Friday, December 7, 2012

Help Slow the Effects of Climate Change!

     The Nov. 2012 report on climate change for the World Bank indicates that a majority of scientists now believe that the climate will heat up by an estimated four degrees Celsius by the end of the century.  This will have serious effects on the world as we know it.  Dry regions will dry out more, wet regions will become wetter, overall temperatures will increase leading to more heat waves and weather patterns will become more erratic.  Severe weather will also become more prevalent and more severe.  This is no longer something that can be ignored or disputed.  It is real and it is happening.
     The first thing that needs to be done is that we as a people need to learn to curb our carbon emissions.  We have become far too dependent on energy and material possessions and far to careless with how much we use up.  But then, as many people are quick to point out, the economy depends on the use of energy and the purchase of goods and materials.  This makes the problem much more complex.  Adding to the mix is the vast difference between developed countries and those that are developing.  At this point in the consideration many people simply throw up their hands in resignation deciding that there is nothing that they can really do other than maybe a few minor changes in their life to save energy.
     There is something that is very simple that all property owners can do.  It takes only a short period of time initially and a small amount of annual maintenance.  For this small outlay of effort you will not only assist in the fight to slow global warming, but you will also provide a wonderful aid toward your immediate and personal well-being.  This simple act is to plant a tree and then to work to keep it alive, growing and healthy.  Your tree will act to capture some of that carbon that is being release into the atmosphere causing warming.
     There is a simple relationship between the trees that you plant and the carbon that you capture.  Consider the following examples:

     If you plant a slow growing hardwood like a Chestnut Oak -
          it will capture 1.3 lbs of carbon / tree / year in its first year,
          5.5 lbs of carbon in its tenth year and 10.8 lbs of carbon during year 20
     If you plant a medium growing hardwood like a Red Maple -
          it will capture 1.9 lbs of carbon / tree / year in its first year,
          11.2 lbs of carbon in its tenth year and 23.2 lbs of carbon during year 20
     If you plant a fast growing conifer like a Loblolly Pine -
          it will capture 1.3 lbs of carbon / tree / year in its first year,
          13.2 lbs of carbon in its tenth year and 30.8 lbs of carbon during year 20

     Obviously the older and larger the tree the greater the amount of carbon that you will capture.  Thus if you already have healthy trees, do what you can to keep them alive and well.  Clearing land for whatever purpose does effect the carbon and the climate.  If you have open land that can be planted in trees, please do just that.  The world will be a better place for your effort.  You will also benefit from your act to increase the forest cover in your immediate surrounding.  You will have cleaner air to breath and the calming emotional effect that trees create.
     So, if you want to help in slowing down global warming, go plant a tree!

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