Episode 264. Into the Forest

This is The ChangeUnderground for the 19th of July 2021.

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

Another big shout out to an individual who identifies themselves as “Somebody” on the Buy Me A Coffee system. Thanks for the coffee. There’s a link in the show notes if you feel the need to keep me caffeinated and this show on the road.

I should also point out that 10% of everything ChangeUnderground and World Organic News makes in the form of coffees or course sales goes to support the Bubugo Conservation Trust in Uganda and their sustainable farming programs.

I realise this episode was due last week but during the research I was, somewhat, overwhelmed by the enormity of the task in front of us all. There are times when that task I summarise as: Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!, is terrifyingly out of reach. Then someone will say something and I’m back on the horse. Even if we are struggling against this quote from Caitlin Johnstone:


And, in the end, it turned out that killing the ecosystem was easier than taking away rich people’s rocket money.

End Quote

So there will be a missed week in the Podcast but I’m back with a fire in the belly.

Earth’s Calendar Year from the site Biomimicry.net, compresses life on earth into a calendar year to give something tangible our minds can understand rather than wrangling with 4.5 billion years. What does this tell us?

February 25 represents life’s kick off on this planet. Just over a month later on the 28th of March, the engine we know as photosynthesis evolved. It has been with us for some time. 

We then jump to November for the arrival of fungi, fish and land plants on 15th, 20th and 22nd respectively. December is when things get interesting for humans. All the beasties from amphibians through reptiles, mammals and birds happened over December. The dinosaurs bundied off on the 25th. You’ll notice we’ve travelled from the formation of the planet to the extinction of the dinosaurs over the period New Year’s Day to Christmas day and still no mention of we human types. That should give you an idea of how recently we’ve arrived and, we will come to it later, how much we have changed things. 

We must wait until 31at of December at 11:30 for our first bipedal ancestors. Ourselves, Homo sapiens arrive at 23:36. Agriculture becomes established at one minute to midnight on this last day of the year. The industrial revolution at two seconds before midnight.

Now in the life of the world, 4.5 billion years as a calendar year we’ve managed to disrupt carbon, nitrogen and water cycles in just two seconds. Impressive as this may seem, these cycles are necessary for us and most of the rest of life on the planet to survive. So well done us and WTF?

From the arrival of agriculture  at a minute to midnight, one key effect is both obvious and, though not linear, is expanding and that’s deforestation. There were times when the forests returned only to be cut back later. Say following the Black Death in Europe, for instance. But the general correlation has been increasing human populations and decreasing tree cover. Put into the context of the calendar year, I find this overwhelming. Fair enough, as a species, we didn’t know what we were doing for much of that last minute of the year but we do now.

In an article dated 11 April 2011 from the journal Nature: No Trees… No Humans. Five consequences of the complete loss of trees are covered.

  1. Filthy Air
  2. Lifeless Soil
  3. Chronic Drought
  4. Obviously, no tree based products, not just timber but fruit
  5. Water Wars

Now the complete loss of tree cover is something I find difficult to imagine but we can all see the effects listed happening now except, perhaps, for number four.

The site, Our World in Data suggests we’ve lost a third of tree cover since the Industrial Revolution. This is something we must halt and reverse. To put it another way, I’ve placed a pic on the blog post/show notes over at worldorganicnews.com/episode264 that explains it quite succinctly. 


“Earth is 4.6 billion years, let’s scale that to 46 years. We’ve been here for four hours. The Industrial revolution began a minute ago. In that time, we’ve destroyed more than 50% of the world’s forests.”

End Quote

And it’s getting worse, who’d have thunk it?

Now for my UK listeners this won’t come as a surprise but I’ll fill in some background for the rest of the world. 

The UK government has decided to build a second High Speed Rail link between the capital and somewhere up north. To do so they need a corridor for laying tracks, naturally enough. 

However, the chosen course requires the cutting down, well, more accurately, clear felling of 108 Ancient Woodlands, according to the Woodland Trust. Link in the show notes.

Again for those outside the UK, an ancient woodland is dating to before 1600 in England and Wales and to before 1750 in Scotland. So not that “ancient” by the standards of say, the New Guinea Highlands but old enough to fight for. 

All this was brought to my attention by Kalina from the Facebook Group “Half Wild Jersey”.

She messaged me with a request to spread a petition to stop this wanton destruction. Hence this episode. I’m thinking this is just for UK residents but who’s to know and who’s to know how many UK residents my listeners will know? So the link is in the show notes and on the blog post. Please spread the word. We must preserve as much as we can before it won’t matter. We need to start replanting trees and hedgerows and wildflower meadows and, well you get the message while maintaining the tree cover we already have. Let’s, with apologies to the writers of the Blues Brothers, Let’s put the word in the streets, our lazy butts are in this too.

If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, please join the Facebook group and ask them there. Just search for the ChangeUnderground Podcast Group on the Book of Faces or there’s a link in the show notes and in the transcript over at WorldOrganicNews.com/episode264.

Decarbonise the air and Recarbonise the soil.

Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.




The ChangeUnderground Academy No-Dig Gardening Course:


FREE eBook: https://worldorganicnews.com/freeebook/

email: jon@worldorganicnews.com

Bubugo Conservation Trust


No Trees… No Humans.


Earth’s Calendar Year


Deforestation and Forest Loss


The Woodland Trust: HS2 Rail Link https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/protecting-trees-and-woods/campaign-with-us/hs2-rail-link/

HS2 Petition


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