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Earth Dr Reese Halter's Blog


Category Archives: plants

California Lutheran University Climate Change student assessment of Earth Dr Reese Halter's class

Story ran in Huffington Post August 30, 2010

The diversity of life on our planet is astounding. And given enough time and careful management of our natural resources, science will find cures for most of the ailments that afflict humankind.

Between 40 and 90 million North Americans suffer from pain. It’s the most common reason that people visit physicians. The annual cost of medical bills and lost wages easily exceeds $100 billion. Sales of morphine and morphine-derived products in the U.S. alone cost $650 million per year. Morphine is addictive, constipating and causes respiratory distress; and over time more of it is needed to obtain relief.

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Joshua trees

Often used by Hollywood, this bizarre looking member of the mostly subtropical agave family provides a striking silhouette standing tall with rigid arms extending in every direction against the orange Mojave Desert sky.

Named by 18th century Mormons after the biblical prophet Joshua, the plant also known as a yucca had special meaning for those wandering across the parched high desert in search of the Promised Lands. Its arms pointing towards heaven, as the story goes, confirmed that they were on course.

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beaut valley

The most magnificent and extensive garden’s the Western world has ever seen are located 12 miles outside Paris at Louis XIVs Palace – Versailles.

Louis identified, at a young age, with Apollo and adopted the sun as his emblem. In fact, he danced as Apollo in one of the more than 40 ballets he performed in as a youth.

The Sun King’s emblem was extensively used: inlaid into furniture, marble floors, woven into carpets and ballet costumes, wrought into gates and grilles, carved into marble vases for the gardens and into door panels of staterooms of the Palace.

Prior to 1661, King Louis XIII used Versailles as a hunting retreat.

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California Lutheran University Climate Change student assessment of Earth Dr Reese Halter's class

Of the more than 80,000 tree species on our planet, the Indian neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is magnificent and known by millions of people as “the village pharmacy.”

Imagine one kind of tree that offers medicine, cosmetics, rope, tea, glue, wood, fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides, lubricant, lighting and heating oil, veterinary medicine and shade. Welcome to the neem tree.

Neem is native to India and Burma. It grows from the southern Indian tip of Kerala to the Himalayan hills. It spans both tropical and subtropical latitudes, from wet tropical to semi arid regions and from sea level to 2,300 feet elevation. It does not tolerate cold temperatures or saturated soils.

These evergreen beauties can easily reach 100 feet in height with impressive regal crowns and 8 feet girths. They are very fast growing trees that are able to recolonize denuded and infertile soils. Their profuse white mellifluous flowers bear fruit that at first glance resembles an olive.

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Torrey Pines State Reserve, Del Mar, CA

The native ecosystems along the coast and into the mountains of southern California are breathtaking. They have been sculpted by millions of years of climate change and Mother Nature’s biological broom – fire.

The equator is bombarded with the most amount of solar radiation; and warm, moist air constantly rises, cools, rains and by the time the air returns to Earth’s surface its latitudes are about 30 degrees north or south of the equator. This coincides with the world’s great deserts.

Yet, in six unique locales a combination of local factors preclude the occurrence of deserts – instead semi arid shrublands thrive in: southwestern and southern Australia, southern California, central Chile, the Mediterranean Basin and the Cape of South Africa.

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California Lutheran University Climate Change student assessment of Earth Dr Reese Halter's class

Story in the Malibu Times Jan 18, 2013

Microorganisms are the most predominant creatures on our planet. Although technology has made great inroads in saving lives, nature’s medicine chest has a proven antidote just waiting to be unleashed.

In the 1940s improved sanitation and nutrition and the rise of antibiotics significantly reduced deaths occurring from: cholera, diphtheria, tuberculosis, small pox, typhus, hepatitis and amoebic dysentery.

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Beautiful spring wildflowers

Story ran on Malibu Times blog Feb 15, 2013

For thousands of years the First Peoples of Earth have known the importance of respecting all living things. There is a natural cure for every ailment that afflicts humankind; the caveat is that we must not continue to dismantle all the wild ecosystems.

One of the most amazing plants that I have come across over the past quarter of a century of studying forests is the South Pacific noni or Morinda citrifolia.

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