My late wife and I traveled to the UK in the mid-nineties to meet friends. Among the many things we saw was the original coke fired blast furnace from the late eighteenth century at the Museum of Iron that was used to refine pig iron at a much lower cost than using charcoal. This helped pave the way for England’s rapid industrial expansion during the nineteenth century, and further eroded England’s landed aristocracy by the capitalists. As more farmers migrated to the cities for work the face of poverty changed with a host of new social problems including pollution, greater disease due to crowding, and unemployment.
Putting aside the long-running debates about whether communism, democratic socialism, or capitalism is the best form of government for industrialized societies, this blast furnace aided the production of evermore goods and had a positive impact on much of England’s, and later other, populations (e.g., more food, better housing, and eventually, better public health). This led to greater inequality with a rising middle-class and greater profits for industrialists. Nevertheless, no one from the working-class to the one percent wants to return to the pre-industrial era. Industrialization is seductive.
Human population began a more rapid expansion as a result of greater access to energy and resources, then exploding in the twentieth century. You can see this expansion of population and production in the two charts, below. Unfortunately, near vertical curves are not sustainable.
You know the rest, we have destroyed much of our environment and warmed the air and waters such that we are now in the sixth extinction, which will more adversely affect us as the twenty-first century unfolds. We are already seeing the following consequences of industrialization and climate change.
Yes, we should continue our pursuit of renewable energy, but we must cut back production and come to terms with a much lower standard of living–micro-industrialization. If we do not, nature will do it for us. It is still possible but it is not looking good.
Glaciers feed rivers and rivers provide communities with water. As these glaciers disappear, so will the communities that depend on them.
A friend of mine recently went on a rail trip into the Canadian Rockies where he took a great shot along the Athabasca River near the glacier of the same name. As you can see, there is lots of snow and ice on the peaks. Or is there?
We all now know that glaciers around the world are melting, so I decided to see if there is a good historical and recent photo of this glacier from the same position. In fact there is. Again, from the satellite photo on the left it looks like there is lots of ice. But seen from ground-level in the comparisons on the right it is clear that the glacier has drastically receded (and certainly more so during the eleven years since). Glaciers feed rivers and rivers provide communities with water. As these glaciers disappear, so will the communities that depend on them.
I’m just beginning to plan a trip to Ilulissat, Greenland next spring to photograph calving glaciers. I would love to hear from anyone who has photographed glaciers to tell me about their experience.
It has been a few weeks since I’ve visited their nest. There I saw and heard two chics screaming for more food. They seem to like the fish dinners.
It has been a few weeks since I’ve visited their nest. There I saw and heard two chics screaming for more food. They seem to like the fish dinners. Clearly, they had both parents out scrambling. Still, the parents kept a close eye on the chics. I could see one of the parents return from over the river (empty taloned) and circling high overhead looking for any aerial or ground predators, then returning to the river to hunt down the fish. The chics look to be ready to fledge soon.
You will find today’s shots in the first seventeen photos of my online gallery.
Insects are getting harder to find, except those that bite us and get into our food supplies.
A walk through the gardens this morning did not reveal as many insects as I would have liked. Insects are just getting harder to find, except those that bite us and get into our food supplies. As for the rest, we are destroying their habitat and food sources with farming and pesticides use. Like them or not, they are a vital element to our biosphere. Evolution says so.
Meanwhile, temperatures and humidity are on the rise today, ushering in our first heat wave, beginning tomorrow. Europe and South Asia are baking as I write this. London is forecast to hit 104o F soon?!
You will find more of today’s photos with the first seven photos at my on-line gallery.
Stars are born with the compression of hydrogen which gravity compresses until the point of fusion. From there on, heavier elements are created.
Those disks you see are galaxies, each with 100-400 billion stars. The arcs of light are distended galaxies, the result of gravitational lensing caused by the bending of space/time and light by both visible and dark matter (explained by general relativity). Most of these stars (except the smallest) have likely burnt out or went supernova eons ago. Stars are born with the compression of hydrogen which gravity compresses until the point of fusion. From there on, heavier elements are created. The larger the star, the heavier the elements it can produce–up to iron. The heavier elements cast from supernovas are what led to the matter that pervades the universe. Our planet and our bodies are all descendants of giant stars.
Here is a six minute PBS clip* highlighting how we are destroying the biosphere on which most current life depends. All this only since about 1850, with most changes within the past thirty years. Time is running out.
I was shooting in high speed continuous mode using center screen focus. The camera focused in most shots on the background instead of the bird, so only the last two images, above, were marginally fit for presentation.
Unfortunately, the images in this post are of poor quality because the birds are too far away, so they will not appear at my on-line gallery. Instead, I show them here because they tell a story about two juvenile Bald Eagles, one that successfully caught a fish and the other that failed. In fact, the successful bird has likely failed several times also. With time, they will rarely miss a catch.
I was shooting in high speed continuous mode using center screen focus. The camera focused most shots on the background instead of the bird, so only the last two images, above, were marginally fit for presentation. The bird’s actual strike was totally blurred. My alternative would be to use single-point focusing but that would mean getting that one point right on the bird, a tough challenge.
I also re-shot the nesting pair of Osprey’s that you can see in the first eleven photos at my on-line gallery. I could not yet see any of the chicks. Stay tuned.
If you have any interesting shots of raptors I would love to see them.
As I have previously noted, insects are in decline (except for those that bite and get into our food supplies). Few have the guts to splatter themselves on our windshields as we drive the highways during dusk hours.
Yes, dear readers, I know you have all been awaiting this season’s Insectorama, where I show off all those cute little bugs. If I have not said it before, nature photography is risky. Not only do I have to be careful about falling on rocky ledges or falling over cliffs, but I often confront dangerous wildlife. Take this Assassin Bug in the above photo, for example. Look at those saw-tooth arms, much like those of the praying mantis. I was lucky not to be on its hit list!
As I have previously noted, insects are in decline (except for those that bite and get into our food supplies). Few have the guts to splatter themselves on our windshields as we drive the highways during dusk hours. I can remember when it was so bad that we used the windshield washer/wipers to clear their remains so we could better see the road! But if you think, who needs that, just know that insects are fodder for reptiles, birds and bats. Insects are disappearing due to our use of pesticides and clearing of their habitats. People, especially those in the major industrialized nations, are doing just about everything possible to destroy the biosphere on which all life depends.
Do you have any interesting insect stories? If so, I would love to hear them. And if you you would like to see more of season 4, take a look at the first ten photos at my on-line gallery. More insects to come!