes) that revived after 30k years in permafrost made me remember, back in my teaching days, of seeing similar-looking horsehair worms (or having students bring them in for extra credit).

They were rather common around farms and wet margins of yards. Often they’d be found in a tight ball resembling the mythical Gordion Knot, giving them one of their common names.

You can see how they move in this video:

 They are not nematodes, but superficially resemble them and are in their own Phylum, Nematomorpha. There are some 300 species; some grow to more than six feet long–far in excess of the length of their host grasshopper et cetera.

They are very simple creatures but can have complex life cycles—including the zombie effect of making a host beetle or grasshopper commit suicide by jumping into water, since this is necessary to complete the worm’s life cycle.

And no, they do no harm to humans—except weird them out. It is freaking to hold one of these in your hands—like a stiff animated strand of the world’s strangest pasta noodle.

If you have seen these before, please tell me if it was recently and in what kind of habitat. Did you identify the host that filled the role that you see in this video of three large worms emerging from an unfortunate praying mantis?