Cycling Around Portland During COVID-19

I’ve been going out to walk more as the weather begins to improve. Like so many people around the world who are staying mostly at home these days I’ve been going a little stir crazy. Today, as the temperature approached 50º F I

was feeling a bit lethargic–should I go out on the bike? Absolutely, so I suited up and rode to the Old Port (downtown Portland) section. You can see the route I took with the screenshot taken from my Ride with GPS account. The sky was blue, the wind slight. Traffic was light along Washington Avenue. However, once I approached the park areas toward the Back Cove, it was like a Sunday afternoon. Navigating my way on the cycle/pedestrian path was challenging so as not to hit anyone.

Aside from couples or families with kids, it looked like everyone was keeping

their six foot distances. This was my first foray into the city with all the emergency protocols in place. My first stop was the state pier and the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal; its service to the islands now cut back.

From there I rode down

Commercial Street and up to the Market/Exchange Street intersection. This is normally a highly congested area with traffic and pedestrians. As you can see, there wasn’t much going on (and holy cow, the Holy Donut Shop was closed!); I pretty much had the streets to myself. From there I rode

Holy Donut Closed

up to the next block to Post Office Park on Middle Street. It was pretty empty there, too.

With that I turned around and headed back to the cycle path and, stopping at the Cutter Street Parking lot. There, while eating my power bar, two of Plante’s ferries were offloading and loading construction trucks, from Peaks Island. The entire area was crowded with people, like me, just happy to get out of the house.

After that, a couple of swigs of water and I was off. By the time I got home, I was breathing deeply and my lethargy gone!

Are you getting out? If so, what are you doing?

Life in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 Virus

I’m thinking that during this unprecedented and difficult time many of us might be thinking the worst. A lot of “What ifs . . . .”

So, maybe a quick diversion. Since this blog is mostly related to our natural environment, very few of my photos are posted here. However, I’m in the process of rebuilding my photo collection at my online gallery where you will find photos of my work in other areas.

And perhaps, a little gallows humor is in order,  as performed by Monty Python and the Flying Circus , since we all seem to be “in a bit of a pickel.”

As the World Shuts Down

Commercial St. in Portland, Maine Midday on Friday March 18 during COVID-19

Earlier this week I took the ferry out to Peaks Island to get the last of my stuff from my rental. While waiting for the ferry I walked over to Commercial Street and took the photo, above. This is the main artery running along the waterfront. As you can see, there are few cars. Schools, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the courts, along with many other establishments were closed. At 6 PM all bars and restaurants were limited to take-out only.

It’s ironical that just now as I’m getting resettled and ready to resume my photography (that has been mostly dormant for the past six months) that I (along with the rest of the world) must shelter in place both for my benefit and that of my community.

Unlike past pandemics, COVID-19 has spread to all continents, except Antarctica, in a “flash of an instant” while we follow its developments and consequences in real time. Much as in the aftermath of the two World Wars, humanity will likely be changed for decades. Governments will likely allocate far more monies for disease surveillance and first responder infrastructures, if for no other reasons than the financial costs of shutting down the economy.

U.S. Screening for Coronavirus Among Passengers Returning From Europe Could Backfire

https://time.com/5803402/coronavirus-airport-lines/

This is just one more example of the ill-preparedness of the administration to address this crisis. Packing people in against public health advice will spread the virus among the passengers who will in turn scatter and further spread the virus back home. Better to just let the passengers through customs as usual, and reduce the spread of disease.

This is yet another example of how we don’t have a well-thought, coordinated public health policy addressing pandemics.

Gulf of Maine Heating at 7 Times the Rate of the Oceans

Sinister Oil
Sinister Oil


 

I’m slowly getting settled here in Maine where I shot a roll of film in December and just recently had the chance to develop it in my new photo lab.

As I noted several years ago in my photobook, Exploring Maine’s Coast, the Gulf of Maine is heating, rapidly. In fact, it’s heating at 7 times the rate of all the oceans. We are now beginning to know why. As reported in Science News by Agu, and published in the journal, Science, there are several reasons for this. First, the Gulf of Maine is relatively shallow and rather closed in by George’s Bank. Second, as climate change warms the Arctic, meltwater coming off the glacier on the east coast of Greenland flows into the southbound Labrador Current. Normally this current keeps the northbound Gulfstream further out to sea. However, since freshwater from the glacier lowers the salinity of the Labrador Current, it is pushed lower down in the Gulf, allowing the Gulfstream to move closer to shore. Third, the air is also getting warmer.

As a result, the rich supply of fish and lobster are beginning to migrate further north. Eventually, the Gulf of Maine will host fish from warmer waters. In the meantime there are more in the way of toxic algae blooms.

Yet, from the shores of Cape Elizabeth, once can still see the arrivals of oil tankers bringing in more petroleum, on which we all depend. The environmental scientists tell us we’re running out of time to switch over to renewable energy. That assumes, of course, that we believe in science as the best way to know the world in which we live.

You can see more of my December shoot at my online gallery.

 

 

 

Lies, Lies, and the Administration That Tells Them

The New York Times reports how the current administtation inserts distortions of credible environmental scientists into government climate reports. This is made possible by the people he has appointed to head government agencies, people who are loyal to the president, not to the principles of the agency that they head.

This is just one more example of how the United States is moving away from democracy to a more Orwellian state.

I’ll continue to review reports that I cite in this blog for these distortions. However, if you find something you question, do let me know.