I realize I’m too late for a thankful Thanksgiving post but I stumbled on something that inspired me.
I recently read this article about a Noble Prize winning theoretical physicist named Richard Feynman that postulated that trees come from the air.
I first met that thought with skepticism but the guy was a Noble laureate so I kept reading. Once I thought about it, I realized he was right. Plant cell walls (primarily cellulose) and even the chlorophyll plants use to capture the sun’s radiation to photosynthesize into energy are all carbon based. That carbon provides the base for the volatile fatty acids the microbes in ruminants stomach create. That carbon from the air is the chemical base for fructose (makes fruit sweet), sucrose (sugar), and maltose. Lots of beers are malt extract based, which means I ❤ malt. A lot. Carbon is the chemical base of all living organisms, and I now realize it comes from the air and moves on up the food chain.
Today I am thankful for the air, and a deceased super-genius for making me realize why.
P.S. – According to this article a sycamore tree that is 39.4′ tall and has a 20.5″ diameter trunk stores approximately 1.102 tons of carbon, which equates 4.044 tons of CO2. The EPA estimates the average passenger car in the U.S. gets and average of 23 mpg. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that a car burning one gallon of gas on will create 19.64 pounds of CO2 on average. Most people commute a fair distance where I live, so I’m going to say local folks drive an average of 50 miles per day, or 18,250 miles per year.
18,250 miles / 23 mpg = 793.48 gallons x 19.64 #CO2 = 15,583.95 #CO2 or 7.79 tons of CO2 per year
If it were viable to buy 40′ tall trees with the same density as a sycamore ( and with the assurance that more would be planted) and we each plant two a year in our yards, or where trees used to be, we could hedge against the atmospheric toll of our automobile habit. In 40 years of working we would each have to plant 80 large trees. Or we could ride bikes, that would be a lot less complicated. Anyway I’m pretty jazzed about trees and air at the moment. I may even brave the rain to go hug one, and then eat a large hunk of red meat (That’s here thanks to the air!) to reassure myself that I’m not a hippy.
On second thought it’s really rainy, and I don’t want to get my camera wet. Or my fancy early Christmas gift boots, which are leather. Which means, they are three degrees of separation from the air! For those of you that didn’t follow the skips in my head: air>grass>cow = leather shoes
I love you trees, just not enough to look like a wet cat for the rest of the day. Or take a good picture.
PPS – We made a little night time shelter for our ghost pepper to keep it warmer. The water bottles weight the top so the wind doesn’t blow it off. Somebody spilled juice on it yesterday, I still haven’t found the culprit.
I hope this wasn’t too nerdy or dry. I will try to remember to alert you next time in advance. I promise to be back with something food or craft related soon.