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Forest self defense

Monday, December 4, 2006 | Read Comments

Forest self defense

In my CounterThink cartoons, I love to explore the intelligence and consciousness of plants. When we interact with nature, whether it's a single houseplant or an entire forest, we are interacting with a conscious, living entity that has a complex nervous system. Did you ever wonder what trees feel like when they get chopped down?

In this comic, a pine tree gets a sweet moment of revenge against a tree-chopping guy with an axe. Through this construction, I don't mean to imply that nature is vengeful, but rather that it would be hilarious if nature did fight back from time to time.

Actually, nature does. From tsunamis to global pandemics, nature has a way of humbling humans in unexpected ways. Humans may think they own and control the planet, but they don't even come close. Nature is in charge, and if humans imbalance the ecosystem, nature will eventually find a way to restore the balance -- sometimes in a way that isn't too pretty.

Global warming, for example, imbalances regional ecosystems and unleashes viral pandemics and radical weather patterns that devastate food production. The result is, eventually, a massive population correction (i.e. large numbers of humans dying off) which once again returns the planet to homeostasis. It's straight cause and effect. Screw up the planet, and it will remove you from it.

If trees could really fight back by swinging their branches like arms, we would sure have a lot more forests left in the world, don't ya think? And wouldn't it be funny if ranch animals realized what was going on and organized a mutiny? That, of course, is a topic for a future CounterThink cartoon...

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