The Trump Administration released the U.S. Climate Report this past Black Friday, hoping that it would get little press. That is not how it is playing out since it has been all over the news. Focusing on the U.S. only, it parallels the conclusions of the recently released IPCC Report. Written for a general
audience, these data are dizzying to most of us. I recently saw the 1973 film, Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston. It is a fictionalized account of a world suffering from the greenhouse effect and overpopulation. Everyone (except the wealthy) are suffering from heat, disease, and a lack of food. In fact, the only food available to the masses is an assortment of “soy” wafers.
The predictions in the U.S. report are bleak. Unbeknownst to me is the fact that the Northeastern United States is warming faster than the rest of the lower 48:
The seasonal climate, natural systems, and accessibility of certain types of recreation are threatened by declining snow and ice, rising sea levels, and
rising temperatures. By 2035, and under both lower and higher scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), the Northeast is projected to be more than 3.6°F (2°C) warmer on average than during the preindustrial era. This would be the largest increase in the contiguous United States and would occur as much as two decades before global average temperatures reach a similar milestone.
The only way I can describe our predicament is that we are in a slow motion “nuclear war” that will change the face of life on our planet. Yes, we can minimize the destructive effects of climate change, but we had better start now, according to the scientists.
Here on the north coast the weather can get pretty rough. Remember the Edmund Fitzgerald (it sank on Lake Superior)? Well, Ontario is a pretty rough place when the wind blows from the northeast. Last week a nor’easter swept up the east coast and we were on its northwestern side. Even so, we had winds up to 35 MPH with about an inch of rain.
So I decided to suit-up in my rain gear and go out for a shoot at the Webster Pier in the park of the same name. With my 35mm camera loaded with Ilford 3200 B&W film under a camera hood I ventured out, keeping the lens pointed down, then shooting mostly downwind to keep the lens dry (I still had droplets on the lens). That day the water was churning but the waves were only about 3 or 4 feet high. With the more powerful winter storms waves can be from 6 to 9 feet (great for winter surfing)!
When I arrived the wind was “only” blowing at about 25 MPH; there were several die-hard fisherman trying their luck, with one pair out on the pier. However, after about an hour the winds strengthened to around 35 MPH and they left; I was really being buffeted during this period, making it difficult to compose my shots and keep my lens dry.
People love living near the water, but during storms things can get really dicey. Many had their properties at least partially flooded last year. You can see how close some homes are to the shore in the last photo.
If you have any storm shots from the Great Lakes, we would all love to see them!
As I write this I am at the Norfolk Hilton in the midst of tropical storm Michael, where the Association for Applied & Clinical Sociology presentations begin tomorrow. I thought I was going to be the “grim reaper” as I was to conclude that we only have a few more decades before the human population begins to decline. However, as you might have heard in the news, I was scooped by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that released its climate update on October 8; it concludes that things will be much worse than previous models have projected when global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees centigrade above the 1880 baseline between 2030 and 2050.
I will post a summary of my presentation on my return, along with a link to my full report.
Due to connection problems, this post was not uploaded until October 16 @ 9:15 AM.
I am not back on the water, just thinking about it. Some of the best water in my opinion is off the Maine coast, as we see here with a sailboat sailing into a fog bank in Portland harbor. Living on the North Coast (i.e., Lake Ontario) is nice but it just cannot compare to the salt water coasts. The tides, the salty air, and, oh yeah, those “back door” cold fronts that so often create widespread fog. Ahh, “when that fog horn blows . . . .”
There is nothing like a storm breaking waves over the rocks. The sound of the
crashing waves is relaxing. Actually, nice weather or stormy weather (hurricanes aside) by the sea affect most people quite pleasantly, which is why coastal property is so expensive. Here is a brief take of one stormy day on Peaks Island in the photograph to the right.
Something went horribly wrong in this next photograph on the left. It looks like the film was scratched. None of the other frames on the roll have these scratches so I am a bit perplexed. Seeing these, I decided to process the photo with a somewhat austere look, hoping to bring some new aesthetic to the photo. I am not sure it worked.
Late one afternoon, as cumulus clouds were building, I took this last shot as a small boat was on its way back from, well, who knows where?
I will be back at Peaks next year for more of these great Down East* scenes.
*The phrase derives from sailing terminology: sailors from western ports (e.g., Boston) sailed downwind (summer prevailing winds are from the southwest) toward the east to reach Maine and the Maritime provinces.
A friend invited me out on his sail boat this week-end. After leaving our slip we headed out the Genesee to the open lake. On our way out we saw a photo shoot taking place on the breakwater to our left (err, port). There was little wind so we had to motor about half of the time. The lake was smooth, it was warm, and the colors were great! You can view the shots of the evening in the first six frames at my online gallery.
Given our low winter temperatures and the lake’s fresh water, you might not recognize this breakwater in the dead of winter as strong winds produce crashing waves and spray that make the above look like an extended block of ice.
Realizing that I have been the purveyor of bleak news in several of my recent posts, it is time to return to the positive aspects of our environment. Actually, most of us, most of the time, miss it–even when we are out in it. We are focused on our cell phones or talking with each other as we walk the trails, not fully taking in our surroundings. Native people, in contrast, are/were alert to sounds, animal behavior, subtle changes in weather and so forth. Animals are also more aware than us, even when it comes to impending earthquakes and tsunamis. During several major disasters they left for safer grounds, probably because they were aware of ground vibrations. We rarely feel these because we are so preoccupied with modern life.
I took the photos here during a couple of hot days this past July using Fuji Pro400 film. When walking with the camera (usually alone) I am looking all around and listening. When I discover a potential shot I think a bit about it (at least in those cases where my subject is not moving) and move around it, taking shots from different angles and/or exposures. You have to take several shots. If you take just one with what you think was a good composition at the time, you will likely be disappointed when you see the result.
So here is the “best” of what I saw on those hot summer days.
I am never sure what is better, taking photos or being out in nature. I suppose it is both.