My favorite portion to read and re-read in the King James Bible has always been the four thousand years of the Old Testament including the frequent mention of some remarkable forests.
In fact, while I haven’t attended church for four decades now, I may be better read than most who do. I just find it much easier to replenish my “awe” in the quiet of a forest, if even just an urban forest.
But those Old Testament trees I have always found intriguing had already been deforested for much of the span that text covers for uses such as King Solomon’s Temple and to build ships, first for the native-Phoenicians and then the Egyptians.
At one time, these magnificent ancient cedar forests had carpeted the whole of what we call Lebanon today which was the northern reaches of Canaan back then, climbing from the Mediterranean Sea up over 6,000 foot mountain ranges.
During that country’s 15-year civil war from 1975 to 1990, a Druze militia leader surrounded this forest remnant with mines to protect these sacred trees as the Roman Emperor Hadrian had tried to do with stone markers in the second century A.D.
Nearly 140-years-ago, British Queen Victoria erected a high stone wall to protect a 250-acre remnant but soon all but 5% of Lebanon had been cleared of the slow-growing forests as slow-burning fuel for to fuel steam engines.
Humans have deforested fully 4/5ths of the earth’s ancient forests since agriculture emerged 10,000 years ago and deforestation today equals the greenhouse emissions for all cars, trucks, planes and ships on the planet.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that researchers have documented in studies of the Pacific Ocean, that temperatures have warmed 15 times faster in the last 60 years than they apparently did during natural warming cycles over those 10,000 years.
The good news is that while the 22% of Americans that are in denial about climate change have gridlocked the President and Congress from implementing a market-based cap and trade solution (once inspired but now blocked by Republicans) that has been cost effective to reduce “acid rain,” the nation’s largest corporations are building it into long-range plans.
In fact, in a USA Today/Stanford University poll earlier this month, only 30% of Americans felt that arbitrarily taking action to reduce global warming would hurt the economy. Fifty-five percent believed government should play a role, 58% felt average people should take part and 63% believed business should participate.
One thing was clear from the survey, even among many deniers, it is recognized that the pain from not addressing climate change will fall on future generations.