‘Like witnessing a birth in a morgue’: the volunteers working to save the Joshua trees

1/20/2022 2:04:00 PM

‘Like witnessing a birth in a morgue’: the volunteers working to save the Joshua trees

Trees And Forests, Environment

‘Like witnessing a birth in a morgue’: the volunteers working to save the Joshua trees

If carbon emissions stay at current levels, just 0.02% of the desert tree would survive. Volunteers are now banding together to plant seedlings

Read more: The Guardian »

Nasa has found a black hole giving birth to starsA black hole has been sptted giving birth to stars in a nearby dwarf galaxy. leithfadel GOD IS STILL CREATING--NEVER CEASING. Snort Sure they did.

'Four-day working week with same pay transformed employees lives' says UK firmAtom Bank said cutting the working week last November mean its employees 'look forward to work each day' and helps them maintain a healthier work/life balance

Christmas trees collection delayed in CornwallCollections scheduled for the week beginning 10 January have been delayed by Covid-19. Blimey, big news day today…

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Girl survives -11C temperatures by cuddling a dog for warmth in RussiaVika Z (pictured with her mother) was found with frostbite hugging the 'fluffy' abandoned dog following a frantic search by police, officials and volunteers in in Uglegorsk on Russia's largest island, Sakhalin. Why AllDogsGoToHeaven Dogs Great news. However, why the hell this girl had to be out there with those extreme temperatures? $3,000 For The First 5people tried of living PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK to DM me 'SUPPORT 🥶”GOD BLESS YOU💰🚨

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by Max Ufberg, with photographs by Kovi Konowiecki Thu 20 Jan 2022 11.black hole has been sptted giving birth to stars in a nearby dwarf galaxy.One of Britain's biggest digital banks has told of the huge benefits after moving most of its 430 staff to a four-day week - with no cut to their salary.Image caption, Christmas trees remain on the roadside, 18 days into the new year Christmas trees have been abandoned on streets after a planned service to collect them was hit by staff being off sick with Covid-19.

00 GMT T he trees are not exactly imposing. Slim and spiny, with limbs that grip small poms of sharp leaves, they look like something a child might dream up. Instead, they appear to be able to create stars, not just eat them. Or maybe Salvador Dalí. It also has seen a 500 per cent increase in applications for open roles- showing the appetite for reduced work hours. Even the name, Joshua tree , sounds kind of awkward. As well as suggesting that black holes can be more productive than we realised, the new research might also help us understand where supermassive black holes originally come from. On a wet and chilly December morning, I stood at a makeshift encampment in the Mojave national preserve in San Bernardino county, California, listening as a group of strangers fretted over the trees’ precarious future. Cornwall councillor Rob Nolan said on Twitter he had been trying to help people who had not had their trees collected and tweeted that there were "still lots left," as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service .

Within the preserve is Cima Dome, a broad-sloping mound that, until recently, contained the Joshua tree forest in the world. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here Now the bank has urged more UK employers to make the switch - and says a cut from 37. That changed in August 2020, when a lightning storm ignited the Dome fire , which ripped through over 43,000 acres of Cima Dome and burned about 1.3m Joshua trees. Given that Joshua trees – which technically are not trees but a species of desert succulent – are native only to the south-western US, the Dome fire represented an outright disaster to their survival. Anne-Marie Lister, Chief People Officer at Atom, said: "Our adoption of a four-day working week has been a huge success, and we are proud of how well our employees have adapted, continuing to offer the excellent level of customer service that Atom is known for. Looking out that morning, I saw seemingly endless fields of the trees’ scorched and tortured carcasses.

This was a terrible harbinger of things to come: a 2019 Ecosphere journal study determined that, if carbon emissions stay at current levels, just 0.02% of the species would survive. Last year, Atom chief executive Mark Mullen, 59, said that the five-day week was becoming "as unnecessary as permanent office working and the daily commute has proved to be for many people. The August 2020 Dome Fire in the Mojave national preserve burned more than 1m Joshua trees to varying degrees. Now, a year and a half later, a wide-ranging group of volunteers are working alongside the National Park Service, which manages the preserve, to replant Joshua trees. When I visited in early December, the plan was to plant 1,500 seedlings over the next several weeks. "Our experience has exploded many of the myths of the modern workplace.

The 18 people spending their day (or days, in some cases) with the trees included civilians from all walks of life, members of the Arizona and Nevada Conservation Corps, and a group of women who brought along two pack camels to help carry baby Joshua trees through some of the more treacherous terrain. Joshua trees typically have a lifespan of 150 years ; if all goes according to plan, these saplings will become a fixture of the preserve for a long, long time. Among those assembled was Brendan Cummings, the conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, a national non-profit focused on saving imperiled plants and animals. But why stop there? More can be done - more needs to change. Tall and wiry with a thick head of salt and pepper hair and a pensive demeanor, Cummings is spearheading an attempt to list the tree under the state-level Endangered Species Act. “What they’re doing could be the model for what climate restoration will look like,” he told me on the phone a few weeks prior.

In December 2021, a group of volunteers traveled to the Mojave national preserve to plant 1,500 eastern Joshua tree seedlings. Pictured: Volunteers Brendan Cummings, Avery Arp, Anthony Chesney and Nancy Fite. The threat isn’t just wildfires. The climate crisis, invasive grasses and poor migration patterns for the trees’ seeds all contribute to the species’ imperilment. Human development – the trees have been cleared out to build anything from new neighborhoods to solar farms – isn’t helping matters.

Because the threats are so varied, it can be difficult to calculate exactly how many trees are in danger (something land developers love to point out). But Cummings believes that fact is beside the point. “You don’t need to know whether there were 500 passengers or 2,000 passengers on the Titanic to know that the entire population was threatened when they hit an iceberg,” he said as we stood near the basecamp on that frigid winter day. A western Joshua tree in the Mojave Desert. About 40% of the western varietal is on private land that will probably be developed.

After about an hour’s wait – the camels were ultimately unwilling to saddle the load of supplies, “living up to the stereotype of being recalcitrant”, as Cummings put it – the volunteers were split into small groups and directed to designated sites. There they would plant the spiky green seedlings that, if all went according to plan, would over the course of a few decades replace the blackened husks of trees that now line the landscape. T hough they look pretty similar, there are in fact two different species of Joshua trees: western and eastern. The majority of easterns are located on federal land and are not under threat by developers. Cummings’ work as a conservationist focuses on the western variety.

“Most of the range of the eastern species is on federal land, which is never going to get bulldozed,” he said. “About 40% of western Joshua tree habitat is on private land, and most of that will ultimately get developed.” A solar panel at the Antelope Valley solar ranch in the western Mojave Desert. Solar farms such as this one can contribute to the endangerment of Joshua trees because building them can require forests to be cleared out. Cummings’ fight to save the western species picked up steam in September 2020, when the California fish and game commission accepted a petition he authored to offer endangered protections to Joshua trees for one year (since extended to May of 2022), during which the agency is conducting research into the plants’ long-term viability.

Those protections made it illegal to damage or remove Joshua trees without special permits. (That ban didn’t apply to everyone: the commission approved an exemption allowing solar projects in Kern and San Bernardino counties to continue removing Joshua trees during construction.) “After the commission receives the report, it can complete the process to make a final determination whether or not to list the Joshua tree as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act,” said Rachel Ballanti, deputy executive director of California fish and game commission. Though temporary, the decision was still precedent-setting: it marked the first time a plant species was given protection as a result of a climate crisis threat. “Climate change is creating a much hotter and much drier desert environment, and that is restricting species’ ability to reproduce,” said Cameron Barrows, one of the Ecosphere study’s authors and an ecologist with the University of California, Riverside.

In the case of Joshua trees, drought has left the soil too dry to sustain saplings. As a result, we’re left with a species that skews quite old. It’s sort of akin, as Barrows explained, to a community with a senior center but no elementary school: “You would immediately realize the community has a very short lifespan.” T his isn’t Cummings’ first conservation rodeo. He was also part of the successful push to get the polar bear .