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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

ECOtime

Air Date: Week of October 24, 2008

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The planet's natural calendar, with its cycles of hibernation, sprouting, fading and rebirth, can seem remote in our techno-filled lives. Tune in to the remedy: ECOtime. This week, we hear about flaming leaves.

Transcript

GELLERMAN: Feel like you’re spending too much time indoors and out of touch with the great outdoors? Well the folks at the ECOcalendar project have just the thing to pick you up and get you heading for the hills. It’s a feature Living on Earth will be airing in the coming months, called ECOtime.

HARDMAN: Flaming leaves. Deciduous means to fall away, and deciduous trees, such as poplar, dogwood, beech, maple, birch and oak, shed their leaves in the fall.

Leaves are solar panels that use chlorophyll to transform those golden rays of sunshine into sugar stored in sap. Chlorophyll is green so throughout spring and summer we're shaded beneath a cool canopy of luxuriant greenery, but come fall, the shorter days mean less sunlight, signaling to the deciduous tress that it’s time to hunker down for winter, cease their production of chlorophyll, and prepare to jettison their leaves.

Thus, the leaves lose their green and instead transform, in their final days, into the colors of the summer sun itself - russet, yellow, red, crimson...as they flame out in a final homage to that fiery energy ball which is the sun.

GELLERMAN: That's Chris Hardman with ECOtime, part of the ECOcalendar project coming soon on Living on Earth. For more information, go to loe.org.

 

Links

ECOtime on Living On Earth is part of Chris Hardman's ECOlogical Calendar

 

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