Article 67 – ‘Pursuing the vision not the money’

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai in this post we share our perception meaning the organization, identification, interpretation of information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment and present it in a professional manner. 

Introduction – this article is for those who constantly send messages to Taiga Bonzai (T.B.) with comments including “Great site with innovated, interesting and educative articles on many topics, but I see that you don’t make money, let me show you how” and “why don’t you go on YouTube you can make money there.” There are reasons why we do not partake in such ventures, these will be explained and although we will probably be criticised for our point of view, we appreciate your concern and the interest shown.

The vision – T.B. pays a higher annual subscription for the privilege of preventing companies regardless of their intentions be they fair or foul from advertising on our site. We have been in operation since February 2016 – an on-going project filled with unique and engaging content unravelling the complexities associated with the world’s ‘oldest living art form’ via simplification.

The articles are educative informative discussions covering the many aspects of bonsai horticulture, read by our followers world-wide whom we invite to share views and ask questions, which many have entered into; we also engage in topics that are of a major concern including pests and disease.

Advertising – is a form of selling where communication is intended to persuade an audience or individual to purchase products or services regardless of whether they need them or not. Of course advertising if implemented in a professional manner does have its uses as vendors need to inform the public of their products, but it increasingly invades public spaces and in many cases is a constant annoyance.

For example if the vendor’s message fails to create interest they change strategy adopting different tactics including, unsolicited commercial email and other forms of spam that have become so widespread they are a major irritant to internet users and a financial burden on internet service providers.

YouTube – is an audio visual channel where countless people portray their various activities for example, homesteading, mechanics, restoration, culinary, bonsai horticulture and much more. The tools used, drones, various cameras, microphones and editing platforms have greatly improved over the years, but although are less expensive than broadcast equipment they are inferior unable to take the abuse they are put through. This evidence is borne by the people whom use said equipment that are constantly having to replace it due to misuse.

Arguably some of the footage aired is acceptable, but much of it is indifferent; it is what it is a ‘home video’ lacking in structure, content, context and directive failing to captivate the audience. However, we do not condemn this practise far from it, good luck to those who use YouTube as a platform to boost ratings gain sponsorship and if financial incentives are the reward then so be it.

T.B. – owns broadcast film equipment readily available should it be needed and as a professional filmmaker the old adage of ‘quality not quantity’ still remains our watchword, a perspective applied to all that is undertaken regardless of its genre. But as the pundits persist in saying “YouTube video presentations do not have to be broadcast standard” which, is a ludicrous and morally unacceptable statement; “If a task is worth doing, do it well or leave it alone“, you have all heard that phrase at sometime in your lives.

Bonsai horticultural practises are abundant on YouTube covering a number of topics including, seminars, workshops and demonstrations, but in the main the quality leaves much to be desired. To add to this a new approach has to be devised, one that has structure, content, context, meaning and message as governed by the laws of film language and its narrative structure, which the vast majority of YouTube presentations fail to adhere to. Professional filmmaking takes time to complete from the initial concept to the finished presentation.

Another important factor to consider is once one starts a YouTube channel, one has to continuously work at it on a regular basis to maintain a following and although some succeed in their endeavours, many fail. Moreover, the content has to of a moral standard according to YouTube guidelines whatever they are and failure to follow the rules can result in unwanted consequences.

For the foreseeable future Taiga Bonzai will remain in its current status – a platform continuing to write educative articles for our followers. Perhaps were are missing out by not chasing the filthy lucre, but do we want to go down the road of no return, not at this juncture – we prefer to pursue the vision not the money. Until next time BW; Nik.

‘filthy lucre’

Nota bene: In the last article 66 Unseen enemies update’ we gave reasons why restrictions were imposed due to unprecedented message problems, this has now ceased henceforth restrictions are now removed. However, should the onslaught reappear they will be reinstated; if you wish to contact us our email address can be found in the ‘about’ section at the top of the article.

Article 66 – ‘Unseen enemies update’

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai in this post we share some of the comments we have received regarding article 56 ‘Bug apocalypse’ and this series ‘Unseen enemies’.

Introduction – the viewpoints of our readers are many and varied with all having concerns on the ever increasing problem of pests and disease that are threatening our very existence. But to discuss them all at length would make this article far too long therefore, we will take a small selection 10 in total in reverse order and we thank all whom have commented on our articles. In addition, there were also questions that will be answered at the end.

  • 10. Amy Hardcastle – “I had heard of the problem with declining insect populations but I did not realise the situation was so severe, I do now! Thank you.”
  • 9. Leon Sanchez – “Your post unseen enemies 4 re: ‘Portugal confirmed its first case in 2019 on lavender’ certainly shows the severity of the problem with the deadly disease Xylella fastidiosa, congrats.”
  • 8. Gillian P. Simmonds – “Taiga bonzai certainly knows how to get people’s attention on topics that most fail to understand, we do have problems and I do agree they need to be addressed, please keep writing.”
  • 7. Jonas Olsson – “Great work, you have given the powers that be a strong clear message will they listen! I sincerely hope they do otherwise we will be in serious trouble.”
  • 6. Lilian Gough – “Many bloggers write good work but yours is on another level, your work is artistic informative and a pleasure to read if only there were more like you.”
  • 5. Heinz Muller – “Bug apocalypse and unseen enemies really drive the message home here’s hoping the bureaucrats take note, very good articles.”
  • 4. Andrew Billings – “Talent is a hard to find in these days especially on subjects such as yours – you are able to get the message across, enjoyable reading, I look forward to more.”
  • 3. Galen Jonak – “It’s hard to come by well-informed people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks”
  • 2. Taren Vanlier – “May I simply say what a relief to uncover a person that really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.”
  • 1. Dalton Beitz – “I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something concerning this.”

The questions – there were many on pests and disease for example, how to eradicate them and by what methods, the protection of forests and woodland, tighter restrictions on importation, new phytosanitary regulations and will there be any detriment to bonsai horticulture.

1. Eradicating pests and disease – “What methods of eradicating pests and disease are currently in use and what is the success rate?”

For aeons agriculturists and horticulturists around the globe have been trying to halt the onslaught of pest and diseases that have devastated crops, forests and woodland. Many of these unwanted entities have arrived either by wind (pathogens) and wing (Insecta) and through packaging in more recent times. To date over 1 million species of insects have been discovered and described, but it is estimated that approximately 10 million exist on earth. For plant pathogens there are over 100 for every tree species. (60,065 in total)

Many we know of and are able to eradicate via insecticide and fungicide, but many chemicals are no longer effective and/or are not available for general public use for obvious reasons. Pesticides widely used include Cypermethrin, Glyphosate, Lambda Cyhalothrin, Chlorpyriphos, Cypermethrin Acetamiprid and Profenos Cypermethrin. However, insecta can become immune for example, the cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera has documented resistance to 49 pesticides. Pathogens are able to mutate and many are not affected by fungicide sprays and in some cases there is no chemical cure; hence the success rate is minimal to say the least. Science has to find solutions that are safe not just for humans but also the environment.

2. Woodland and forest protection – “What methods or practises are in place to protect forests and woodland?”

Practically all foresters are knowledgeable regarding the health and status of their plants and are able to detect problems quite quickly when symptoms appear. However, there are diseases that attack tree root and water conducting systems for which the signs are not visible until it is too late for example, Armillaria and Xylella fastidiosa. Anthracnose and Fire blight are visible as they attack foliage and small branches, infected trees by the above die within a short space of time, hence they are normally removed and burnt to avoid further contamination.

Aftermath of Xylella fastidiosa

Borers are perhaps the most harmful to trees, Asian Longhorned beetle Anoplophora glabripennis (China and Korea), Bronze Birch borer Agrilus anxius (United States), Emerald Ash borer Agrilus planipennis (China), Sirex woodwasp Sirex noctilio (Worldwide) and Dutch Elm Disease DED (UK). Evidence of their existence are particles of wood dust at the base of the trunk the result of tunneling into the tree’s cortex where eggs are laid and eradicating them is extremely difficult. 

3. Tighter restrictions on importation – “You have brought to awareness through your articles the problems with pest and disease control, will tightening the rules further reduce the problem?”

The World Trade Organization (WTO formed on January 1st 1995 with 164 members) is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations. Governments use the organization to establish, revise and enforce the rules that govern international trade. However, there are 14 countries who are not members including, Aruba, Eritrea, Kiribati, Kosovo, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, the Palestinian Territories, San Marino, Sint Maarten and Tuvalu.

Therefore, it is extremely difficult to enforce rules and regulations further if there is stiff opposition, because trade rules for agriculture remain an extremely sensitive issue. This is particularly the case when agricultural imports carry the threat of disease. Nonetheless, under the rules of the WTO member countries are allowed to restrict the importation of agricultural products from diseased regions should potential risks be apparent.

4. New phytosanitary regulations – “What do these new rules entail and can they be enforced?”

Every country on the planet is a sovereign nation and has the supreme right to make or change laws as it so desires regardless of what treaties or agreements are in place. However, the nations in the EU block have to abide by the rules laid down by the commission, but the UK has parted company with the block and has no obligation to adhere to any mandate. The latter passed new phytosanitary regulations in January 2021 due to diseases that are now rife in Europe, any country wishing to trade with the UK has to abide these new measures. Such mandates are regulatory in other nations including Australia, North America, Canada and Russia.

5. A detriment to bonsai horticulture – “Will these new restrictions have an effect on the bonsai fraternity?”

We are researching and monitoring new laws and what we can divulge is the from the 1st January 2022 according to the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

“All plants, plant products and other objects categorised as either ‘regulated and notifiable’ or ‘regulated’ must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate – All plants, plant products and other objects categorised as ‘regulated’ will require pre-notification, but only if instructed to do so upon submitting a customs import declaration.”

Since leaving the EU, importing goods from the UK has and is an arduous affair with more paperwork and additional import duty costs and these new regulations now in situ just exacerbate the issue. Meaning purchasing bonsai products from the UK will not be impossible, but extremely tedious and time consuming. No doubt the EU will probably reciprocate due to their petty minded bureaucracy because of the UK’s actions. However, there are many bonsai outlets on mainland Europe and other countries where the restrictions although in force are less rigid.

We wrote article 56 ‘Bug apocalypse’ because we were asked to do so, ‘Unseen enemies’ was a follow on because the two are connected. It was felt that these issues not high on governments agenda needed to brought to the public awareness due to the severity of the current situation, which if not addressed will spiral out of control.

Turning to another issue that is of great concern to us, is the vast amount of comments we have received on one post in particular article 50 – ‘Used, Abused and Unloved’. In the previous 2 days the total exceeded over 1,000 and today (Saturday 8th January) another 480 were lodged, this colossal amount on one article is unprecedented; hence investigation is in progress.

The comments themselves were not malicious in any shape or form quite the opposite and many required a response, but dealing with them is time consuming therefore, rules have been tightened in the hope that the onslaught will decrease. For example, (a) Comment author must fill out name and e-mail and (b) Users must be registered and logged in to comment. T.B. is not in favour of imposing restrictions we want our site to be available to all, but for the moment necessity compels. Until next time, BW, Nik.