Trees are Awesome

tscout's picture

     So nice to see the scientific explanation of the storyline in Avatar! ha! There was so much action in that movie, they only touched on this subject with Sigourney Weaver's character. It inspires me to return to Tree Qong! I do have trees that I visit in all the towns I have lived in, favorite places to exercise,etc.. Now I will try more to think of that huge network, instead of just the individual tree...  Thanks Fairy,,,

Wendy's picture

Avatar was right! Trees are beautiful and it is amazing that they live so long.

Buy recycled paper tp  - Marcal is cheapest and still 100% recycled.

I think I remember reading somewhere that the fungal mat under the California redwood forest is the largest organism on the planet.

Brian's picture

 I used to do land survey work and it took me out into many beautiful places I would have missed otherwise. Places filled with elegant trees and wildlife and fresh smelling air. Sometimes it hurt to measure a tract of land and then see people move in and strip the trees away. I facilitated that! Ugh! My last job doing that work was just one enormous housing development and so almost every inch was laid bare over a vast area.  Then there was a bust cycle in the stock market that year and I lost the job. It was kind of a relief. I never went back to that kind of work. Partly it was from the building disquiet in my heart over seeing trees cut violently and handled like they were nothing-burned in heaps because they were in the way...sorry to be so negative.

Noa's picture

People who have lost their sense of connection to the natural universe are not likely to honor and preserve our planet. They don't think about where their garbage goes or how their daily activities affect the biosphere.

Thank God for people like you, Brian, who are sensitive enough to care about what happens to sentient beings on Earth.  The destruction will end when more people care.

Brian's picture

I sort of disagree Noa. I often have a poor connection to nature these days. Also I have met so many people who have a great appreciation for nature (hunting, fishing) and love the great outdoors-it recharges them and it is a big part of who they are in this modern world. Yet they have a worldview that allows them to drive that bulldozer or run that logging company or build houses and so they clear the forests without much said so I believe they don't care much. It's compartmented. Also I have been working in the construction industry (installing electronics) for decades and have benefited from new home construction endlessly. I have compartmented my ethics so I can pay my bills and haven't stopped being involved.

I think solutions could come from what we love. We need to set aside land for nature to thrive and people will use it. People will get on board if it is part of what they want and if it's their passion so then the problem will shrink by our moving into something we WANT rather than trying to FIX it.


Noa's picture

Duplicate entry

Noa's picture

In my opinion, hunting and fishing are not great ways to "appreciate" nature.  To me, it's not a big stretch to go from killing a wild animal to bulldozing its habitat.  Both activities are about killing and controlling the natural world, as if it only exists for human consumption.  

If the destruction of our planet is to cease and we are to co-exist within nature, it's going to take more than the globalist push for Agenda 21.   It will take a massive change in the collective consciousness.

One of the most powerful ways of reconnecting with nature, is to spend time in it -- even if it's just sitting on the grass in your own backyard.  The earth, sun, and the galaxy of planets are constantly beaming us information; we only need stop and listen. In this way, we can learn a lot about our individual roles within the universe.

I am more confident than ever that the earth has crossed into the age of enlightment.  Not everyone will tune into this higher frequency... and that's okay.

onesong's picture

 I too love trees and have spent a significant amount of my life enjoying, respecting and protecting what natural habitats I could.  I consider all living things to be as important (or even more important) as we are in the grand scheme of things.  When my girls were young and I lead the girl scout troop, one of the games we played taught about the web of life.  You stated the plant or animal you 'were' and tossed a ball of yarn to another who had to name something that you required to survive. (Ultimately, mankind was the only thing no other plant or animal 'required' for survival).

I need to comment on appreciating nature from a hunter or fisherman's perspective since I have spent 3/4 of my life with a man that does both.  He is very in tune with that natural world around him. He is impeccable about leaving a place as he found it. He is ethical when it comes to a kill-meaning he would not take more than his license allows, nor would he kill anything that would not later feed his family. When he has been blessed with a prosperous hunt, he is prayerful and reverent and thankful to the animal whose life he has taken in order to provide for ours. No one I know is more cognizant of land damage, destruction of the planet by loggers, oil companies, and folks who just don't care what kind of garbage they leave behind in our forests. Protection of wild habitats and the animals, trees, plants and all creatures in them are of great concern to him. 

I know many don't agree with hunting, fishing or even eating meat-but if you do eat meat, a good and honest hunter's way is much more ethical and humane than big agri and stockyards.

Not going for an argument here, simply defending a way of life that has provided for many people for many years and should not be lumped into a generalization or stereotyped as destroyers. Much of the land conservation we do have has been fought for by just such groups of men and women.  

We eat a predominantly plant based diet, fortified with small amounts of venison, fish and small game when it's available. Big agriculture and commercial grocers do not get my 'meat' dollars which ethically and morally feels more right because of my hunter husband, not in spite of him.

Back to topic, trees are some of my favorite people and so are the critters that live in and around them.

Noa's picture

Maybe I should clarify my comment about hunting and fishing.  Although I think there are better ways to commune with nature, I have come to believe that animals have agreed, on some level, to be food for others.  If done with conscious reverence and gratitude -- as is the case of your husband, Kristyne -- hunting can be okay.  Personally, I couldn't hunt and kill an animal, so in good consciousness, I probably should not eat meat.  


Do you remember the tree scene from The Lord of the Rings?

By Guest on October 28, 2012
hat do a high society girl, the father of Permaculture and Dr. Frankenstein all have in common? They all practice the art of resurrection.

The principles of restoring our landscape are simple, ancient and basic. In a recent article published in Oprah Magazine titled “The Promised Land” by Kathy Dobie, we meet an unlikely hero named Valer Austin. In a riveting piece, Kathy describes how this city girl, now 72, spent the last 12 years of her life reviving a 1,920-acre ranch in Sonora, Mexico. Valer brought no knowledge of land restoration, biology or science to the seemingly helpless situation yet she and her husband quickly deduced the root of the problem, rolled up their sleeves and started digging in, literally.

The Austin’s dusty ranch had spent the better part of the last 100 years as a barren wasteland. The continuous overgrazing of cattle, abuse of the local forests by mining operations and drainage of the wetlands by overzealous farmers had sucked the land dry of every life-sustaining gift it had once offered in abundance. Many local animal species had gone extinct and, upon first glance, Valer wondered aloud at what the cows could possibly be grazing on.

It was an experiment turned epic journey when Valer’s husband Josiah decided to build a couple of small dams, known locally as trincheras, to try and slow down the monsoon rains that cut through the harsh landscape, rushing so fast from the mountains that it never slowed down to deposit its rich silts, leaving the land more eroded and parched than the season before.

The little dams soon showed evidence of their effectiveness and each began to collect a bit of silt which in turn sprouted grass and eventually began to hold small amounts of water. Spurred by this small success the couple rounded up a team of locals and, armed with the knowledge of their forefathers in the ways of water retention, got to work.

It would take a lot of digging and another kind of specialized dam called a gabion to cause the effect they were looking for. The wisdom behind both types of dams lies in their ability to let the water pass through them slowly but not stop the flow completely. Conventional dams block all water at the cost of stagnating moving water and causing more erosion downstream. These little beauties slowed the water just enough to encourage silt deposits and saturation of the earth without disrupting the natural balance of the ecosystem.

The Austins worked day and night, pockmarking the area from mountain to field with their water-slowing structures. They eventually stopped counting when they reached 20,000 dams. A mere 12 years later, the once-useless ranch now teems with life and attracts scientists that wish to study the wildlife that has moved in since the resurrection. The ranch will probably never be a desert wetland again but thanks to Valer’s persistence in managing the water crisis, there is again beauty where there was destruction.

A theme begins to emerge as we look at another pioneer of water and environment expert Bill Mollison. This determined Aussie is dubbed the father of Permaculture; a branch of agriculture dedicated to a more permanent type of agriculture, hence the name.

As with Valer, Bill discovered early on the importance of slowing down water and preserving it in the greatest natural reservoir known to man, the earth itself. In a video titled “The Importance of Water Retention,” Bill explains how the landscape is the largest water storage we can use. He goes on to explain that conventional dams only hold 15% of rainwater before the rest runs off while the video shows images of a swale, a trench dug into the side of a hill for purposes of retaining rainwater, as it slowly captures water and forces it underground.

The secret all stems from moving water slowly through the earth, making it available to the plants that depend on it. Bill explains that it takes between 15 and 30 years for groundwater to reach the rivers and streams, all the while creeping just below the surface, supporting everything growing above and preventing drought.

Armed with this knowledge it becomes hard to understand why we still have water issues, dead pan soil and drought throughout the world. It is even harder to understand why Gary Harrington, a 64-year-old property owner in Oregon spent 30 days in jail for collecting his own rainwater and was fined multiple times for his “violation.”

At a time where restoring our land and preserving our water is of dire importance we see regular people begin to take the form of leaders and even face persecution for their efforts. It is in these actions that lines are drawn and steps are taken to shape our collective future. Hats off to those that follow their hearts and share the restorative power of water with us all.

Stephanie Monty is a freelance writer that works with Ward Water, a water purification company, that operates out of the state of Maine. Ward water specializes in Maine water containment removal using nano filtration systems and absorptive Media Resins.

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn

By Guest| October 28, 2012
Categories: Live


Mutual Cooperation amongst all Users of Land is tantamount to conservation.  Arguing about lifestyle choices does nothing to protect our Earth.  


Mutual Cooperation and Understanding are I the first steps toward Unity.


We all breath air, eat food, drink water, need shelter, need Love, and bleed.  We are all born.  We all live. We all die.


The work is to bring land developers into the dialogue and discourse.  To cultivate relationships and new ways of creating housing developments.  

Land Trusts are important in this endeavor.

Our world is changing.  More and more people are Awakening to a rising Expansion of Awareness.

We do ourselves a grave disservice by concentrating on what we do not wish to experience.

Love More, Expect Miracles

Hug a Tree.  Plant a garden.  Smile and welcome a stranger to join you.

I bless all with Love.

Fairy “Renegade Gardener” Plots World Domination Through Home-Grown Veggies Katrina Rabeler posted Jul 30, 2013 Ron Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, a "food desert" where nutritious eats are chronically unavailable. But when the fashion designer, personal trainer, poster collector, and father got tired of driving 45 minutes to buy an organic tomato, he decided to grow his own. Since then, he's started a gardening revolution in his inner city neighborhood, professing that "gardening is gangsta" and that an easy way to promote human rights at home is to "go plant some shit." The fame of this "renegade gardener" took off after his February TED talk (the video has over a million views and can be viewed at the end of this article). The New York Times called him "an Appleseed with an attitude." "People have been away from the dirt for so long." Because of all the hype, I definitely wasn’t expecting to see Finley saunter onto the stage of Seattle’s Queen Anne United Methodist Church wearing a pair of cargo shorts with saggy pockets, a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes—the ones that have little spaces for each of your toes—and a brown T-shirt that read "Get Dirty." As the pastor introduced him, Finley stretched his arms, broke out his camera, and took a couple of pictures of the audience. He wandered over to check out a picture on the wall and jumped around like a little kid—perhaps a little kid with ADHD. Finley’s take on gardening is similarly active. In the fall of 2010, he planted a "demonstration garden" on the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk—also known as a "curb strip"—in front of his house in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood where he has lived all his life. He says he was tired of living in the "food prison"—where the lack of access to healthy foods was causing diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. "If you look at the statistics, the drive thrus literally are killing more people than the drive-bys," Finley says.  A child gardens in South Central Los Angeles. Photo by Finley’s garden is a public explosion of color and smells. "I wanted people to get their senses blasted," he says. He didn’t just plant food, but also jasmine, lavender, and sunflowers that grew to ten feet tall. And it got the neighborhood’s attention. People would creep past his yard in their cars, rubbernecking. One day a kid strolled down the street wearing his headphones and then stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the sunflowers. "Yo, is that real?" Finley remembers him saying. A few days later, the kid was in the dirt helping out. Finley encouraged people to take what they needed from the garden. He shared tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant, pumpkins, and more with anyone who passed by his home, often people with few financial resources and little access to vegetables. In May of 2011, however, Finley received a citation from the city, which considered his plants "obstructions." They asked him to pay $400 for a permit or remove the garden. After getting 500 signatures on a petition posted on and gaining the confidence of a city councilman, Finley received a permit for free and eventually provoked the city to relax its laws on curb strip usage. "Growing your own food is like printing your own money." Since then, Finley has created the organization LA Green Grounds, which plants vegetable gardens in South Central yards free of charge and has installed public gardens in curb strips, homeless shelters, abandoned lots, and traffic medians. The all-volunteer organization has installed over 30 gardens. Finley gets people in the soil and hooks them on fresh homegrown vegetables and a do-it-yourself attitude. "People have been away from the dirt for so long," Finley says. "Once you get them in it, they’re gone." His admittedly simple idea is catching on in South Central. As for changing eating habits, Finley believes that gardening makes it happen. "Kids that grow kale eat kale," he says. "Kids that grow tomatoes eat tomatoes." His next plan is to bring shipping containers to the abandoned lots in South Central and turn them into cafes. The cafes will be attached to the gardens and serve as community hubs and places to teach cooking lessons. Though the city has become a little more lax in its laws, this renegade gardener still considers gardening to be dangerous, revolutionary work. Monsanto, GMOs, chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce, Cheetos, "Big Ag," seed patents—these are the villains Finley says we are up against. They’re "feeding the medical industrial complex" and killing us slowly by giving us diseases like diabetes and cancer, while fostering unnecessary relationships of dependence. "Growing your own food is like printing your own money," Finley says, adding that this is something the food companies don’t want us to realize. Finley does not identify as an environmentalist. "People ask me 'how did you get into the green initiative?'" he says. "I didn’t. I got into the life, the people, the health initiative." YES! speaks with Ron Finley Because of his renegade status, I thought Finley was going to have a "too cool for school" attitude, but he treated his audience like they were the most awesome people around. He admits he doesn’t have all the answers—he says he is simply preaching and practicing the gardening gospel that came to him. After his Seattle talk, Finley conversed with his fans for two hours, greeting each of us with a giant bear hug. Then I asked him some questions. Katrina Rabeler: Why is gardening "gangsta"? Ron Finley: Gardening is gangsta because it empowers, it changes, it uplifts, it creates life, it creates community, it builds. And to me, that's gangsta. Breaking down and polluting and trashing and negativity—to me, that's not gangsta. That's why I say we've got to flip the script on what gangsta is. "Nothing is straight in nature. So when I plant, I want it to be a palette like a tapestry." Rabeler: How do you make something that kid’s grandmothers probably do seem cool? Finley: Because it is. To me, the grannies are gangsta. [Chef and school lunch reformer] Alice Waters is one of the ultimate gangstas to me. Anytime you have that kind of effect and you're changing people like that and you're getting recognized and you're literally changing lives and creating life, that's gangsta. Rabeler: You’re also a fashion designer. How does that skill translate into gardening? Finley: The garden is just another canvas. I don't put in gardens the way people usually put them in—in rows. Nothing is straight in nature. So when I plant, I want it to be a palette like a tapestry. Color pops. I want people to see different heights, different colors, stuff that supposedly doesn't go together. Especially if it's on the street, I want people to take notice of it. Even when I give instructions to people, there're like, "Well, where should this go?" And I'm like, "I don't know. Where should it go?" And then people release. It's just like when you take a paintbrush to a canvas. There's no system. You just start. Rabeler: You talked a lot about kids in your talk. Are you reaching out to families too? Finley: Totally. When we put in gardens we usually do it for families. Because I want everyone affected by it. You can't do the one without doing the other. You can't change a child whose parents are not into gardening. The kid brings this home and the parent is going to go "We don't do dirt. Get that out of here. You can't bring that in the house. That's nature. Nature doesn't belong in the house." So that's when I talk about the cultural shift. We have to get the mammas and the papas and the children to realize that there’s a change. Because if you're growing but your parents don’t get it, they’re going to say, "We don't do that! We're not slaves." And that's the mentality of a lot of people: that we don't do it—we don't do that anymore. It's below them. "We eat at McDonalds. We don't grow our own food." Rabeler: What do you say to those parents who, when their kids come home excited about gardening, they say, "We’re above that?" "I want to see people who know that they can design their own life the way they want it to be." Finley: You try to get them in the dirt. You try to get them in the soil. You try to get them to taste the food and to see the difference and to change their wicked ways. We have to change culture. And that's big and it's hard and it's long. Because you've got this stuff that's ingrained in people. And they've become their environment. They've become the music. They've become the street. They've become the concrete. That's their DNA now. So that's the biggest shift that we have to do. We have to break this culture. And it takes years to do that. It takes years. Rabeler: Your collection of film posters is in the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles. It’s titled Travels Through Blackness: The Ron Finley Collection of International Movie Posters, 1920s to 1970s. Is gardening also a medium by which you can "travel through blackness?" Finley: Totally. Because a lot of the stuff we, Africans, brought here. Watermelon is from Africa. We brought rice over here. Everybody thinks it's an Asian thing. Africans brought a ton of the agriculture over here. And that's why slave owners used them for agriculture. They brought it. The women would store seeds in their skirts and they brought all kinds of stuff here. Rabeler: You mentioned in your talk that there can be a competitive attitude to gardening. What does it take for us to go from that attitude to a collaborative one? Finley: It's not far at all. And that's what it should be and that's what you should be encouraging. If I put a garden in your place, you have to help on the next garden. It's a pay it forward kind of thing. That's what it's all about. If we all do that, everybody's going to have a garden. If we all pitch in. It's almost like a barn-raising with the Quakers. Now everybody's got a barn. Because everybody pitched in. Rabeler: What's your biggest wish for your project? Finley: World domination. That we have healthy, sustainable food sources all over the world. That people understand that you can do this yourself. There are entities that don't care about our health. They don't care about us. They've shown that millions and millions of times. So we have to do it. It's the only way it's going to happen. I want to see people empowering themselves with sustainable food, sustainable lives, and being able to live free—where they don't have to be supported or expect somebody else to support them. I want to see empowerment and people who know that they have it and know that they can change their life—know that they can change their manufactured reality and design their own life the way they want it to be. And that's what gardens represent to me.   Katrina Rabeler wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Katrina is an editorial assistant at YES!

LA City Council approves curbside planting of fruits and vegetables

he L.A. City Council has voted to allow Angelenos to plant fruits and vegetables in their parkways - that strip of city-owned land between the sidewalk and the street - without a permit. Fruit trees, however, will still require a permit.

Until now, planting anything other than grass or certain shrubs on that strip required a $400 permit, and homeowners were often fined for not complying. But the ordinance approved Wednesday says people can replace shrubs or grass with edible plants like fruits and vegetables, as long as they follow the city’s guidelines for landscaping parkways.

The problem is, updated guidelines aren’t ready yet. City staff still has to revise them to include rules for edible plants, like how far they must be from the curb and how tall they can grow. Those guidelines must then be approved by the city council.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Councilman Bernard Parks asked staff to pay special attention to how planting fruit and vegetables in parkways might affect sidewalk access for drivers, pedestrians and people with disabilities.

Stalks of corn or passion fruit vines planted too close to the curb, for example, might make it impossible for people to get out of their cars.

The rule change is the culmination of years of advocacy by community groups. They have been pushing the city to make it easier for residents -- especially in poorer, crowded neighborhoods -- to grow their own food. The city council began working on Wednesday's rule change nearly two years ago.

Mayor Eric Garcetti now has 10 days to approve the ordinance. Assuming he does, it will take effect roughly 30 days later. Councilman Parks said he hopes that the revised landscaping guidelines will be ready before then.

KCET, 50 Years: Inspiring a better State SHOWS | NEWS | ARTS | LIVING | SOCAL | VIDEO | SCHEDULE | ABOUT Newsletter SUPPORT 50 Years: Inspiring a better State TV SCHEDULE|ABOUTSEARCH Newsletter KCET SHOWS NEWS ARTS LIVING SOCAL VIDEO SUPPORT LIVING Living > Home & Garden > In-Ground Gardens > L.A. City Council Approves the Planting of Urban Edible Parkway Gardens IN-GROUND GARDENS L.A. City Council Approves the Planting of Urban Edible Parkway Gardens by Linda Ly April 2, 2015 10:45 AM SHAREShare on emailShare on printMore Sharing Services Image by LAGreenGrounds/Flickr/Creative Commons Up until a few weeks ago, planting anything other than grass (or certain shrubs) on curbsides required a $400 permit from the city of Los Angeles, and homeowners were often fined for not complying with those regulations. Considering that a curbside is an underutilized strip of land between the sidewalk and the street, the regulations were a point of contention in lower-income neighborhoods, which often lack green space and access to fresh, healthy foods. This month, however, urban farmers have reason to cheer. Los Angeles City Council recently voted to allow Angelenos to plant fruits and vegetables in these spaces (also known as parkways or hellstrips), which legally belong to the city. Local advocacy groups have been pushing for the new ordinance for years; we last reported on it in 2013. And though the guerrilla vegetable gardens are now allowed in L.A., municipal guidelines for parkway landscaping still have to be amended with the new rules. Council members are now updating the code to include specifications on how tall the plants can grow and far they must be from the curb so as not to impede sidewalk access. A copy of the revised ordinance (adopted by the City Council on March 4, 2015) can be found here: L.A. City Ordinance: 183474, Sec .62.169. (b): No permit is required by the owner of property fronting the parkway portion of the street in an area zoned for residential use in order for the owner to remove existing shrubs and plants, but not trees, and replace the shrubs and plants with landscaping, including edible plant materials, in the owner's parkway provided the owner complies with the Residential Parkway Landscaping Guidelines adopted by the Board.

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