Climate Change: Burning My Valley
Isn't it disturbing that the collective burning of vegetation all over the world is still a major contributor to global warming? For the survival of our race, we have to change how we do things. If we refuse to make it happen, will anything matter in fifty or a hundred years?
Living on a tropical island is pretty unique. If you love the natural world, there are so many things that you could do. I grew up in a small valley in the southern hills of my island and I've known it my whole life.
Hiking at a nice leisurely pace up the steep ravine hills for a few hundred feet is entirely worth it when I choose a spot near the summit to just be. It's a true blessing to be able to do that. It's a wonderful workout, too. The tops of the steep hills all the way down to nearly its base are covered with savanna grasslands. The really steep slopes and all along their base are covered with ravine forests. More like raving jungles. If you look up into those hills from a distance, the golden color of the grasslands are a fantastic contrast to the dark green jungles of the foothills. It staggers my mind to know that a hundred years ago, nearly all of these hills were dark green. Jungles all the way to the top. Wow. And what a reason why it's no longer that way.
Fire has been used as a tool for man's purposes practically from the moment of its discovery. So too has it been done here. And it has become one of the greatest weapons for deer hunting here in the southern jungles. What they do is set a fire. Just set a fire to blaze and let her rip. Help it if it's having some trouble getting going. Because once it's gone and burning acres along the land, a fantastic thing called life happens after. New grass shoots come out of the burned and blackened hills. And the deer is likely caught unawares as they consume these delicate shoots. The fierce hunter is waiting.
Oh, but all the other things that happen because a fire was set loose in the hills. Surely, not things the arsonist would have thought about. Let's just move in the direction as things happen. The fire is set and it's burning. First thing then is the atmosphere. A powerful green house gas (carbon dioxide), a direct byproduct of burning vegetation, is set forth into the atmosphere. But wait. We won't actually feel its effects for a long time anyway. No, that's not right. Global warming. That's right. Isn't it amazing that the collective burning of vegetation all over the world is still a major contributor to global warming? Strike one.
If left to its own, a roving fire will frequently burn right into a jungle. So the fire will stop then, right? That's true. It willat an eventual time. But the fire won't simply die out once it runs into the jungle. It's got to burn its way into it a bit, to run into the water and the bulk of the jungle. You know that that'll take at least a few feet. It has to burn out. So,if they're permitted to burn out by themselves, stray fires diminish the size of jungles. The more you burn, the smaller your jungles. Strike two.
After the fire has finally burned itself out, it is a desolate landscape that we see. When the rain comes, and they will, so much soil will wash away. I've never seen a burnt hillside escape from being washed down by the rains. Soil erosion to sedimentation in the water. But that doesn't matter. The ocean is a big place. It won't hurt. In the grand scheme of oceans, not too much. To the aquatic creatures in the rivers, the living coral reefs, and the enormous marine population that feed and live on those reefs, the damage is absolutely life-threatening. Strike three.
Let's add it all up. We've got the pros on one side, that being that the new shoot growth immediately following a fire is enticing to deer. They could be easier to catch. It only benefits the hunter. We've got the cons on the other side and the list is awesome.
ª The air, our atmosphere, receives an infusion of a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. We know, without doubt, that extensive and continuing global warming has caused, and is accelerating, a climate change that could very well end our days.
ª There is the land. Our jungles do get smaller. This already results in loss of habitat for wildlife. The vibrant green of our jungles and the golden sea of our savannas are replaced by burnt and blackened hills. Any wildlife, nests or burrows caught in the fire, any food supply, well, that's just their loss. And when the rains come, we lose our topsoil. The roots that hold it in place have burnt clean away. Accelerated soil erosion, I do despise it. .
ª There is the sea, to include the rivers. Immediately following soil erosion is the impact of sedimentation. This transported soil spreads. It blankets and suffocates when at last it settles. Sedimentation is the bringer of death to microscopic organisms, to vegetation, to fish and corals, to say the least. In aquatic environments, destruction is great and long-lasting. Imagine that your air is filled with ash all of the time. What would the quality of your life be like then?
The action of man introduces hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every single day. There is no question, no debate. A good percentage of that comes from the constant burning of the natural landscape. We have to change how we do things.
For the survival of our race, global warming has to stop. The ongoing climate change must be arrested, if not reversed. If we refuse to make it happen, will anything matter in fifty or a hundred years? Spread the word. Take your part. We can still save ourselves.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Q. is a knife sharpening expert and protector of the natural world. If you would like to find out about ª Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them ª How to Sharpen Other Edges (e.g. Lawn Mower Blades, Chain Saws, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it here at http://www.MakeKnivesSharp.com .