Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Sometimes you encounter a mainstream media climate article which you just have to share.
Call of the wild: listen up, people, time is running out
For decades, humans have been ignoring Mother Nature’s warnings about the future of the planet. Exactly how loudly does she have to scream?
By David Leser MAY 29, 2020
Daughter: “Mummy, what’s that smell?”
Mother: “It’s nature, darling.”
Daughter: “It’s like all the birds are wearing perfume.”
You notice these things when you’re young, or still capable of retaining a childlike sense of wonder, or you find yourself, as I do one day, in an enchanted forest while great stretches of the country are burning.
You notice nature’s perfume and all its physical, fairy-tale qualities. You see giant mountain ash soaring 70 metres up into the light, along with blackwoods, candlebarks, stringybarks and every kind of tree fern growing at right angles out of the wire grass and undergrowth. You smell a wet forest of needles and frass, of nutrient-rich soil, rotting wood and creeping moss, and as you smell and see all this, you feel – or, at least, I do – that you’re sensing it for the first time, perhaps even the last.
I happened to be in the Yarra State Forest in central Victoria when I heard that daughter’s question to her mother, although it sounded to me more like a supplication. Mummy, what’s that smell?
The electrical impulses that pass through the roots of trees, for example, move at the slow rate of one third of an inch per second. But why, you might ask, do trees pass electrical impulses through their tissues at all? The answer is that trees need to communicate, and electrical impulses are just one of their many means of communication.”
Flannery also argued that trees used their sense of smell and taste for communication. If a giraffe starts nibbling, say, an African acacia, the tree will release a chemical into the air that signals an imminent threat. As the chemical wafts through the air and reaches other trees, these trees “smell” it and are warned of the danger. Even before the giraffe reaches them, the trees have begun manufacturing toxic chemicals as a defence.
“But the most astonishing thing about trees,” Flannery wrote, “is how social they are. The trees in a forest care for each other, sometimes even going so far as to nourish the stump of a felled tree for centuries after it was cut down by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, and so keeping it alive.”
…Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/call-of-the-wild-listen-up-people-time-is-running-out-20200424-p54mzq.html
I’d love to get a Tim Flannery Climate Council tree root electric impulse translator so I can ask my citrus trees when they plan to produce more fruit, but sadly they don’t seem to stock them on Ebay.