I’m thankful for terrestrial carbon sequestration

4″ x 6″ watercolor
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Those beautiful and vibrantly painted trees setting the scene for your Thanksgiving are doing far more than visually entertaining you during the drive to grandma’s house. They’re also enormous vacuums sucking up gaseous pollutants spilling out of your tailpipe. In technical terms, they are performing “terrestrial carbon sequestration.” This is,

“the process through which carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere is absorbed by trees, plants and crops through photosynthesis, and stored as carbon in biomass (tree trunks, branches, foliage and roots) and soils. The term ‘sinks’ is also used to refer to forests, croplands, and grazing lands, and their ability to sequester carbon…A carbon sink occurs when carbon sequestration is greater than carbon releases over some time period.” – US EPA

What is most alarming is the disparity between the rise of total CO2 emissions and diminishing landscapes left intact to absorb it.

Yes, I am thankful for the many wonderful people in my life such as my grandfather who still calls me “Ashley Kay” (even though my middle name is Michelle), my dad who has lovingly referred to me as “moose” ever since my height became awkwardly obvious as a kid, and my mom who tells me my driving makes her nauseous and will forever try to get me to wear pink. It’s incredibly easy to take for granted (and abuse) the many sources of our happiness. Sometimes we forget to thank a friend or family member, but few of us have ever felt appreciation for the hard working array of plants that forgive and balance our toxic output.

Times are a changin’. Many of us are beginning to acknowledge the life-supporting functions of nature, which soon may not be around to continue on going unnoticed and unappreciated. Here is a short list of ways for you to express your gratitude for your planet:

Add a few more check boxes to this year’s to-be-thankful-for list and have a happy Turkey Day!
Click here for a direct link to watch this painting being painted.



  • Very cool video. It’s neat to see the work in progress/process. More importantly though I’m giggling over the coincidence that we have the exact same name. My parents decided to use my middle name instead of my first name so I’ve always been Michelle, but it’s nice to know another Ashley Michelle.

  • What are the chances of that? I went to college with a girl with my same first and last name. I once got a letter from the director of her dorm listing her under-age drinking policy infractions and the sanctions that came with it. It was hard to explain that they had the wrong Ashley Cecil.

  • Glad you like it Matt; it’s on its way to your sister.

    Thanks Jardana. Glad you’re still following my work.

  • It’s a nice painting. 🙂 Not sure about the CO2 alarmism though. I heard Sea plankton is one of the biggest carbon sequestrators. Of course as human beings we exhale CO2 so people that take unnecessary exercise like joggers and other fitness fanatics contribute to global warming and also contribute to the dangers of secondary non-smoking lol 🙂

  • very interesting blog. i have forgotten all of the basic science we learned as youngsters, this was a great reminder of how important our trees are. i will try to curse less as i rake leaves yet again this weekend….

  • Very interesting perspective Amanda. I will keep it in mind the next time I’m trying to talk myself into going for a run. I guess there is an argument against it.

  • Thank you for covering carbon sequestration. I’m no forester but the experts tell me it is the way of the future. Businesses in the relatively near future will be paying forest owners big bucks to keep the carbon sequestered and thereby offset polllution. California landowners are already selling credits.

    Hopefully this will also be a source of non-coal income for eastern kentuckians. If anyone wants more info on how Kentucky is preparing see the folks at MACED:


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