#377 — John Michael Greer blogs at Ecosophia, subtitle, Toward an Ecological Spirituality. JMG has been an astute observer of Western Civ’s arduous economic and cultural descent, and is the author of many books, both novels and non-fiction, including Green Wizardry, After Oil, The Wealth of Nature, and Not the Future We Ordered. Star’s Reach, is a novel set 400 years ahead in America’s neo-medieval future, The King in Orange, a meditation on the relationship between archetype psychology and the occult as acted out in politics and culture. Things are getting weird in America, wouldn’t you agree? Even a bit supernatural. To help us navigate through this wilderness of the weird, JMG and I talk about magic and the re-enchantment of daily life in these turbulent times.
The KunstlerCast theme music is the beautiful Two Rivers Waltz written and performed by Larry Unger.
When it comes to the world’s heaviest living organism, it is a “forest of one tree” that is thought to take the crown. Now a sound expert is listening into the quiet grove in an attempt to hear its secrets.
Known as Pando – Latin for “I spread” – the 47,000 genetically identical quivering aspens in south-central Utah are considered to be a single organism, with the “trees” actually branches thought to be connected by a shared root system.
The Arctic and surroundings are being transformed from carbon sink to carbon emitter.
The far north is both a massive carbon sink and a potent environmental time bomb. The region stores a huge amount of CO2 in boreal forests and underlying soils. Organic peat soil, for instance, covers just 3 percent of the Earth’s land area (there’s some in tropical regions, too), yet it contains a third of its terrestrial carbon. And Arctic permafrost has locked away thousands of years’ worth of plant matter, preventing rot that would release clouds of planet-heating carbon dioxide and methane.
But in a pair of recent papers, scientists have found that wildfires and human meddling are reducing northern ecosystems’ ability to sequester carbon, threatening to turn them into carbon sources. That will in turn accelerate climate change, which is already warming the Arctic four and a half times faster than the rest of the world, triggering the release of still more carbon—a gnarly feedback loop.