Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Simple World-Saving Device

(I published this before, but it's worth putting up again)

Enough hysteria. We can stop Global Warming right now, without giving up all manufacturing, driving cars, raising cattle or exhaling. There is a simple, inexpensive device – available right now – that will pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and provide many side benefits as well.

This device is self-sustaining and will work for years – or decades, or even centuries – with almost no maintenance. It’s completely solar powered, and needs nothing but occasional applications of water and certain inexpensive common minerals. It has almost no waste products, and even those are readily biodegradable; they can be used as mulch, compost materials, or feedstock for making fuel-grade ethanol.

After drawing CO2 out of the air this device then breaks down the CO2 into carbon, which it uses for its own maintenance, and pure oxygen, which it releases into the atmosphere. A single model can take at least a ton of CO2 out of the air every year. Its air-cleaning properties aren’t limited to just CO2, either; it can also take out carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and sulfides.

Its useful side effects include preventing soil erosion, providing weather-protection for small plants and animals, and even producing food for livestock and human beings. Far from being an ugly machine, it’s quite ornamental and can add considerably to the value of real estate. You don’t need any government permits to install it. You can place it outdoors or indoors in a container, so long as you give it access to direct sunlight.

And it’s cheap. This amazing device is available in every city and town in America, at prices as low as $7 for a start-up model or $150 for a full-size household model.

So why haven’t you seen this marvelous device announced all over the media? Perhaps just because it’s so cheap, not to mention that it can propagate itself under the right conditions, so no giant corporation could make mega-bucks by selling it. Perhaps because it’s not an exciting new discovery but a very old one – 100 million years old, in fact.

It’s called a tree.

One of the reasons for our planetary crisis is that, in the last 400 years, fully half the world’s forests have been cut down – and not replaced. We need to restore those forests, and not just with single species of pines. We need to plant fruit-trees, nut-trees, hardwoods, redwoods and ironwoods, oaks and chestnuts, ornamental trees and medicinal trees. We need to plant them in every front yard and back yard, along our freeways and boulevards, in our parks and at the borders of our parking lots, around the edges of junkyards and factories, between fields of crops and in the courtyards of office buildings, and everywhere else we can think of.

Planting trees is one thing we can do right now to stop Global Warming, clean our air, and balance the ecosystem. So who’ll be first to buy a seedling and take up a shovel?


Mark Horning said...

Actually NO.

Forests in general don't really suck up much C02. Pine forests do, but the rain-forests such as in Brazil actually emit more C02 than they absorb due to all the rotting vegetation.

The most effective plant I know of for sucking up C02 is actually good old CORN, though I suspect you could add another verse to "Too good to be Legal" and be spot on there given the growth rate.

Regardless, I'll likely drop 2-4 more fruit trees into the ground in the next few weeks. The nurseries should have bare-root trees in stock by 1-Jan.

And when you and Rasty get that house I'll be glad to bring you a 5-gallon peach or apricot tree as a housewarming gift.

Anonymous said...

Planting trees in temperate zones increases global temperatures due to increased light absorption, especially during winter.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Mark. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the USA is actually a CO2 sink (at the rate of half a billion tons per year) because of its extensive forests. Also don't forget that the rotting vegetation in those rain-forests rapidly turns into plant food, and other plants soon grow out of it. The bigger the plant, the more it absorbs. Yes, smaller plants grow faster, but each plant absorbs less; it's a trade-off. And yes -- heheheh -- jolly old hemp absorbs a respectable amount. When we get the house (soon, I hope!) I'll definitely take you up on that offer for an apricot tree.

Hi, af13. What, trees increase global temperatures? How does that follow? If the trees absorb the light, it doesn't rebound into the atmosphere. In any case, trees in general tend to moderate weather, decreasing seasonal extremes.

And of course that's not counting all the other benefits of forests, especially of fruit and nut trees.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Mark Horning said...

Almost all C02 moderation is actually performed by the oceans, not surface plant life.

The US is indeed a C02 sink, but this is mostly due to a) lots of Corn, and b) relatively young forests.

Though I'm guessing that having annual forest fires the size of Rhode island here in AZ does not help.

Anonymous said...

The idea is that in temperate zones, in winter without trees, there would be a field of white reflective snow. Trees are darker than snow. Trees absorb light which heats the surrounding air. Snow reflects light/heat out into space. (The atmosphere is more transparent than trees)

Also vegetation increases humidity. Humidity is water vapour, a major greenhouse gas.