Atmosphere

After the Fire, A Little Global Cooling

Far from the fires of summer and fed by the torrential rains of November, the lichens are in their full glory right now. Worldwide, lichens take as much carbon out of the atmosphere as is put into it by burning, worldwide. They also draw 50 million tons of nitrogen from the air and gift it to plants.

Choke Cherry and Lichen Hanging Out

Along the way, they don’t hurt trees. Think of the amount of lichen that has been lost in the 400 kilometres of the Okanagan Valley alone by filling in bushy wetlands, where moisture is easily kept close, with houses, which throw it away. Imagine if we started cooling our Earth by inviting lichen to clad our houses, walls, soil surfaces and yards. Here’s a slope from the Big Bar Esker showing what we could do.

All the land was like this 160 years ago, before, in ignorance, we screwed it up. Lichen is the first one, the oldest of all. If we provide what lichen needs, it will provide for us. If we take away what lichen needs, the atmosphere it created will be unsuited for us. It is time to pay our ancestor deep respect. It’s not a lot of water they ask for. These dry rocks at Mauvais Rocher are covered with lichens.

They will be blooming now. The rains that have caused so much trouble in lichen-less environments of late are here for them.

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