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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Earth Day, 2016

Earth Day, 2016

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, April 22, 2016/Categories: wildlife conservation, birds, marine life, sustainability, environment, climate change, plants

                    Ascension Island with Green Mountain, March 2010  (TERRA satellite)

When Charles Darwin visited Ascension it was barren. The remote Atlantic island had an ecosystem consisting solely of rocks, a few miniature ferns and grasses, a mountain, and not a single tree. Ascension represents the tip of an undersea, and still active volcano, that arose above the ocean barely a million years ago. The island's highest point is Green Mountain at 2800 feet high. In 1843 the botanist Joseph Hooker, also visited the island and upon viewing the mountain decided to launch an ambitious effort to turn it "green". In the process Hooker created one of the world's first environmental restoration projects and one on a landscape scale.

The famous botanist approached London's Kew Gardens to initiate his long-term plan to ship trees to the Ascension. Hooker suggested planting trees would capture moisture from oceanic clouds, improve the soil, and allow the island to become a garden. From 1850 and continuing for years, sailing ships arrived with plants from South America, Europe, and South Africa. Within 20 years, species of pines, bamboo, eualyptus, bananas, and others grew in such abundance on the peak that they had created a cloud forest.

Today is Earth Day. It is also 150 years since an early natural scientist showed what was possible to do for an environment needing restoration when wise efforts are instituted. Today we face a myriad of environmental issues unknown to Hooker. These stem from air and water pollution; habitat destruction; species extinction; marine, corals, and ocean abuses; deforestation; and central most of all, climate change. Tf we want to sustain viable ecosystems changes must be made.

TheParis Agreement on Climate Change was Paris agreement on Climate Change was signed today, Earth Day. It could represent a beginning of global efforts to make productive environmental, technological, and economic changes everywhere. We certainly have the scientific knowledge, technology, and talent if we choose to use them.

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