Sunday, July 31, 2011

Healing Trees

Nature Bats Last
Telephone pole near my house, from a few years ago. Last year, they chopped all the growth off of it. This year, it's halfway back up the pole again. You have to laugh.

When you see abandoned industrial property being taken over by vegetation growing up around and through the concrete, keep this story in mind:

A federal grant will be used to help plant thousands of trees to control contaminants at a former General Motors factory near the Flint River.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has given Flint $375,000 to survey the property and provide a variety of trees at a place known as the old Chevy in the Hole manufacturing complex. The trees are expected to aid the natural breakdown of contaminants and prevent groundwater from carrying pollution to the river. Planting could start by fall.

It basically works like this:

Steve Montle, Flint's green cities coordinator, said some trees already are growing without someone actually planting them.

"The natural process sort of takes over (at abandoned sites). We're just going to speed that up," Montle said.

He said trees help by taking water from the ground, stabilizing the contaminants and then releasing water as a neutral vapor.

There is no doubt the Earth will heal itself from human contamination, given enough time. It's too bad that spending like this will probably be targeted in the name of austerity. But hey, what's a few more cancer-causing chemicals in our rivers, right? You didn't want to swim or eat those fish, did you?