Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Whippersnappers

It was a dark and stormy night quite a few years ago, as I drove with trepidation down a flooded dirt road, slippery with mud, when I passed a huge hollow tree that had blown over. Suddenly a tiny unidentifiable apparition latched onto my windshield from out of nowhere. It stared directly at me with great glossy eyes, clinging frantically to the wipers, and had to be a bat, probably rabid!

In dread and horror, I called my daughter, who was waiting for my return, safe and dry at home. "There's a bat stuck on my windshield!" I shrieked.


"Turn on the wipers, it will go away," she advised.

"No no, then it will get squished and be gross and disgusting! You must come here and shoo it off!" I commanded.

So, she drove the short distance and with what turned out to be a Victoria's Secret shopping bag conveniently abandoned in the back seat of her car (what's with that?), she scooped up the critter, bundled it up, and we separately drove home.

In the kitchen we cautiously unfurled the bag and discovered, not a bat at all, but what we decided could only be a soft and fuzzy baby flying squirrel.

That accidental adoptee became Whippersnapper, who wreaked absolute havoc the entire span of his brief life, escaping with tedious regularity from his cage, and cruising from the top of one valance to the other, a loose renegade for days at a time. We caught him with nets, treats, towels, and potholders (they bite!) or whatever else was at hand, when we were lucky.

Well, but he was cute. Okay! Adorable! In a sweet little rodent sort of way.

So, after he died, and I was sad, my kids decided I needed ANOTHER one (NOOOOO) and found one - on the internet, naturally.

Being nocturnal, The Whipper toils in obscurity in the kitchen (being very shy) every night when he emerges from his lair and races maniacally around his cage in circles, so fast he is a blur. I have yet to decide if he is terrified of his feline audience, or is taunting them. "Nyah nyah, can't catch me!"

In the picture above he is holding a cherry that he snatched from my fingers. He loves fruit.



Cleome


A morning glory is at its best on a humid, overcast day.

The nice lady who lives in this house let me come up close to photograph her flowers, which she grows in pots on the porch.


This is a link to a compilation of studies about ozone damage to plants from commenter Daniel on my last blog post. It is the most important thing I have ever posted on this blog, because it explains what is happening. And it does not bode well, at all, for the future.

http://membrane.com/trees/ozone_plants.html

I could have titled this post, "IT'S THE OZONE, STUPID"

Here are samples of leaves I collected yesterday, before Daniel sent me his fateful link, that exactly replicate the damage described on his website.



Oak

Hydrangea

Maple

Redbud, Beech, and a Maple


It is utterly terrifying because not only does ozone damage trees, which is unimaginably devastating in and of itself, it damages annual crops.

The best minds in the world (and I am certainly not among them) should be focussed on two things:
1. How to get to clean energy as fast as possible
2. How to construct atmospherically controlled greenhouses for food production.

Of course, when you have nonsense such as what is described here by filthy rich oil and coal lobbyists, we may not get there in time:

2 comments:

  1. Now that the cause of the tree's distress is known to be ozone and not climate change, what steps can be taken to reduce ozone?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ozone IS climate change, Paul Kelly. You are skimming when you need to read carefully.

    The solution remains to stop burning fossil fuels.

    "The chemical known as ozone may be making a much more significant contribution to global warming than scientists had previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

    "Ozone could be twice as important as we previously thought as a driver of climate change," said study co-author Peter Cox.

    Ozone occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere, but is produced in the lower atmosphere when sunlight strikes industrial pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides.

    Scientists have long known that ozone is a greenhouse gas, trapping radiation within the atmosphere and leading to rising global temperatures. But the new study suggests that ozone may have a much more significant climate impact by adversely affecting plants' ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

    According to the researchers, high concentrations of ozone and carbon dioxide damage plants' ability to engage in photosynthesis. This weakens the plants, causing their stomata (pores in the leaves) to close. In turn, this reduces that amount of carbon dioxide or ozone that the plants are able to absorb."

    from http://membrane.com/global_warming/notes/ozone_chokes.html

    ReplyDelete

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