Trees Prepare for Winter

Trees Prepare for Winter

Imagine standing naked outside on a cold winter day. When winter’s chill comes, people take shelter. If we have to be out, we put on more clothing. Most animals have fur or feathers to help keep them warm, and they also seek shelter from the cold. Trees in winter can only stand there and take it for months at a time. So how do trees prepare for winter?

Living cells in plants or animals consist primarily of water inside a membrane. If you leave a bottle of water in your car on a night when the temperature drops below freezing, you know it will freeze and break the bottle. That is because water has the unique property of expanding as it freezes. The same thing can happen in living cells. If the water in the cell freezes, it will expand and rupture the membrane. Animals that are endothermic (warm-blooded) generate heat within their cells by burning sugar to produce energy. Plants make sugar using light energy. With a few exceptions, they don’t produce heat.

How do trees prepare for winter? They use a process botanists refer to as “hardening.” The cell walls become more permeable to allow water to escape. At the same time, sugars, proteins, and acids in the cell are concentrated into a syrupy liquid, which acts as an antifreeze. The spaces between the cell walls become filled with ultra-pure water filtered through the cell walls. Pure water without stray atoms to form a nucleus around which ice crystals can grow, will freeze only at a much lower temperature. With the cells filled with antifreeze and spaces between having only ultra-pure water that can be super-cooled without freezing, the tree is ready for what the winter brings.

How does the tree know that it’s time to harden for winter? Fall weather can fluctuate quickly and dramatically. A tree can’t depend on the fickle weather because it could easily be fooled by warm days that suddenly turn cold, causing it to freeze to death. Trees know when to prepare for winter because of the length of the days – the “photoperiod.” Weather is unpredictable. The Sun is absolutely dependable. When the tree senses a decrease in light in each 24-hour cycle, it knows winter is coming, even if the weather is unusually warm. The pattern of changing daylight and darkness is exactly the same every year, even though the weather is capricious.

God engineered this incredibly well-designed system. “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for seasons and for days and for years’” (Genesis 1:14). Thus God designed the system which says, “Trees prepare for winter.” It’s another engineering marvel from the Creator.

— Roland Earnst © 2019

Human Greed Causes Human Suffering

Human Greed Causes Human Suffering
We are all familiar with the history of cancer and tobacco, where evidence that smoking caused cancer was suppressed by the tobacco industry to avoid losing money. Now evidence has been uncovered showing that the sugar industry suppressed data showing a correlation between sugar and a number of health issues. It’s another example where human greed causes human suffering.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article titled “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents.” It said, “Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s.” It goes on to say that the Sugar Research Foundation (a project of the sugar industry) sponsored its first research project in 1965. They “singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor.”

The article went on to say that “the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD.” According to industry documents, a study commissioned in 1968 showed that animals fed sucrose (table sugar) produced high levels of an enzyme linked to hardened arteries and bladder cancer. The study was never published because the sugar industry stopped the study and suppressed the data. Dr. Stanton Glantz, one of the authors of the article, says, “This is continuing to build the case that the sugar industry has a long history of manipulating science.”

The problem here is not the natural materials, but the human chemical alteration of the natural product. Pure sucrose is not found in nature. Human greed has once again connected the profit motive and human suffering. The writers of the JAMA article stated the obvious fact that “Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry-funded studies.”

Those who blame God for the suffering that exists in the world need to realize that, more often than not, human greed causes human suffering.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Reference: The Week December 8, 2017, page 8, and JAMA November 2017.