The tiny fern that could take a big bite out of greenhouse gases

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/07/16/the-tiny-fern-that-could-take.html

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And it’s super cute! Let’s plant it everywhere.

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…what’s the worst thing that could happen?

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Of course, we have to be mindful of the lessons we have learned–sometimes painfully–about the consequences of disrupting complex systems, and in particular about the unpredictable and devastating effects of invasive species. That having been said, HOLY FUCK IF THERE’S EVEN A 1% CHANCE IT’LL WORK PLANT IT BY THE MEGATON AND WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF SEEDS SELL YOUR CHILDREN TO GET MORE.

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image

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this reminded me of the dangers of vegetarianism:

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I love ferns; the life cycle of terrestrial ferns is fascinating.

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And it is pretty, like fuzzy duckweed.

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The Legend of Ferngulpy.

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So… it’s the sort of thing that could have a significant impact if it’s near-ubiquitous. But at that point it would be impossible to control and might cause a massive ice age. Sounds good.

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mmmmm, weed

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Ferns are awesome, i gave my mom a cutting from a wild variety i found by my old apartment here in Texas. She’s got hers indoors and its very hardy, it survives the lack of watering fairly well. Being watered it grows vigorously, the one that i got the cutting from would seasonally grow up to something like 6ft before its own weight would case it to topple over. It’d regrow like nothing happened a month or two later and start all over.

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It’s happened before, you know. That’s what the “Azolla Event” mentioned above is all about:

The Azolla Event is most likely the reason that Earth presently has ice caps at the poles.

It didn’t used to.

(Hmmm. What if anthropocentric global warming is actually Gaia’s attempt to reverse the damage done by the azolla? To get back to an ice-free earth, where life flourishes from pole to pole? Maybe humanity is just Gaia’s tool in the greater scheme of things… Hmmm.)

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Someone can check my math, but if the numbers they give are correct, the same amount of Azolla as existed during the event could clear up one year of our pollution every 4000 years.

10 trillion over 800,000 years is 12.5 million a year,
versus 50 billion a year released (10 T being 200 times higher than 1 year of pollution)
50 billion / 12.5 million = 4000 years of cleanup per year we continue to pollute

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Exactly, which is why I said it.

I dunno - seems like mind-controlling human beings to enjoy burning fossil fuels is a lot more convoluted than just erupting some volcanoes… :wink:

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Well, sure — but when did ‘ridiculously convoluted’ ever stop Gaia from trying something? :wink:

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“Gaia works in mysterious ways. She’s bored.”

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When I can I stop mowing my weeds? They have to be sequestering LOTS of carbon.

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Fossil fuel lobbies should be all over this. “No need to regulate us anymore”, theyll say, “Just plant lots of this and then we can all stay cool in traffic!”

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