A local mulch company got me thinking about this Earth Day thought experiment. The commercial claims that eucalyptus trees grow 4 times faster than cypress trees. I’ve never taken Biochem, but I seem to remember running across the equation for photosynthesis before. In terms of mass balance, how much nutrients are required for 4 generations of eucalyptus versus 1 generation of cypress? Are the eucalyptus producing 4 times more Oxygen in the same period of time as 1 generation of cypress? Are they contributing more Oxygen into the atmosphere to create water vapor, (which is far more effective at altering our climate than Carbon Dioxide, I seem to recall reading)?
In short, do we really fully understand what atmospheric and geographic effects are due to anthropomorphism? Cypress is a native species. Is eucalyptus? How do we really know that in an attempt to provide mulch by replacing cypress with a rapid growth plant that we are not accelerating the atmospheric processes we claim to be trying to slow down? If I had to choose one word to describe those making public policy these days, it’d be ‘hubris’. They claim to understand complex systems beyond question. And from what I’m seeing, they’re more interested in stifling dissenting opinion than they are finding out the answers to legitimate questions.