Monday, April 06, 2015

What's nice and what's bad about bonsai? Part 2

Bonsai hunting
What's bad about bonsai?

1. Damages the environment and contributes to global Warming.

This has been the concern of many bonsai artist/hobbyist and some even go to the extent of boycotting events that allow participants who do not practice sustainable bonsai, that's what I saw on a Lindsay Farr video about Philippine bonsai.


One case is what happened to the Japanese wild junipers. Wild junipers were almost wiped out because of uncontrolled yamadori hunting by bonsai practitioners that the Japanese government had to step in to replenish junipers in the wild. The specie was never threatened but their presence in their wild natural habitat was. This is happening to the Bantigue, the Philippines premiere bonsai material. It is being hunted to the point where it forced some local government units to pass ordinances banning bantigue hunting within their area of jurisdiction. 

It can be argued that the environmental damage cause by bonsai hunting is minimal compared to the destruction caused by illegal and legal logging, mining, residential and industrial land conversion etc. Bonsai hunters are also selective in their collecting compared to the wholesale destruction caused by the industries mentioned above. Another argument for is that the trees are not really killed instead they are just being replanted despite the fact that they are dwarfed hence lessening their capacity to process carbon dioxide in the air.

Another is the area where the uprooted trees were once planted and now uprooted creates "ecological vacuum" and disturbs the soil which results to soil erosion. and collectively, if you add up all these "little hunting activities" it would still amount to a significant contribution to climate change (or global warming).

The bonsai trade is growing and so is the demand for hunted materials. I for one would be hypocritical if i say that I did not buy hunted material. I did and maybe I will in the future. What needs to be done is to make the hobby environment friendly and sustainable. (Another post on this topic, I guess).

2. Bonsai Addiction

How could anyone get addicted to this hobby. 

Here's my story.

My materials.
I started with one, a ficus microcarpa cutting. Then I got impatient looking at it, I  got another one thinking that while I'm waiting for my first material to develop, I would be working on the next one. Then after the second I got my third tree, a bucida spinoza so on.... the cycle continued until I ended up with almost a hundred bonsai materials and it would have continued until I came to the realization that I am running out of space and I am spending money and too much time for the hobby, which is becoming un-healthy.

I think I have gotten over my addiction and I am now focusing on developing what I have. But there are those who couldn't stop buying on credit and they ended in heavy debt because of overbuying bonsai materials.  This happened to a few members of the online bonsai group that I belonged to. This is embarrassing for the buyer and a financial loss to the bonsai/material hunter-seller.

3. Incompetent Exhibition Judges

Not mine
 I have no experience with exhibitions. My trees are still in their material-training phase and I guess wit would take more years of training to achieve exhibit quality i.e. if they posses the qualities. Anyway, my trees are for personal enjoyment and an exhibition is somewhere out there in a distant galaxy:  

Only experienced bonsai exhibitors can comment on #3 but in my experience with many competitions from basketball to piko this "incompetence" line is always invoked by the losers.

4. Fake Friends

I have only "friends". Fake friends are not real friends so how can they be friends. But I know what they mean: Fake friends are people who uses a friend to gain something at his own advantage and at the disadvantage of his/her friend. Most of my bonsai friends are online so... 

5. Jealous Wives

Well, I have not experienced this yet. An advice: talk to your wife first before you talk to your bonsai.

There you go...

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