Trees and Climate Change

November 30, 2015

BW photograph of the Peach Orchard on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These are some of the trees in the Peach Orchard at the Gettysburg Battlefield.  They are dormant now, and were photographed on a chilly, damp late November afternoon.  Just a few days earlier, it had been sunny and in the mid 70s-quite warm for this time of year.  Given that it is next-to-winter, it makes sense that the trees have shed the majority of their leaves and have no fruit.

Trees play an important part in the CO2/oxygen cycle and are therefore a very important asset in the struggle to slow down the process of climate change.  Earlier this month, NPR reported two stories (here and here) about the importance of the Amazon Rainforest and the conflict over the trees in that part of the world.

Meanwhile, the UNFCCC negotiations have begun in Paris.  Yesterday, The New York Times ran this front page story about the recommendations for a “carbon budget” as a means of reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.  This is an important article in that it outlines many of the key points involved in the ongoing negotiations to limit the overall heating of the planet.  This morning, NPR provided this summary of the UNFCCC, the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, and another analysis of the economics of climate change.  Coincidentally, Beijing and New Delhi are both experiencing “choking smog” as the Climate Conference begins.  Please read through that final link as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings this particular post back to the issue of trees.

Take care.






November 29, 2015

Sunset behind silhouetted trees

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) begins tomorrow in Paris, France.  Please be sure to carefully read the following:

“The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.””

This is a quote from “The Convention” linkIt is important to note that objective was stated in 1994. 

(As an aside, it is useful to go to the UNFCCC homepage, and click through the various links under “Key Steps” to read the highlights of previous Conventions.  The links under “Process” provide important historical content about the Kyoto Protocol and the methodology behind the science of climate change.)

Given that 2015 has been another record-setting year with regard to global temperatures, and that this warming has occurred faster than ecosystems have been able to adapt, this will be an important two weeks.

In the United States, the political battle of wills about climate change continues.

Take care.


November 23, 2015

Cat laying on a windowsill appearing to be enjoying the sun

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Thanksgiving holiday, as celebrated in the United States, is just around the corner, and this is a time for much more than food, football (as it is played in America), and shopping.  Conceptually, this holiday is about consciously acknowledging that for which one is grateful.  With so much turmoil and violence in the world today, it most certainly can be difficult for some to consider the notion of gratitude.  For others, it is also possible to have such a lifestyle wherein one does not think about those experiencing loss, trauma, and strife, and so may actually take a state of gratitude for granted.

NPR posted this report on the health benefits associated with practicing gratitude.  I specifically chose the word “practicing” for several reasons: first, this is not meant to be a one-day-a-year effort; second, it is worth taking the time each day to reflect, and it usually takes practice for something to become habitual; and third, “practicing” is indicative of an active process-one that does not reach a permanent conclusion.

Take care, be safe, and give thanks.

October 2015

November 22, 2015

BW photograph of an abandoned daycare center

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Given the news of the past week, it is entirely possible that this information was missed.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, October 2015 was the warmest on record.  Please do review this report as there are many other 2015 climate facts that generate just as much concern.

Even before the Paris killings, the confirmation of the bomb aboard the Russian airliner, and the other recent acts of violence, much concern was being raised about immigrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq, and their neighboring countries.  Following Paris, the debate about closing borders in the European Union and the United States has increased, particularly with regard to Muslims, and especially given that this is the presidential debate season in the U.S.

It is unpleasant to imagine the response when the millions who live along the coastal areas of the world, including the U.S., are displaced by rising seas.  Where will they go, and how will they be received?

As an aside, but very much to the point, one of the interviewees in the linked article (“United States”) above indicates that Timothy McVeigh is unique, and that terrorism against Western allies is perpetrated by Muslims.  It is very important to note that Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) and the many, many perpetrators of gun violence in the U.S. are (or were) not Muslim.

Take care.


Another Take on Time

November 8, 2015

BW photograph of a faded wall advertisement for "Wachter Bros."

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A few years ago, while in the Lower Downtown (known to the locals as “LoDo”) area of Denver, CO, I made a series of photographs of advertisements that had been painted on the sides of buildings.  When that part of Denver was rehabilitated, many of the advertisements were re-painted as well.  That post can be found here:

This form of advertising was once very common across the United States-the photograph that heads this post is from Frederick, MD.  There is an elegance to the fading of the letters that actually would have been lost had it been re-painted.  Using BW processing adds to the impression of age and of an era long ago.

Take care.

A Belated Happy Halloween

November 7, 2015

BW photograph of a dog skeleton displayed for Halloween

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yep, this is late, and I suppose the photograph could have been posted next year, as Halloween will assuredly come again.  The decision to post it now was based on two factors:  the first point is that I like the subject matter of the photograph; the second is to highlight that time is such a relative concept-one often impacted by economics.  As per the calendar, we certainly have moved past Halloween-that is also confirmed by the sales on Halloween-specific candy and merchandise.  For example, I just bought a Halloween-themed coffee mug for 50% off the regular price.  More importantly, many of the retail stores in the area have their Christmas displays up and are advertising products to be purchased over the coming holiday season.

Thanksgiving, conceptually one of the most celebrated of holidays, seems to have been lost in the transition here in the United States.

Take care.