John Lui “Earth’s Hope”

I attended a talk by John Lui at the CEESA Educators’ Conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

Mr. Lui Shows Sediment Flow in a Creek


He gave a talk on his restoration of a highland wetland in Rwanda. Jarod Diamond gave the reason of the genocide was a fight over scarce resources. He was working at the head waters of the White Nile and Congo River, and environmental problems at that highland, it affects all the way down the river basins. All of these horrible events are caused by deforestation by humans.

He feels this is the “panda” of biome restoration. This is an extremely beautiful place with rare orchids, birdlife, volcanoes, lakes, etc. This is also a place that is coming out of genocide.

Plants are 80-90% water and when they are removed from a hillside, and the rain during the rainy season is not soaked up by the missing plants. This causes sedmintation, even mud slides,  which bury villages and kill villagers. No one ever talks about the cause of the mudslides on the news. The cause is deforestation. Another indicator of a degraded environment is when rivers do not flow the whole year. One thing they did in Ethiopia, they make the gullies meander to allow a slower flow and the water infiltrate the soil. This also raised the water table. This is a physical change to aid restoration. The other change is biological, with the planting of trees. The amount and percentage of biomatter is huge.

The determinate of ecosystems is the infiltration of rainfall water. He also feels that biodiversity is separate from the process of water retention. He says that we exist because of wilderness, and we need to nurture biodiversity for the possibilities. He also feels that we are not capable of making good decisions.

He commented on the Copenhagen Summit. Two accomplishments were the setting up a carbon-trading scheme and the second was REDD (Reduction of Carbon Emissions by reducing deforestation). He has been publically speaking for 5 years and it is always accepted by every crowd that has watched his presentations.

All cradles of civilization went through the same process. Cut down the trees, plant on slopes, leading to serious degradation of their environment. The wealth and power of a civilation leaves, but the peasant farmers stay for generation. One example is the Loess Plataue in China, the cradle of the Han people.

Idea of canopies, not only the tree canopy and the grass canopy. There is a microclimate under the trees AND under the grass.

You can click on the “Hope on a Changing Climate” link to see one of John’s movies. There is also a good website that will help educators use his ideas and work in their classrooms. The Environmental Education Media Project web site can help. His main web site is also full of more information.

In Colombia there is a project called Las Gaviotas. They used a pine species to improve the pH of the soil and they are no pruning. I’ll need to look it up.

USA Stays Alive in Davis Cup Tie

Janko Tipsarevic & Nenad Zimonjic, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Update: John Isner lost in five sets last night to Novak Djokovic. He made Novak work hard and we have a new favorite player from the USA. Good on ya’ John. Serbia advances to play Croatia

This weekend Serbia is playing the USA in a Davis Cup Tennis round of 16 “tie.” Tie is Davis Cup speak for team match. Nadia and I attended the “rubber” yesterday, which was the middle doubles match of a 5 match series. A Davis Cup tie consists of 4 singles matches and 1 doubles, and the country that wins three, wins the tie.

We really enjoyed yesterday’s game between the Serbs (shown above) Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic and the USA team of 6’9″ John Isner and Bob Bryan. Nenad is the number one ranked doubles player in the world, but he usually plays with Daniel Nestor, a Serb born in Belgrade but Canadian-raised. Instead of Nestor, who can’t play for Serbia because he represented Canada in Olympic and Davis Cup play, Janko played with him. Tipsarevic is currently ranked #36 in the world and is the third ranked Serbian tennis player behind Novak and Victor Troiki. Isner was playing for the US in place of Bob’s twin brother, who contracted food poisoning. (I wonder where he ate?) Isner looked really good and should be playing more doubles tennis. He is suited for doubles with his powerful serve and quick reactions at the net. His mobility is not a factor in doubles and I hope he takes my advice and plays more doubles.

John's brother Patrick gives instructions to his team.

The US duo were clearly the stronger team and won in four sets. This gave the US their first win after losing the two singles matches American Sam Querry takes on Victor Troiki (#35 in the world) if necessary.

Whoever wins this tie will advance to the quarterfinals to take on Croatia in Croatia. A Serbia – Croatia will be a fascinating match and the first time the two nations have met since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the Davis Cup.

The Davis Cup is great and it has created a buzz in Belgrade. They even made a clay court in the Belgrade Arena to give the hosts an advantage. But what is lacking however, is a world buzz for a world championship event. I propose big changes in the event to make it better.

First, I would play the whole tourney in a two week Grand Slam format instead of stretching it over the year. Currently, they play Davis Cup weekends during lulls in the over crowded ATP schedule. It would be like the World Cup of Tennis and the top 8 teams in the world would be invited. You could have a playoff to determine teams if there are several closely rated countries. It could become the fifth Grand Slam on the ATP Tour.

The current Davis Cup is to determined by surface and host. Usually, the home nation wins because it has the crowd behind them and they choose the surface that best suits their players. In my Davis World Cup, I would have the surface selected randomly for each rubber, then the teams would have to find their best on a variety of surfaces. To make it even more interesting, lets select the surface AFTER the players have been selected to play. The four surfaces would be clay, grass, two hard court surfaces, perhaps one indoor and one outdoor.

It think if they select a good time, it would really take off and be a big event. I think the best players would play and there would be more worldwide fan interest.

We had great seats in the US Section