Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sing for the Unsung Hero

The world needs more people like Joe Browder.  He was instrumental in saving acres of the Everglades.  Here he is taking a stroll in his cathedral.  Rest in peace.

A quote from his experience:

“Look at it this way, Louise,” she recalled Mr. Browder telling her. “Would you rather have some influence over deciding where the airport will be located, or would you rather decide where to plant the trees and grass around the parking lots?”

He loved nature no doubt.  Read his obit here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Exxon Tries to Move the Spotlight

Classic corporate move -- Exxon is investigating the investigators.

State officials in Texas -- where else -- are investigating District Attorneys in other states who are trying to determine if Exxon Mobil knew more about climate change's causes and harms than it has said it knew.

They've got a political lap dog, a Republican from Texas named Lamar, a veritable gauntlet of lawyers, and a chorus of communications professionals without conscious.  Greed runs wide and deep and long.

If they can say that the people investigating them are under investigation, they've won another small victory in the obfuscation of climate change and their culpability.

This is because Exxon Mobil is one of the dirtiest companies the world has ever seen, and they will use every angle or strategy to continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of human health and the health of the planet.

Once again, Greenpeace says it like it is:

Annie Leonard, its executive director, said “America’s least respected politicians have now courageously stepped up to defend one of America’s most hated corporations from scrutiny.”

The 13 signers of the Smith letter (investigating the DAs), she noted, “have been paid millions in campaign contributions from coal, oil and gas companies, so this letter is more proof that the system works — for corporations.”

Here's an article about it from the New York Times:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sun Hugger

The greatest thing about solar power systems is that they make sense in the grand scheme of things.

The sun brings life to this planet.  Nearly every living thing exists because the sun provides energy that creates food -- like plants and phytoplantkon -- which in turn is eaten by all sorts of critters which are in turn are eaten by all sorts of other critters.

Only in caves and two miles under the ocean, where the sun does not penetrate, does life succeed without sunlight.  But those are rare instances.

Taking solar energy from the sun in the form of excited electrons in glass and silica to energize human lives has an elegance to it.  I'd go as far as to say it nudges us closer to the natural world.

It sure beats the heck out of burning something we dug up and over-stuffing the atmosphere with dirty gasses.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Too Tranquilo

Too Tranquilo in Guatemala

Chocolate-black sand
on this stretch of Pacific Beach
off the vast volcanic slope
that is southern Guatemala.
Spotted a bright white egret in the mangroves so far.
A lone tern wandering up and down the coast
flying just overhead while I bobbed in the swells.
And a long and curious line of pelicans,
like a wandering, dotted pencil drawing.
They gathered in one spot in the sky,
and then flew overhead single file
same distance apart one from the other, quietly organized.

Basura is on the sand and in the brush
and burning on the step-away streets.
Industrial smell of smoldering plastic.
Up in smoke may be better than in the tern's belly.
Two massive dark objects on the horizon.
Boxy, obvious right angles of man,
three distinct smoke stacks.
clear, even from my distance.
Staking a terrible claim to rake the ocean,
processing the catch on board into frozen ingots of lost wilds.

Shrimp is everywhere on the local menu,
because nearly all of the mangroves in the area
have been turned into shrimp farms.
Manatees and cranes and juvenile fish
become homeless overnight.
I can't eat the shrimp knowing this.
My silent boycott about as significant as a grain of sand.
The sole tourist boat
must charge $200 U.S. a head,
to buy gas to get out far enough,
to see big marine life.
Not sure if that's a product of anything or if it's always been that way.
But I imagine there was a time when you
could sit on the beach and see
whales and bottlenose dolphin, and maybe even a manta.

Vaunted turtle sanctuary in the ramshackle town,
just past Johnny's Saloon,
has empty pools with dry black sand in the bottom.
But also flat sand beds protected and marked off
as if growing tomatoes but nothing has sprouted yet,
not the tiny paws
or the small snout of a newborn sea turtle.
Life is brave the turtle says,
life is delicate and brief, but resilient,
to a point.
The turtles hatch and are corralled into mesh cylinders,
later they are set off into the ocean,
like seeds in a brisk wind.
Stuff whatever money I have in my pocket
into their donation box.
Someone is trying.
Lizards, birds, insects, marine life, mangroves?
All quiet. Too tranquilo. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our Natural Selection Moment

The current renewable energy revolution lead by solar power emerges less as a technological revolution and more as human evolution.  Call it our next species, where we finally shake the mantle of our caveman selves.

It is the natural selection moment that may save us. Our fifteen minutes of genetic fame.  Not elongated toes to support walking upright or more expansive skulls this time.  This time it's cerebral.

We have the power to reason that we must change something fundamental in order to save ourselves.  It is no less real than using tools for the first time so that we can improve our diet and grow our survival.

The crux is plain as day -- early man burned things to create heat and light, and we’re still doing that.  It has been an amazing 400,000 year run, from the warm glow of coals in a chilly cavern on an ancient winter's night to coal-fired plants running a fantastic metropolis.  Outstanding, really, but it's still burning things.  Time to move on.

As most evolutions, it is required and necessary for a species to undertake or the species goes away.

This fits exactly in with moving – evolving – away from fossil fuel systems and toward renewable energy systems, especially solar, while the ravages of climate change begin to fray the edges of humanity and modern civilization.

We've all heard the dire predictions.  It does not bode well for us this enormous challenge called climate change.  But if we continue to adopt more and more solar power, we will be reining in climate change and thereby preserving our own species.

We will be embracing the next evolution.  We will have evolved as a necessity of survival.  It’s not a revolution as much as it’s an evolution, to a better species, a smarter species.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Help Horseshoe Crabs

Happy to be chosen as a guest blogger at The Safina Center, happier still that more people will get the word about horseshoe crabs and hopefully sign the save the horseshoe crab petition.

As it is, someone with a license in New York can take up to 500 crabs per day. That’s the kind of limit that represents no limit, says Carl Safina in The View from Lazy Point.

“There is something in man that hates natural abundance, and something that clings to excess,” wrote Dr. Safina.

In the Northeast, horseshoe crabs are declining and current catch levels are unsustainable.  Give them a chance.

Check out the post: Help Horseshoe Crabs Live Another Million Years 

Monday, July 27, 2015

God's Green Earth

Q: Is climate change a global challenge to humanity?

A: Is the Pope Catholic?

Yes, he is and apparently there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.  Many of them look to him for guidance.

The Pope says it's humanity's responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth.  It's a moral obligation.

That's why I'm ecstatic.  Even though it was a month ago, I'm still buzzing.  There's so much bad news out there around the health of ecosystems, it's sometimes hard to believe the good news.

The pontiff didn't mince words, either.  "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis said.  He called for a "revolution" and he called out fossil fuels.

Can I get a Hallelujah?  How about an Amen?

The great news is that the Pope is not the only revered religious leader who says we should take care of God's green Earth.  In January 2013, the head of the Christian Orthodox church went as far as to call pollution a sin.  The Dalai Lama himself has asked for an ethical approach to environmental protection.