March 24, 2016

Two Young Musicians for a Future in Balance

A beautiful, strong voice far beyond her years, Takiya Blaney speaks for a revolution to improve our relationship with Mother Earth. Ta'Kaiya is from the First Nation tribe of Tla A'min in British Colombia, Canada. She has been active over the past four years as an activist, speaker, and musician. She has won a number of awards for her leadership and inspiring message as an environmental advocate and for honoring her culture and upholding the traditions of the First Nation peoples. 

Here is an example of her message as well as one of her songs at the end. 

This video has better sound for her voice, which is magically haunting.

This young man has also been active for a number of years spreading a similar message. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez ask us all, especially the young people of his generation, to revolutionize our way of life to create a better future. He visions a future where humans are good stewards of the planet where we have clean healthy thriving ecosystems. He ask for climate action from individuals as well as decision makers like the United Nations General Assembly on Climate Change.

Here he is in 2015, at age 15 speaking at the 

Xiuhtezcatl is also a talented musician and along with his little brother, Itzcuauhtl, perform their original hip hop music for a better future and relationship with the Earth. 

Another of their songs, at Bioneers.

And here he is, as a younger boy, speaking about how climate change is already affecting his home in Colorado. 

The pine beetles have wreaked havoc on western North America. Climate change has been a significant part of encouraging this destruction. This is a little more about that, from my project We are all in this together.

Mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) are native to western North America, covering a swath of land from Mexico to British Columbia. With a black exoskeleton, pine beetles only measure about half a centimeter long. Pine beetle’s first three life stages, egg, larva and pupa occur under the bark of a pine tree. During the last life stage, as an adult, they can be seen flying around in the air.

When a female pine beetle burrows into a new tree to lay her eggs, she exposes the tree to blue stain fungus. This fungus inhibits the tree’s natural defense mechanism against more beetles, as well as its ability to transport water and nutrients within the tree. When a tree is infected, pine beetle larva and blue stain fungus spread throughout the tree, eventually inhibiting the tree’s ability to take up water. Eventually the pine tree will die of thirst. From the time the fungus is introduced, it may only take a few weeks for a tree to be incapable of taking up water.

A native to North America, pine beetles are not new to their ecosystems and when conditions are right they infest a new tree, killing it, but continuing its own life cycle. With climate change large areas of pine beetle’s native habitat are warming, experiencing milder winters and hotter summers. This shift in weather affects both pine trees and pine beetles. Unusually warm seasons can stress a tree and make it less robust at fighting off parasites. On the other hand, warmer weather is beneficial for pine beetles, allowing them to reproduce with a higher success rate and giving them more time and opportunity to inhabit more trees. Pine beetles have in fact doubled their reproductive rate. They used to go through one life cycle in a year and can now complete two full cycles each year. In recent years the absence of cold snaps has allowed beetle populations to explode, causing an epidemic in forests dominated by or wholly made up of pine trees.

This explosion of pine beetle populations has resulted in allowing the beetles to expand into more northern territory.  As the beetles moved north, they caused a mass dying off of forests throughout 19 US states, British Columbia and Alberta. Destruction to the forests is on the order of 10 times worse than previously recorded. Around 80 million acres of pines have been decimated and left dead. These tracks of dead trees have repercussions on all other species in the area, including humans. Stands of dead trees cater to raging forest fires. Dead trees are also not as good at holding soil to prevent erosion, slowing water flow and absorbing snow melt into the earth. These forests, which are usually a carbon sink when their trees are healthy, may easily, become a carbon source by releasing stored CO2 and furthering global warming.

Thank you Ta'Kaiya and Xiuhtezcatl,