First Dark     Mon, Mar 8, 2010  Permanent link
While I sympathize with the concerns presented, I find the overall claim made above deeply suspect. Who is Dale McCrea and/or where are the sources? While human activity has no doubt caused and is causing many deserts to expand, the evidence suggests that some of the largest deserts, such as the Gobi, Mojave, and Sahara, were originally caused by natural processes.

Here's an article by geologist Farouk El-Baz (+) as a counterbalance to your above post.
Please consider.
collective matt     Mon, Mar 8, 2010  Permanent link
Thank you for your response. I'm only interested in the meme itself as googled: “all deserts are man-made." I too wouldn't support that claim, and I would never call it a fact. I also don't support the author's conclusion/solution and parts of his work, and that is why I only included sections of the article that interested me (the parts on trees).

I should have made it clear that I copied this and it’s merely something that fascinates me and I wished to share. I'm more interested in how people perceive the impacts of their actions on the environment, and how people view areas such as natural deserts vs. man made wasteland. The loss of Paschalococos palms on Easter Island or the current destruction of the rainforest would be much better examples of human caused destruction.

What does interest me is man’s relationship with trees, especially regarding old-growth and dense forest, and how we may have squandered this immensely valuable resource in the past, but are now realizing its potential. “Save the rainforest” shouldn’t be a cliché saying. Instead of watching the bulldozers, politicians are watching the thermometer.

I appreciate your correction to my implied conclusion, as misinformation can be dangerous in these times.
First Dark     Mon, Mar 8, 2010  Permanent link
Thanks for clarifying, I'm glad to hear it. Yeah, Easter Island is basically a miniature version of global civilization today. I recently attended a Jared Diamond lecture and at one point he highlighted a darkly amusing, but important question to consider:

What was the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island thinking?

His students, who had first brought the question to his attention, came up with a variety of answers, all of which can be heard today in defense of overconsumption and the exploitation of our planet's resources: "I own this land so I can do whatever I want with it!", "Don't worry, I'm sure technology will save us", etc.
collective matt     Mon, Mar 8, 2010  Permanent link
It's sad but in a capitalist society, that last tree would have been worth A LOT of money. I would even guess that as soon as the islanders were aware of their predicament things only got worse as everyone scrambled to build boats, etc. with the last few remaining trees.