Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Podcast Interview Answer #10 How Ecological Succession Compares to People’s “Social Succession” with Special Warning?

Podcast Interview Answer #10 How Ecological Succession Compares to People’s “Social Succession” 
with Special Warning?

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” 
Chief Seattle

Ecological succession is the process of gradual change in a community over time. It is based on organization that can predict the sense of a new development in any habitat. In some ways, nothing can remain the same except adapting to change itself. 

With nature, if we had a 100 years to spare,  we could concretely watch ecological plant succession in action to adapt to an altered environment in predictable ways starting from grasses, bushes, small trees and larger trees over time to restore balance and order. 

Nature’s ecosystems are complex, dynamic and adaptive with inbuilt resilience and capacity to cope  with environmental disturbances or stress and return to former stability.

What about a community’s systems or social succession to survive a severe uprooting of normal life?  Is there anything that nature’s ecological principles can help people to pass through any such a disaster to a level of sustainability again?

Social succession has yet to be defined in  a dictionary, but the comparison can be made to nature’s ecological succession. The case is made in 3 parts with a few supporting details:
  1. Common principles relative to both nature’s and people’s communities
  2. What if a global disaster undermines social systems and  foundations?
  3. Warning about never losing the collective will

Part 1: Common principles relative to both nature’s and people’s communities

One consequence of living is to change and adapt as one's environment is altered.  The main issues become how to help manage connections, maintain diversity, broaden participation, and foster adaptive systems thinking. 

  • we live in an interconnected world and need to think and act globally
  • as environments change, adaptations are small and doable by everyone … wear a mask
  • transitions are long term and require tolerance and patience
  • a diversity of participants are needed as facilitators to help the common goals of survival
  • front-line workers become the essential links to survival from janitors, drivers, cashiers to doctors
  • a democratic system assures every member steps beyond private rights to common good

Part 2: What if a global disaster undermines people’s foundations and systems?

How can a society survive when people are impacted economically, physically and mentally?  On a planet of 7.5 billion people,  nobody is immune to this novel respiratory virus, CoVid 19, that can destroy lungs and other organs without natural immunity. 

In many ways, this viral pandemic will challenge the important principles of  ecological or social succession because of one reason … stay isolated for safety.  

Individual isolation is recommended as the main way to stop infections but lock-downs inside homes and social distancing are NOT the norms for Nature’s principles of change and adaptions. After a forest fire, the inhabitants draw together even more to support each other’s life-cycles. Unnatural situations can arise:

  • individual communities are easily fragmented into fears, scapegoats and self-defensive behavior
  • several socio-economic dysfunctions are displayed between racial and ethnic  inequalities
  • economic recession can follow loss of jobs, displacements, future employment
  • virtual reality grips a stronger hold on online retail monopolies that suppress individual small businesses
  • specialized e-learning for in-house groups removes group problem solving and decision making
  • virtual relationships are objectified without working and building together
  • emotions rely on sensory experiences to feel empathy, sense of fairness and equality which may atrophy
  • leaders seek ways to integrate technology into every aspect of civic life like surveillance and vaccinations without democratic approval
  • autocratic dispositions that promise instant solutions or panaceas to placate the  helpless, hopeful believers
  • wearing a simple face mask to protect everyone from breathing in a viral disease, symptomatically or asymptomatically, as advised by scientists, becomes a political football.

Over time these less than normal routines can evolve into divisive anti-social problems with serious loss of natural affinities by developing more tribes, partisanship and nationalization instead of common cause and effect within globalization.  

Think about Nature who doesn’t set leadership roles ... just common affinity for each organism's right to exist. Nature does not offer miracles...just logical progressions from single cells to complex beings and systems. 

Nature offers the only solution that it is only the collective will, that can make lasting changes.

  Part 3  Warning: Never lose the collective will 

In times of such overpowering disruption of normal standards or routines, the opportunity is availed to make changes and adaptations for a more inclusive and successful community within a better environment for all citizens, including nature’s rights.

  • plan a different economy that is kinder to the climate and the planet
  • form cooperative societies worldwide to pursue interests in science, artisans, entrepreneurship, culture  
  • be resourceful in new developing new technologies  and skills while protecting ecological balance and nature’s rights to exist, regenerate and restore.

Most importantly, no crisis should ever reduce the people’s sense of belonging to and functioning as a community. We must never regress to living each for himself or revert to living within an isolationist policy.  As intelligent human beings, let’s choose to follow Nature’s presence as prerogatives to man-made regulations. 

Imagine if the bees decided that they would stop pollinating … nature wouldn’t survive, and neither would people.   
To that end, this solitary birch tree personifies how ecological succession could work in human terms through his experiences. 
Care for your own small space, no need to aggrandize.
Look after basic needs of others in your community, weak to strong. 
Be true to yourself based on your actions, not appearance or other opinions. 
No need to compete, stay content, maintain calmness within imitations.
Understand there is a beginning for every ending, as well as social succession for recovery. 

Whatever else, enjoy nature's communion. Take time to smell a flower and watch a tree dance in the breeze and wonder how nature connects and protects us all.  

Questions and comments are always important and appreciated. How do you feel about nature's principles to help us through this health and environmental crisis?

1 833 471 4661 (leave a message for the best time to talk)

 "Nature is full of rules to help sustain each other but there is one great law whether it is written or not. This greatest law of nature is we are all connected ... when we change our seeds we change our biology … when we pollute our food, we pollute ourselves. It is impossible to alter one strand without changing the others.”

Is this how a pandemic can be visualized? We need People Power to turn it around.

Monday, 25 May 2020

New ebook who care about Nature... Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch

Podcast Interview Question # 9: Why Big Picture Learning about Nature is Best Described as “Making the Invisible Visible?”

Podcast Interview Question # 9: Why Big Picture Learning about Nature is Best Described as “Making the Invisible Visible?”

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Albert Einstein

This will be one of the most important blogs or conversations I can have especially because I am a both a teacher and a student of the natural world.

My job is to help grow concepts as fundamental building blocks of thoughts, beliefs,abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind. My challenge is how to make sure that  mature concepts include the Big Picture overview, investigate the roots or origins, avoid patchwork thinking and stay adaptive to changes.  

On one hand, talking about the principles of teaching to facilitate the process of learning comes easily:  lesson plans, learning objectives, content analysis, comprehension questions, deductive answers that open up both critical and  creative thinking.

My teaching career has been based on the 4 general principles of learning 
  1. Concrete experience … sensory perceptions of differences or similarities with objects and their actions 
  2. Reflective observation … use words or images to describe experiences
  3. Abstract conceptualization … emotional feedback … critical and creative thinking (decision making) 
  4. Active engagement … content exercises to reinforce personal understanding and memory

On the other hand, there are so many realities, especially in nature, that cannot be seen by the human eye. We can look at a tree with shining leaves dancing in the sun, but do you visualize the layers of growth inside the trunk or see the network of roots? Can you honestly give credence to the amazing composite Big Picture without some curiosity how the smallest details play such important roles?

Some of the most amazing things I have learned about Nature are not visible to the naked eye, but nevertheless are main components in their natural functions and organization. Some agents are uni-cellular or microscopic without which the first steps in a long process can't begin. Some energy flows are vital and all- encompassing affecting cells to organs to bodies to ecosystems. How do you pay homage to systems with no critical parts missing? 

Here are some examples best understood as a composite whole:

Why is good dirt so valuable? Look inside the decomposition value of fertile topsoil with humus is started with microorganisms, bacterial and fungi. Without humus, plants wouldn’t grow as well affecting animal consumers, including humans.

How does a leave breathe or make food? Look inside the cellular structure of a leave to see different layers of cells and holes for breathing. Some cells contain chloroplasts filled with envelopes of green chlorophyll that react with sunlight to make a simple sugar compound.

How does a flower make a fruit or vegetable? Look inside the flower petals ready to attract pollinators to shake the pollen from the anthers to the receiving ovary which will develop into a mature fruit with its own seeds for dissemination.

How do pesticides affect the food web for everyone? Look at a synthetic Organochlorine molecule made up of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine which build toxic concentrations and magnify food-webs from microorganisms, to frogs, to birds, to fish that humans eat.

How do you protect the precious fresh-water cycle? Look at the passage of a water droplet through many stages in his water cycle beginning and ending with the ocean, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, run-off, percolation, pollution, assimilation into nutrient cycles, and human digestion.

How do you protect the Ecosystem? Draw a map that connects all levels from non-living factors (air, water) to primary food producers (plants) to secondary food producers (animals) to decomposers (recycle waste into nutrients). Add factors of climate change and human interactions.  

One of the most amazing miraculous compositions by nature has to be the process of photosynthesis … we can’t physically see it happening, but without it, life would not be possible on earth, so it's best to understand the basics.  
  • It begins with the specialized structure of green plants that have cells called chloroplasts that contain the green chemical,  chlorophyll.
  • The sun’s light energy activates it, and together with carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) a carbohydrate molecule (C6 H12 O6) as a simple sugar, glucose or fructose, is formed.   
  • These simple sugar molecules bind with glucose to form the disaccharide sucrose (C12 H22 O11) which is  absorbed directly into blood during digestion.
  • Note that oxygen is released as a byproduct which supplies the oxygen content for the Earth’s atmosphere.

I have never looked at a leave the same way again! My responsibility for and admiration of Nature have never been stronger than when holding a leaf in my hand in communion with its molecular structures and functions that can making food for everyone from air and water. The question is how I can share this communion with others, especially young people?

In my opinion, there is nothing more antithetical to the learning process than to be a narrow-minded, opinionated, fuzzy thinker with incomplete facts and lack of connections. Importantly, knowledge cannot be limited to what is obvious, but must go beyond the visible to the microscopic life forms that begin the energy cycles that intertwine Nature's bio-systems together.

So, here was my teacher’s challenge. How do you take Nature’s complex functional interdependence and present the cases for self-organization, mutual reciprocity, and respect equality for every creature? You write a story with living characters so they can become heroes and friends. You don't bully a good friend, right?

So, I wrote two e-books for all ages where nature’s major characters were personified as talking, interactive, feeling organisms with many chapters about probable experiences. If they can inspire a few more minutes to look at a leave or a bumblebee, then my educational mission is accomplished.
  1. The water sprite with roots had to commute between the animal and plant world on his mission to discover Cyclical Truths.
  2. The birch tree is inhabited by a tree dryad who as the age-old essence of knowledge having traveled with people before, shares his experiences, community and realities of succession.

Both stories have numerous pictures and diagrams to best offer a Big Picture overview. 

Along with this  personal narration, the hope is that each reader will find identity and purpose in life through connections to their community, to nature’s  bio-systems and  to compassion and  peaceful co-existence.

Questions and comments are always appreciated and welcome. What is an unique experience with the natural world that takes your breath away?

1 833 471 4661 (leave a message for a return call)
Excerpt: And then the shattering of that glass bottle; for what purpose, he wondered.  Why do people do that without reason except for a momentary fling, some entertainment? What was their reason to leave their own personal mark for the sake of many futures to come? Why couldn’t they see that they could  pass on the legacy of a tree as nature intended to their offspring to admire and respect? Their lifespans were so much shorter than most trees so why would they endanger their existence for a few symbols?  Words didn’t exist in nature, other than when people called them “things,” possibly to suit their limited visions rather than embrace the abundance of nature itself without words. Did people have words to celebrate the connections in harmony with nature that only an invisible spirit could invoke? 

Photosynthesis ... ever wonder how a leave makes food?

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Podcast Interview Answer #8: Why a Spider Web is the Best Way to Explain Morality in Nature and Society?

Podcast Interview Answer #8:  Why a Spider Web is the Best Way to Explain Morality in Nature and Society?

The Sun God imagined the creatures of the earth, and Spider Woman turned these thoughts into living plants, animals, and people. She attached a thread of her spider silk to each person to provide access to her wisdom and protection.  Southwestern Native legend

Spider Woman is an important figure in the mythology, oral traditions and folklore of many Native American cultures, especially in the Southwestern United States. She had a role in the creation of the earth and continued to protect her people by teaching them to grow corn, make clay pots, and spin and weave. Through her silk threads she maintained the connections of all humankind.

In many ways the spider’s web can be used as an excellent moral metaphor for our society. 
So much of our social nature is based on moral behavior with our language, laws, institutions, and culture which has allowed humanity to cooperate and progress.  We like to collaborate as individuals with common intentions and work together for mutual benefits.  

Two morals stand out in a community:

  1. sympathy ... the concern and respect for other beings
  2. fairness ... the idea that everyone should get what they deserve 

Undoubtedly, our society is changing dramatically with technology and, perhaps, this sense of innate community values may be buried under layers of social demands, expectations and exploitation. Do you think that  today’s culture encourages the pursuit of self-interest for selfish benefits and to persuade others they are morally right to do so?

The problem is that we have a world of connections at our fingertips to collaborate and help resolve common society’s and environmental issues with understanding and fairness; but, too many times, the narrow focus is on tribes, partisanship, nationalism and ideological differences.  

Perhaps it's the right time to see how nature's intricate knowledge makes a spider’s web.

A spider needs a dinner trap so he follows a genetic code of radii and spirals to create his sticky orb. The silk thread is produced in special silk glands and physically pulled through a set of spinnerets on the abdomen to transform the liquid silk into solid threads. Once the lightweight thread is started, the spider lifts its spinnerets into the breeze so it can swing and anchor itself unto a tree branch. Then he  can use the thread to “tightrope walk” from one tree to another.

Some amazing facts about spiders just because Nature is omnipotent:

  • Many spiders build new webs each night or day, depending on when they hunt.
  • Spiders silk is strong, tensile and flexible. This amazing material is about twice as strong as steel (when comparing the same mass of both).
  • Some spiders eat their webs, replenishing their silk supply material (protein).
  • Webs can be used for transport from one high point to another called ballooning or kiting.

Some amazing weaving skills:
  • The first strand of silk is called the bridge thread.
  • The second strand becomes the center point from which other radial spokes are anchored to surrounding vegetation.
  • spiral thread starts from the inside and moves out to bind all the radial threads together.
  • A second spiral web is made from sticky silk from the outside in that is used to capture prey.

The web’s structure is fragile, practical and framed by previous experience where its many strands pass through a central point. It symbolizes patience and persistence because of its  unique technique of setting webs and weaving its own world of survival. 

It is a simple extrapolation to think about what kinds of webs Nature would weave compared to people’s webs of business and consumerism.

Nature’s strands would include climate, clean water, food security, ecosystems, diversity, adaptation, recycling, environment, etc.

Business strands would include industry, technology, manufacturing, transportation, pollution, education, science, etc.

People’s strands would include malls, shopping, advertisements, money, credit, recreation, self-ego, virtual reality, friends, culture, etc.  

The future challenge, I believe, it is more important than ever to integrate Nature’s web partnerships in a world that is hyper-globalized and hyper-connected. No one country can do it alone. These threats are happening now and need immediate mitigation steps:  unchecked industrialization, degradation of natural habitats, destructive agriculture, pollution of entire seas, ozone depletion, and global warming.

As complicated as these webs become, there needs to be center focus, some sense of affinity that all strands are parts of a shared community and biology. 

It is not a great mystery but a reality that we are not separate beings, a physical body unto ourselves, but our awareness and existence are to share the energy of life with others. 

Our center is to live with purpose and promise, to learn lessons, to face challenges and to seek balance and order. 

The more we learn about nature’s incredible knowledge, the more we understand that everything in Nature is interconnected and must never be subordinated to human activity. 

Like the Spider Woman teaches us  … the past, the present, and the future of every animate and inanimate being in our universe, including human beings, is defined by its interconnection to everything else. If any of these links are broken, Nature at any scale will change or simply not operate.

And so, the simple story is told of a birch tree as a love story for all ages who care about family, community and environment. 

 Questions and comments are always welcome. What are your fair and sympathetic connections with Nature?

1 833 471 4661

"And here’s the point, my dear Birchum, as you can see, every thread is connected to every other thread. If you shake one, all the others shake. If you break one, the others break, too.  

The web has one purpose, Birchum, as varied and profound as it is, it can only catch one thing without breaking. And it’s not a physical thing. It is a feeling that moves the spirit to connect, unite and flourish. It is called love. Sometimes it takes great imagination to see how we are all connected by love.” 

Podcast Interview Answer #7: What's the Symbolism of a Cocoon in the Story as the Metamorphosis Process in a Consumer Society?

Podcast Interview Answer #7:  What's the Symbolism of a Cocoon in the Story as the Metamorphosis Process in a Consumer Society?

Adolescence is a period of transformation, not unlike a chrysalis changing into a butterfly. If you have never seen this process, it can be painstakingly difficult to watch. The butterfly gradually breaks free of his cocoon, pulling and pushing, stretching and contracting for what seems like an eternity before he finally emerges. If a benevolent onlooker decides to help the process along, the butterfly will likely die, because it is only through the struggle of metamorphosis that he gains the strength to survive on his own. 
    Donna Volpitta, Ed.D   The Adolescent Metamorphosis

Symbolism is using a word or object to represent a real thing or an abstract idea. The symbol of a cocoon in this story represents the persons, places and actions of a consumer driven society. (Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch)
This symbol appeared as a real object on one of my walks in the forest. There it hung a small cylindrical shape wrapped in a fuzzy grey blanket attached by a small foot to a twig.  Inside a life cycle was unfolding in preparation for adulthood to survive in the world around it ... from a caterpillar into a butterfly or a moth.

One of the most truly amazing occurrences of nature is complete metamorphosis when one creature can completely change into a different creature. It begins with eggs that hatch into larvae or caterpillars which then transform into a pupa. The pupa hardens its protective covering or builds its cocoon as its home to hibernate until it can emerge as an adult. It can get out by cutting its way out, or secreting a liquid that softens the cocoon enough to break through the walls.

Cocoons are made by moth caterpillars from rather sticky strands of silk that are emitted from glands near their mouths that are woven into external cocoons depending on their species... very loose and open, or strong, tightly woven ones.

Butterflies, with very few exceptions, don’t spin cocoons; instead, their pupae form a  chrysalis of hardened protein for protection as they begin their transformation.   

But here is what is truly amazing about Nature’s handiwork ... a complicated insect recycling process kept as simple as possible. The caterpillar body breaks down, digesting itself from the inside out!  The same juices used to digest food as a larva are now used to break down its own body into imaginal or stem  cells. These cells are undifferentiated cells which means they can become any type of cell as they are put back together to form a new shape and body.

Metamorphosis is one way that nature has to transition from young pupae to adult stage and survival. That day looking at the cocoon attached to the branch, I wondered what kind of metamorphosis young people go through as they change into adults and responsibilities. For the butterfly, the process takes about 7-10 days. For humans, it takes about 10-15 years.

Obviously, this is a volume unto itself; socially, physically, and emotionally. But my main concern is how our society is grounded in the consumer world. 

Consumerism is defined as a society in which people often buy new goods, especially goods that they do not need, and in which a high value is placed on owning many things.

Today young people grow up in a Social Media environment where comparison to objective standards and acquisition of popular trends have high rankings to be a somebody. So much communication is already adult orientated to dress, talk, brag or ‘like’ a certain way to get rewards.The normal social rites of passage are replaced with peer relationships moderated by mass media technology and hyperbole. What juices feed their minds or bodies?

The tragedy is that the adolescent brain runs on emotional amygdala reactions because the logical, deductive part of the frontal brain doesn’t develop until early 20’s. I believe, teenagers, especially teen girls, are manipulated unfairly to value selfish commerce through big business, profits, sales, brands, competition and will probably transition to an adulthood where money, fame, material possessions will determine status or mental well-being.

What about values here to recycle and respect Nature’s finite bio-systems? Where are the values of co-operation, diversity, equality and succession?   

Let’s compare consumerism in the natural world.

In the natural world a consumer is an organism with one job ... to find food and eat for  energy. There are 4 types of consumers; herbivores (plant eaters), carnivores (meat eaters), omnivores (plant and animal eaters), and detritivores (decomposers).

These consumers live in an organized ecosystem that can best transfer food from one organism to the next. Their role is to balance the food chain to keep plant and animal populations at a reasonable number.  If the food supply chain is broken, the ecosystem is disrupted, and the consumer web becomes nonfunctional. Air quality, water and even climate change are all affected.

The Big Picture question is food for thought. WHAT IF nature can set an example for people to consume more fairly and efficiently? Here are some possible actions to start new habits for young people as they metamorphose into lifelong survival:
  • Buy into basic necessities like whole foods not processed cans of food
  • Determine your status by how much less you have in order to be sufficient
  • Do not power your brain to run on material possessions, branding or self-ego
  • Make your opinions and decisions as independently as you wish (do what's right not what others tell you to do with Nature's helping hand.)

Questions and comments are welcome and always appreciated.

What reasons do you have to to change your consumer habits? 

1 833 471 4661 (please not a time for a call-back)

"First, what value did they find in nature’s bio-systems starting with the worms and the bees?  Or would their value systems be based on their business ‘Mega Plants’ in order to supply their ‘Mega Malls’ in competition with or even elimination of nature’s cycles? Or would their private and public technology create their own bio-systems to be more important and eradicate nature’s ecosystems?  How would the giant money network, like a cavernous spider, determine their actions? Would the wonders and systems on Earth lose out to broken chains, contaminated environments and artificial food webs because Nature could not speak in tongues and her voice was not heard?  

Friday, 22 May 2020

Podcast Interview Answer #6: Why are Natural Seeds so Precious Versus GMO Seeds versus Phytonutrients?

Podcast Interview Answer #6: Why are Natural Seeds so Precious versus GMO Seeds versus Phytonutrients? 

When health is absent,  wisdom cannot reveal itself …. strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied.  Herophilus

What is inside Nature’s seed?

One of the best lesson plans that opened the eyes and minds of my 8 year-old students was to discover what is inside a seed. We used bean seeds for their medium size, soaked them in water for 3 days to swell and soften. In short time, a small stub of a root with hairs poked its way through one end. Carefully the seed would be opened to reveal the baby plant inside curled up so pale with tiny, clearly outlined leaves getting ready to take the job of growing up and producing a bean plant.

In fact, every seed from tiny poppy seeds to giant coconut seeds have three essential parts:
  1. a seed coat which protects them while they grow and develop, starting underground
  2. a baby plant or embryo
  3. cotyledons which store the food (endosperm) the baby plants use to grow before they can use sunlight to produce their own food.

What is inside a a GMO seed?

A genetically modified seed has been genetically engineered in a laboratory to create a combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature.

So how is a GMO seed made?
  1. shave off or chip off a tiny piece of the seed and grind it into a powder to  analyze with genome-mapping technology
  2. Shoot the genes' DNA into the plant tissue to be modified by using "gene guns", literally a .22-caliber gun
  3. Create plant progenitor cells with the new DNA so when its planted and pollinated it can advance into the next generation

In my opinion, a problem can happen when the DNA of a bacterium or fungi can be injected into the seed’s chromosomes to duplicate an anti-herbicide genetic plant. Currently, transgenic crops produce soybeans, alfalfa, corn, cotton, spring canola, sugar beets and winter canola with GMO seeds that are modified to reduce pesticide and herbicide use.

 But what happens when we eat the products of these plants, are we also ingesting genes from bacteria and fungi?

GMO is everywhere. 

  • Animal products from livestock, apiculture, and aquaculture are exposed because of  genetically engineered ingredients that are common in animal feed which includes eggs, milk, meat, honey, and seafood.
  • Processed food products may contain GMO derivatives like hydrolyzed vegetable protein, corn syrup, molasses, sucrose, flavorings, vitamins,  yeast products,  oils & fats, and other sweeteners.
  • It is estimated that more than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have herbicide tolerance against weedkillers like Roundup. The herbicide glyphosate (the key ingredient in Roundup)  “can probably cause cancer in humans ( World Health Organization, March 2015)
  • Genetically modified crops also produced resistant “super-weeds” and “super-bugs,” which can only be killed with ever more toxic poisons such as 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). Soil fertility may be affected with less micro-nutrients and bees may be poisoned by toxins on flowers … the seriousness of which cannot be overstated. Once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

There are many reports that despite biotech industry promises, there is no evidence that any of the GMOs currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. As well, the public needs to demand continuing research to study the long-term effects of synthetic nutrient absorption on human organs and biology dating back to the origins of Homo Sapiens. 

What are Nature's Phytonutrients?

A few years ago, I completed two-year online program as a Certified Nutritional Supplement Distributor with the International Institute for Clinical Nutrition.  It was my first introduction to phytonutrients which changed my world.

Phytonutrients are natural compounds or chemicals found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and legumes. These plant compounds have beneficial effects working with other essential nutrients to promote good health.

My mind was blown that any fruit or vegetable like an apple contains hundreds of phytochemicals, so why would I worry about eating a GMO apple that doesn’t turn brown when exposed to air? 

So many wonderful new words became my language like flavonoids, quercetins, and bio - nutrition meaning that nature provides the essential micro-nutrients in synergy to what the body needs to defend against oxidative stress and repair free radical damage, never just an isolated element like one vitamin pill. 

For example, why try to reproduce the phytochemical called lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant, in a ketchup bottle, as an advertising buzzword, when eating a whole tomato provides a full range of vitamins, minerals, co-factors, and enzymes that provide optimal synergy of hundreds of essential nutrients?

At the end, the question asked is biotechnology better than nature? The more you understand about the power of nature, the more you cannot underestimate it.

So, look at the tiny tomato seed. How is it even possible that all that nutrition is encased in such a tiny shape combined with soil micro-nutrients to grow such a natural masterpiece? Who will deny Nature’s infinite organization and affiliation to human bio-systems?

My brother Jim was an outstanding gardener in his backyard with organic waste from his fish pond applied to a small garden which grew enough tomatoes (as well as other products) to feed the neighborhood. He kept only heirloom seeds versus hybrids passed down for decades to grow identical crops. Nature deserves to keep its sovereign seeds.

This e-book Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch was written in his memory. 50% of the sales will be donated to a scholarship fund for students interested in environmental studies.

 Questions and comments are always important and welcome ... so much more can be shared.

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"It’s hard to imagine. What bothers me the most is how this people kind is stepping outside their selfish manufacturing Mega Plants to try and manipulate nature  itself. Their laboratories now can modify the very essence of life; namely, Mother Nature’s precious seeds. They call them GMO seeds to try and improve on nature, can you imagine that? Different species can be spliced, or different chemicals can be injected so that a GMO seed can grow a GMO plant, like taller wheat grass or a juicier orange with fish skin to survive too much rain and rot. The reality is that many GMO seeds are engineered to only grow GMO crops that can resist the spraying of toxic weed killers and heritage seeds get replaced and lost.” excerpt Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Podcast Interview Answer #5: How Does a Forest Fire Show the Basics of Ecological Succession?

Podcast Interview Answer #5: How Does a Forest Fire Show the Basics of Ecological Succession?

"Ecological succession is the process of gradual change in a community over time. It is based on order that can predict the sense of a new development in any habitat. In some ways, nothing can remain the same except adapting to change itself." 
Excerpt: Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch

Anybody who works side by side with nature understands that Ecological Succession is a force of nature.

Anybody who tills a piece of ground and plans to grow a garden will understand this force of nature very well. So, you plant your seeds and soon enough the young bean plants emerge with their bright open leaves eager for nutrients, water and open dirt to grow toward their bountiful vegetable

Now, within the same short time, other plants called weeds will start to compete for nutrients and space. In fact, these weeds are such avid competitors, if left unattended, may easily take over the seedling beets. In fact, the garden will quickly turn into a robust productive weed patch overcoming the weaker yet-to-be established beets. A  gardener's only course of action is to spend a great deal of time and energy weeding the garden to try and tame this inherent energy or force of ecological succession.

There seems to be an inherent law in nature that open soil will not stay bare for too long. Nature will take her hand and seed it prolifically but always within a predictable  organization that allows for primary growth to support secondary development.

Succession is nature’s process to adapt to whatever conditions befall it … to continue to live, grow and gradually change the habitat to adapt to these new conditions. The species that adapt better will exist longer. 

Again, with Nature’s infinite organization, a forest fire can best show how a disaster is followed by gradual change based on predictable development.

First, different grasses and weeds appear starting the microbial communities and nutrient      capture

Soon, the spectacular fireweed or great willow herb arrives with amazing adaptations to      survive as a pioneer in disturbed areas.
  • Its seeds can lie dormant for many years, awaiting the warmth necessary for germination. 
  • It can rapidly spread its rhizomes or creeping roots that grow a few inches horizontally underground from buds that produce new shoots growing upwards. 
  • It can grow 1 to 6 feet, even as tall as 9 feet with tapers of flowers. 
  • Pink colored flowers produce seeds as fine wispy tufts for easy wind dispersal. 
  • Soon enough, roots and seeds proliferate everywhere accumulating more humus. 
  • As it grows, it is a supermarket for insects, birds and animals.  Young shoots are especially tasty to rabbits, sheep and deer.  Muskrats, chipmunks and even marmots, moose, elk make a diet. 
  • It is especially beneficial to butterflies who feed from its nectar and pollen during the day, and the moths at night. 
  • A variety of bees drink the early spring nectar to make honey and help to pollinate the plant further. It can also attract hummingbirds and other birds to feed on the bugs.
A few years later they are replaced by bushes and trees like the aspen, white birch, and jack pine. More nutrients are released into the soil, competing species are overgrown and eliminated as the amount of sunlight varies.

            In other words, a fully functioning ecosystem is alive and well. 

In summary, ecological succession is the process of change in the species of an ecological community over time. It begins with a  few pioneering plants and animals and develops into a stable or self-perpetuating community. 

Several key words emerge when considering how to change in nature’s way … adaptations, whole society, diversity, balance, maturity and survival. The consequence of change or adaptation is how organisms impact their own environment, often as a symbiotic relationship. Change is never black and white for immediate gratification. Between any two extremes, there is gradual change with function as purpose and more tolerance. 

Two other interesting facts can apply to forest fires and ecological succession:

  1. Climate change can play a major role in which kind of plants or trees will return to the landscape. Even years later, higher temperatures and decreased precipitation can compromise a forest’s chances of full recovery.
  2. Forest fires can be considered a natural and necessary part of the ecosystem. It is an opportunity to remove clutter like dead trees, old logs, dense undergrowth, and hardened decayed plant matter to return as ashes and add more nutrients to make more fertile soil for new plants.

Back on the farm, I remember my father, doing controlled burns on the hay fields as a way to remove old decayed grass to increase soil fertility. 

In fact, I am so impressed by nature's ecological succession and what it can teach humanity's social succession, I wrote an e-book called 
The Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch ... a love story for all ages who care about family, community and environment.

Questions and comments are always welcome and important.

1 833 471 4661 (please note a time for a call-back)

"Succession involves the whole community. You have seen it in slow action with plants in the destruction of the forest fire. The first plants appear along with humus, micro-organisms, and fungi followed by insects and birds. As plants change, different animals will appear to feed;  first the plant eaters, then the meat eaters.  Trees start to grow, changing the physical and nutrient environment again for more variety of species." 

Also available as Kindle edition.

..FIREWEED: magnificent all-purpose plant pioneer

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