Sunday, 4 September 2011

smoke gets in your eyes

when i boil cauldrons
over twigs and sticks
people inevitably ask about carbon
my response is that the twigs and sticks
will produce the same amount of carbon-based gas
whether they rot in the woods
or are consumed by flames

in the former case the gas will [i think]
be methane
in the latter
carbon dioxide
[chemists finding flaws while reading this page are invited to correct me]

on balance
probably better than using
coal-sourced electricity...


  1. Hah! Next time I dye my feet (almost every time) I'll be sure and post a your apron!

  2. Well, truthfully, burning wood creates more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than composting wood does, because the wood is transformed into carbon rich humus in the woods. However that doesn't mean that burning oil or coal or gas is somehow better than wood. On the contrary, I think it is far superior to use the solar energy captured by trees in recent years than to use up our dwindling resources of sun trapped by ancient trees (turned into oil, coal, and gas by millions of years of pressure beneath the earth's surface)

  3. Like dandelionlady said, burning wood releases CO2 into the air, which is a significant pollutant, versus wood on the forest floor rotting and biodegrading, which provides an essential environment for loads of plants, animals, and insects before it eventually becomes rich, fertile dirt.

    I am not a supporter of coal or oil, but wood should be burned as infrequently as possible to fill ones needs. There was just a study that found significant amounts of wood ash in ice samples in the Arctic, where it's contributing to ice melt and Global Warming.

  4. grateful to be harboring vast acres of forest for which to forage.

  5. interesting discussion here, thank you.

    bearing in mind that the composting also involves the release of methane [a carbon compound ruminant emission which the Australian Government has plans to tax] and that trees process carbon dioxide into oxygen [something we humans need]
    nurturing woods and forests and gathering the odd armful of kindling continues as a laudable [and satisfactory] activity.