SpaceX recently conducted an orbital test flight of their Starship spacecraft. The tallest, most powerful spacecraft ever constructed, “designed to both carry crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond,” according to SpaceX.
The test lasted four minutes and the starship self-destructed before it was able to make it into orbit.
Was the test a failure? According to SpaceX officials, no. Data will be collected and analyzed to make corrections for future tests. These perceived failures inch them closer to achieving their ultimate goal, which is to establish colonies and communities beyond our planet.
Traveling to Mars and beyond is only part of the equation. Once people get there, the environment must be habitable. The standard definition for a habitable planet is one that can sustain life for a significant period. Based on historical data from our solar system, we know life requires liquid water, energy and nutrients (according to NASA).
Our Earth is the perfect mix: just the right distance from the sun, kept warm by its insulating atmosphere, protected from harmful solar radiation through its magnetic fields, and composed of the right chemical ingredients needed to sustain life, including carbon and water. As a result of this perfect alignment, here we are: existing!
Like Louis Armstrong, when I stop and observe life happening all around me, I too think to myself, “What a Wonderful World.” It is our obligation and awesome responsibility to take care of this beautiful and perfectly placed planet.
The OAN and its membership acknowledge that climate change is happening both around the globe and here in Oregon. Pests and diseases that were mainly challenges faced in California are making their way north. Mountain snowpack over the years has been dwindling, putting pressure on our much-needed water supply, which in turn significantly impacts farms, fish and families. Roughly 45% of all carbon dioxide emitted by humans remains in the atmosphere.
On a global level, Oregon is responsible for just .14% of the world’s total carbon emissions. Oregon is abundant in natural resources and the nursery industry can be a huge player in the solution to many of our climate problems.
The nursery and greenhouse industry is the state’s largest agricultural sector, with over $1.37 billion in sales annually to customers in Oregon and the rest of the United States. In fact, nearly 80% of the nursery stock grown in our state leaves our borders — with over half reaching markets east of the Mississippi River. These goods are ecologically friendly, carbon sequestering and green in every way.
Trees and plants naturally reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by sequestering carbon into their new growth. As a tree grows, the amount of carbon that is sequestered likewise increases.
In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a car driven 26,000 miles, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. A mature leafy green tree generates as much oxygen in a single season as 10 people inhale in a year.
Those in the nursery and greenhouse industry are the original environmentalists. What we grow has an even greater impact than merely adding aesthetics to landscapes.
Are we the cure for climate change? Not by ourselves. Currently there are studies and policies being developed at the state and federal levels by individuals who don’t consider ag’s benefits on the environment and economy.
The OAN is leveraging its resources and people to educate and inform these individuals on what it is we do. We fight destructive policy and advocate for common-sense strategies that allow us to operate in a way that truly makes an impact.
We live in a wonderful world. Working together as stewards, we can keep it that way.
Todd Nelson, OAN President (2022-2023)
President’s Message from the June 2023 issue of Digger magazine | Download PDF