Read an alarming article today from Discovery News, “Loss of City Trees Costs Billions.” It talks about how trees in cities are vital and necessary not only to city costs, but to positive environments for us humans. Some stats and figured included at the end. Very interesting, and brings up the need to put more green in urban areas.
A major point of concern for many people in the past couple of decades has been the degradation and destruction of the world’s forests. Trees play a vital role in the ecosystems and balance of the planet, yet in places like Brazil, logging is sometimes the only means of gaining subsistence and is a big industry and source of jobs. When countries are faced with the harsh choice between making people find new employment when there is none or banning logging, the issue takes on a different perspective, but only emphasizes the great importance that some kind of solution be found.
Logging in the Brazilian rainforest (credit: Scientific American)
I stumbled across this article the other week about this nonprofit group called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive who are trying to collect genetic material from species of tree which are rapidly disappearing. They then want to clone those trees and replant the forests around the world. Sounds a little unattainable right? But they’re having some moderate success, at least in the areas of gaining tree genes and successfully cloning the trees.
What they are having greater trouble with is convincing people to replant these specific trees. You may ask what is so great about these particular trees. The giant redwoods and sequoias and other mega-trees are actually very essential to keeping carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the air. One of these trees does the work of hundreds of other trees in retaining pollutants. Old growth forests are central to cleansing the environment, yet we stupid blundering humans have destroyed almost all of them.
“Finding genetically superior trees has been challenging, but group leaders acknowledge their biggest hurdle may be selling the public on the urgency of restoring the world’s ancient forests.”
They can be planted in any number of places, from college campuses to office parks to Central Park, but the most ideal places are those that favor a long life and adequate room for the tree to grow. But most people don’t see the value in planting one of these trees–as the article points out, many of the people who do plant trees are in the business of growing, selling, replanting, and then growing more as fast as possible.
Why should we care? Well, I think most of us would like to live on a healthy planet while we’re here. I doubt we’d really appreciate breathing in pollution on a daily basis, and in some countries that is exactly what happens. But why should that be the case when this problem can be fixed with a little time and effort? Also, we as pagans should be especially interested in the death of forests across the world–our ties to nature are (perhaps) stronger than the ties of non-pagans to the natural world since we tend to see the magic and the beauty in nature a little more easily because of our beliefs. [I realize that's something of a generalization, but it is true that the majority of pagans have some kind of reverence for nature.]
Original article here.
Posted in Environmental
Tagged Ancient woodland, belief, Brazil, environment, Forest, nature, Old-growth forest, pagan, pagans, preservation, redwoods, reverence, sequoias, tree, trees
Due to the recent snowstorm, I decided to take some pictures of the scenery. Sadly I couldn’t snap the blue jays, we have fewer of those around, but I saw plenty of cardinals.
Two cardinals in a bush outside my window
Little bird outside my window
My cat staring at the snow
The tree in the front yard, with some sunshine in its snow-laden branches
Like many people, I suffer from pollen and hay fever allergies. The bane of my childhood, when I spent most of my time in the barn and still carried a box of tissues with me everywhere I went. My allergies had been getting better as I grew older–but this year everything went all to hell and my allergies have been the worst they’ve been in years.
Even worse, I can’t take most allergy medicines because they make me sleepy, including the supposedly “non-drowsy” kinds. Plus I hate taking pills, though I’ll take them when necessary. A few times this year those pills became necessary, and they knocked me out for a good three to four hours. Fun. Normally sleep is good. But not at 3 in the afternoon in the middle of class.
I hear, both in person and browsing the interwebs, that many pagans prefer a more natural approach to healing and medicine, and only resort to pills when they are necessary. (Though this of course does not apply to all–there are some who will use conventional medication first, and only resort to natural remedies if or when the conventional means don’t work, especially for serious problems.) So, if you’re like me and can’t or won’t take allergy pills, yet still need some relief, I have a few suggestions:
- Mint: I have actually had success with this, which is why I list it first. Use essential oil of mint to help with the sinuses. I don’t think it actively prevents allergies, but it does help in breathing easier and in my experience I think it even helped in preventing somewhat the usual reaction to pollen. I noticed that when I smelled mint I didn’t sneeze as much, and my nose was less stuffy. I could breathe! Even mint toothpaste and mint gum helped, so I don’t think it depends entirely on the essential oil (although I’m sure the oil is most effective). Doubt me if you wish, but I was in Pittsburgh and suffering from allergies, unable to take a Benadryl or I would sleep my vacation away. My aunt offered me a stick of mint gum, and without thinking of allergies I took it. Ten minutes later I’d noticed I had stopped sneezing and I could breathe easier. I chewed mint gum for the rest of the trip and had very few problems after that. Cross my heart and hope to die if I lie!
- Quercetin: a plant-derived flavonoid nutritional supplement that some people use to help with allergies. I had originally planned to try this, but I was having trouble finding it, and now I don’t need it! It’s not as “natural” as mint or saline, but it is plant-based. However, because it’s a supplement, ALL directions and information on the label should be read before use. More info: click here.
- Saline spray: I’ve used this before. The key here is to use it at least once a day. It keeps the nasal cavity hydrated (prevents nosebleeds, if your allergies are as serious as mine), and helps to flush out the allergens that you breathe in. I include this in natural remedies because, if my understanding is correct, it’s just a mixture of salt and water. Sounds pretty non-scientific to me.
- Fish oil: I’ve heard of this only briefly, but I’m not sure of its effectiveness or how it would be used for allergies. But it could be something to look into.
- Wash: Wash before going to bed, either by taking a full shower to get rid of as many allergens on your body as possible, or if you can’t shower (or already did), then just wash your face. It seems like common sense, and I certainly hope everyone showers. But washing up before bed takes away the allergens that stick in your hair, on skin, on clothes, etc. and should help with sleeping.
Hope someone out there finds this helpful! And good luck with the allergies, now that we’re moving soon from spring to summer!