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Archive for the ‘Forests and woodlands’ Category

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If the current American government, the Obama Administration, is serious about increasing the number of people with ‘green-collar’ jobs, they ought to start by initiating a massive reforestation/afforestation plan which is organized on a local/county basis.  More Americans also ought to be trained in forestry and related environmental fields instead of ones which are mostly useless or even harmful to society such as banking/usury, paper-pushing, unnecessary legal jobs, etc.

A nationwide reforestation/afforestation plan would be rather simple to do, and it would also employ very many Americans who are currently unemployed and/or underemployed.  Trees ought to be replanted everywhere possible in an organized and methodical way.

Trees help to control the loss of vital topsoil to erosion, and they also preserve water/moisture in soils.  Additionally, trees absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use it to produce oxygen (which is of course a necessity for human existence).

Deforestation causes droughts — believe it or not, the trees and other natural vegetation of a region often ‘interacts’ with the localized atmosphere to produce rain, humidity, and other beneficial weather patterns. Thus, when you cut down most of the trees in an area and clear the land for houses, parking lots, shopping centers, skyscrapers, factories, etc, the land will eventually become a desert or semi-desert if trees are not eventually re-established in to the habitat.

Did you know that much of Italy, Spain, and North Africa used to be heavily forested back a few thousand years ago in ancient Greek/Roman times and of course long before that? Now widespread desertification has occurred in many areas of those countries since the ancient inhabitants of those areas often cleared the land of trees (to make room for farmland, pastureland, and towns/cities) and thus a lot of the rain eventually left those areas as a result of the loss of vegetation.  Over time, incessant winds (which were once mostly blocked by trees or other vegetation) have loosened or blown away the topsoil which also became increasingly dried out from the sunlight beating down on it constantly due to the lack of a forest canopy to protect it from getting sun-baked on a daily basis during the hotter months.  Whenever it rained heavily a lot of topsoil was washed away due to the lack of trees and associated vegetation, the roots of which once served to hold that precious topsoil in place.  Thus, over a period of centuries after an area had been deforested, entirely new deserts or semi-deserts were formed where once lush forests thrived.

The USA and other nations ought to learn from the catastrophic mistakes of past civilizations instead of repeating them.  I propose that a nationwide program of reforestation/afforestation is needed in order to make sure that we do not slowly turn large swathes of North America in to a desert-like environment in the coming centuries due to irresponsible and unsustainable levels of deforestation.

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The following is something that I wrote nearly two years ago, back in August 2007; as the title of this post suggests, it promotes ‘localism,’ the belief that many people should return to more locally-focused ways of life in order to build stronger, better connected, and more sustainable local communities. Here it is:

Live locally:

– build strong community relationships and form deep local/regional roots
– buy locally and regionally as much as possible (goods and services)
– grow food locally as much as you can: start community gardens and/or small to medium-sized farms in cooperation with other people in your local area
– use well water and/or local water sources, avoid bottled water
– plant orchards on local unused open-land (for fruit, nuts, etc) and/or bushes for berries
– revitalize local pastureland and local livestock raising for meat and milk/butter/cheese
– raise a few hens and have a constant supply of fresh eggs
– work with neighbors to tear down one or more old and decrepit houses in your neighborhood and try to plant an orchard and/or community garden in its place
– start revitalizing local small, medium-sized, and family-owned businesses
– start local/community banks
– stay around your home and local community more (use less fossil fuel) and get to know your neighbors very well
– find a way to make your family and friends your neighbors for closer local networking
– read more books & listen to more music to enrich your mind: watch much less TV because it destroys your mind
– start local/small neighborhood schools and educate your community’s children in both intellectual as well as technical/practical skills (don’t forget the physical exercise, too)
– start a neighborhood health clinic using local medical volunteers or staff
– if you can afford it, get solar panels on your roof for electricity plus a solar hot-water heater
– learn useful crafts and skills like basic woodworking, electrical work, home repair, auto repair, local agriculture, etc
– learn how to sew or knit and try to make or repair some of your own clothes
– travel and explore locally and regionally (not just globally)
– pay off all outstanding debts and then forever stay out of debt; also try to help others in your local area to get out of debt
– start strong community groups in order to protect local interests and preserve local/regional safety (2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – revive local militias)
– avoid the big corporate national mass-media (cable TV, Hollywood movies, trash journalism)
– avoid mass-retail stores, malls, chain restaurants, etc and revitalize local businesses and restaurants
– conserve and preserve local greenspace, farmland, forests, pastureland, orchards, and so on
– drive less & you will pollute less
– be a community activist: work to eradicate crime, loneliness, alcoholism, drug addiction, neglect of the elderly, and other social ills in your local community
– talk more with people (especially kids) and watch less TV
– walk and/or ride bicycles around your local community when weather permits
– eat more fresh and locally grown food and avoid factory-farmed meat
– learn how to cook well
– exercise more
– reject too much globalization and internationalism because those trends homogenize and even destroy local/regional cultures and decrease overall diversity
– use less, consume less
– recycle more, conserve more
…be a LOCALIST.

Are you sick and tired of corporate-driven globalization and the promotion of profits over people? Are you distressed by the decimation of local businesses and communities by mega-corporations? Would you one day like to achieve community self-sufficiency as opposed to the current model which overtly seeks the maximization of centralized/corporate economic growth with a total disregard for the continuous loss of local ecological sustainability, social solidarity, and cultural integrity of the community? Then be a LOCALIST.

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Modern human civilizations only exist because of the advent of agriculture during the Neolithic Era.  The soil under our feet is literally the foundation of humankind as we now know it.  For most of history humans were small enough in number that they didn’t affect or alter the Earth’s surface all that drastically for either good or ill.

However, that has of course changed in the last two-to-three centuries as humans have grown in number and settled all ends of the Earth.  The vast majority of humans currently depend on agricultural crops for their existence, and this too is now in danger due to overpopulation.  Topsoil, the most critical and necessary layer of soil needed for productive agriculture, is being lost all around the world at a dizzying and disturbing rate.

Unfortunately, there is no way to wait around and allow topsoil to be naturally replenished.  Soil scientists have proven that it takes about one century for only an inch of topsoil to be reformed once it has been over-farmed, eroded, polluted, or otherwise degraded and rendered unusable.

Uncontrolled/unchecked erosion, as well as inept soil management, has been out of control in the last few centuries due to over-plowing and working far too intensively on certain land which has lead to massive erosion of valuable topsoil.  The cutting away of trees or other plants which once served to hold invaluable topsoil in place and thus prevent erosion is also continuing to occur with frightening rapidity.

The soil in many areas has also become progressively more contaminated and/or polluted because of too much industrial development in concentrated areas, often rendering it near-useless for future agricultural purposes.  Just as the world’s oceans are being over-fished to very worrying extent, much of the best soil/land around the world is being fervently over-farmed in many areas, rendering that soil mostly sterile, organically exhausted, and devoid of the necessary nutrients needed for productive agriculture for perhaps centuries to come.  Far too many farms are increasingly relying on a toxic myriad fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides just to keep their fields even minimally productive.

The local, regional, national, and international mismanagement of our all-important soil, which is so necessary to the continued existence of modern human civilization(s), clearly does not bode well for a future in which perhaps many billions more people than currently exist on Earth will need to be fed on a daily basis.

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I. The Current Human and Environmental Crisis: A Call to Action and Overview of Major Problems

II. Population and Demographic Issues
a. Overpopulation and the resultant overstraining of vital resources

III. Water: The Basis of All Life on Earth
a. Increasing freshwater depletion/pollution
b. Massive wasting of valuable freshwater
c. Ocean pollution and overfishing

IV. Soil: The Foundation of Human Civilizations
a. Topsoil loss: widespread erosion and soil mismanagement
b. Soil contamination/pollution
c. Over-farming/soil exhaustion
d. Over-reliance on fertilizers/pesticides/chemicals/etc

V. Food: Everyone Has To Eat
a. Very unstable food supplies
b. Industrial agriculture/factory-farming is cruel to the inhabitants of Earth (both humans and animals) and is entirely unsustainable
c. The widespread loss of knowledge regarding food production due to overdependence on automation and machinery for food production

VI. Air: We All Breathe
a. Air pollution
b. Weather/ozone problems: climate change/global warming, etc
c. Deforestation: the collapsing lungs of our Earth

VII. Living Patterns: They’re Going to Have to Change…Drastically
a. Unsustainable overconsumption/waste
b. Social (dis)organization is reaching near-anarchic levels in some countries
c. Widespread disconnection/alienation from nature is fueling nihilism and other pathological behaviors

VIII. Energy: It’s What Makes the Modern World Work
a. Soiling our own nest: too much dirty energy (oil, coal, natural gas, etc)
b. Increasing depletion of oil/nat-gas/coal/etc: peak oil?
c. Widespread energy inefficiency/waste

IX. Transportation: Moving People and Stuff Around
a. Increasingly obsolete transportation networks for the current (and still growing) world population
b. Fragile, polluting, and unsustainable supply chains for necessary resources and consumer goods

X. How Long Does Humanity Have to Start On a More Sustainable Path?
a. Is so-called ‘globalization’ sustainable or even desirable?
b. The danger of over-contentment, procrastination, neglecting to act, and general human laziness
c. The specter of regional, national, or even global collapse/disintegration

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The Human Sustainability Plan (THSP)

OUR EARTH

PERSISTENT PROBLEMS – SOME SOLUTIONS – INACTION IS IMPOSSIBLE

It is increasingly difficult to deny that humanity is spiraling out of control on multiple levels.  As such, this website seeks to offer commentary on and possible solutions to the current socio-environmental crisis.

I particularly seek to provide a gathering place for links to other websites and/or pertinent research resources which are focused on the modern ‘green/sustainability movement,’ human/environmental sustainability, environmental conservation/protection, all aspects of environmental science, ecology, enviro-economics, ecopolitical issues, natural resources, simple living, agrarianism, localism, and a myriad of other related topics.

If you know of more good websites, books, or any other sources of information pertaining to environmental topics please put them in a comment here or in another post so that I can take a look and then possibly add them to the links section of this website if they prove informative and helpful.

Also, please don’t be shy in terms of criticizing the ideas contained on this website, as well as correcting the grammar, word usage, and/or stylistics of my writing if you catch mistakes.  Any and all criticism is very helpful and is fully welcome here.

I’m adding the entire categorical structure of this website to this particular post (see directly below) so that readers can get a sense of what topics this blog will focus on.

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