Social Energy

Trees are great energy machines, transforming the nuclear fusion reactions of the sun into matrices of carbon and water. How cool is that? Here’s what that energy looks like when it leaks out into the light it came from:

Old Douglas Fir Bleeding Light

This old savanna tree on the west side of Okanagan Lake is currently falling victim to an infill scrub forest. It won’t last long now.

It’s not that trees die when they get to be 400 years old. It’s that for 300 years people cared for this tree by keeping its competition at bay with fire. Then the British Columbia Forest Service put an end to that. It was, however, a mistake to think that this tree and the land around it were wild. They were cultural artifacts, created by a culture that farmed the wild earth. It’s time to work with these trees again. In these last days, the tree’s  sap, so recently converted from sunlight, seems particularly adept at catching it out of the air again:

Water that Has Become the Sun

Like the water within the soil, sunlight flows as long as it stays locked away from the air.

 It’s an amazing technology that can bring light down to earth by turning it into something you can hold in your hand — and it’s never the same twice. With slower rates of flow and longer exposure to the air, the proto-type amber of the sun bleeding from the tree starts to look like this:

Amber in the Making

With technology like this, you can develop a culture that could last as long as life on earth.

It’s not too late to start using this technology again. It starts with the realization that on a living earth, technology is social. The technology we created creates us in its image. We are social creatures and it is an image of our society. In that respect, this will just not do:

 Nuclear Fusion Reactor Source

The Chinese have just signed on with a $1,400,000,000 contribution, earned by filling North American stores with items made by melting down North American garbage into weird shapes, like candleholders, bric-a-brac, knickknacks, and Halloween doodads.

That is what poverty looks like.

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