Transition

April 17, 2019

BW photograph of a burger restaurant transitioning to the Veggie Grill.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The results are clear:  transitioning from a meat/dairy-based diet is not only good for the individual, but for the planet as a whole.  Methane is a major issue-and there are many cows out there.

BW photograph of the upcoming Veggie Grill from across the street.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Please do read the articles linked above as they contain much useful information about the interaction between human behaviour and methane levels.  It is important to note that, as the second article points out, methane is also a by-product of decaying vegetation; however, by far the majority of methane released into the atmo is due to human activity-not natural biological processes.  While methane can be stored in the earth’s permafrost, a problematic feedback loop has been created:  human activity (a meat/dairy-based diet in this case) has increased the amount of methane (and other greenhouse gases) released, resulting in the rise of global temperatures.  As the planet warms, the permafrost melts, which then releases more of the stored methane.  That, in turn, exacerbates climate change.

Just as there is a clear and present need to transition to renewable energy resources, so, too, is there a need to transition to less-impactful eating habits.  Carnivores, though, do like eating meat. (Truth in disclosure:  I have been a vegetarian for decades now-the original decision was based on the manner by which the industrial beef/poultry/pork conglomerates raised and produced their products.  For me, the info about the impact on climate change came later and just reinforced the decision.  Still, the smell of bacon remains a trigger…)  Given that we do live in a bio-genetic age, this is one solution to the dilemma for one who likes the taste of beef but is concerned about the environmental impact.  This article reports on a variety of responses to that product.

There is a much older, less biotech solution as well:  eating insects.

The idea of eating lab-created meat or insects may well trigger other reactions.  Indeed, socialization and social learning theory form the basis for what is culturally acceptable to consume.  Given widespread availability (this will be an issue for those living in food deserts) and enough time, such alternatives may well become norms.  For example, when visiting a grocery store, check and see how many soy-based “meat” products there are…these have been mainstream for quite a while.

Take care.

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Relationship

March 28, 2019

BW photograph of the sunrise on the solstice.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

“Air Force Needs Almost $5 Billion To Recover Bases from Hurricane, Flood Damage”

“40 Years After A Partial Nuclear Meltdown, A New Push To Keep Three Mile Island Open” 

There is a direct relationship between these two reports.  The economic consequences of climate change-charged storms continue to rise.  Sea-level rise is a clear and present danger to coastal populations and infrastructure. (It is not just the Air Force needing to adapt to the effects of climate change-the Navy has issues, too.)  Expanding the use of renewable energy and non-fossil fuel options is seen as one of the main means by which to adapt to a volatile environment.  As such, attention has re-focused on nuclear energy-hence the report about keeping Three Mile Island in operation.

Interestingly, I was on my way back to college when the accident at Three Mile Island occurred.  I distinctly remember looking across and wondering why the highway lanes heading in the opposite direction were so unusually crowded-I was remarkably unaware of the problem.  As per the NPR report above, about 80,000 people evacuated in the days following the incident-some of whom did not return.  The fear of contamination drove people away from the immediate area.   It was also a point of alarm regarding the dangers of this form of energy production.

As per the report, Three Mile Island had its partial meltdown on March 28, 1979.  A few years later (April 26, 1986), the Chernobyl reactor exploded.  Later still (March 11, 2011), the Fukushima reactor had a meltdown following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.  Those two links present information about the damage to the reactors as well as the current status of those geographic areas.  These incidents further exacerbated pre-existing concerns over the reliance on nuclear energy as a primary source of power-a history of which is presented by the Clean Energy Wire.  Countries around the world abandoned nuclear energy as a viable resource.

Climate change has necessitated a new look at the cost/benefit ratio provided by nuclear resources.  Would that be the case if more had been done with wind and solar energy in the years past instead of continuing drill and refine and burn?

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What if we in the developed world had placed greater emphasis on reducing our power consumptions and throw-away lifestyles?

BW photograph of a plastic water bottle laying amid some plants along a hiking trail.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What if we had done both?

Of course, it is less than useful to have a one way view looking back because doing so does not change the present.  However, examining the past does explain how we came to be where we are, so there is value in analyzing previous mistakes so as to avoid them in the present and future.  While we must also be open to exploring alternatives, critical thinking with an eye toward the future in the evaluation of the possibilities is critical.  There are alternatives-nuclear energy is one, geoengineering approaches are being explored by others.

We are in a position where extraordinary amounts of money are required for mitigation and adaptation to the current problems related to climate change-these costs are going to increase.  As such, long-term solutions do need to be found.  They, too, will require investment.  We have lived our way into an incredibly complex problem, which will require multiple solutions.  We must evaluate these options with due diligence and choose wisely, which puts me in agreement with the conclusions drawn in the Vox article linked above.  Some mistakes are, after all, more consequential than others.

Take care.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography.  All rights reserved.

Preview

March 23, 2019

BW photograph of Morgan Run still rushing after a flood even though it was clear that the water had receeded.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NOAA recently released a report, and its title says all that needs to be said-“Spring Outlook:  Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May”.  Please be sure to give that link a read as the majority of states and “…more than 200 million people…” are at risk.

This aligns with the information contained in The Climate Report:  The National Climate Assessment-Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States, which was published late last year.  That report is also worth a read-particularly for the  breakdown of what geographic areas can expect going forward.

BW photograph of a fallen tree after a flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of debris that accumulated after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of debris that accumulated after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

According to The Climate Report, “The recent dominant trend in precipitation throughout the Northeast has been towards increases in rainfall intensity, with increases in intensity exceeding those in other areas of the contiguous United States.” (2018, p. 117)  There are nuances to this, so please do read the report.  Such appeared to be the case when a hard rain fell this past Thursday night-after having rained all day.  As a result, Morgan Run flooded yet again.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of tree roots exposed after more flooding.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The erosion is exacerbated due to the continual washing away of remaining topsoil.

BW photograph of a dead fish after being washed ashore during a flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Farmers in the Mid-West, who have been struggling with the impact crop tariffs have had on sales, have now watched as historic flooding has destroyed infrastructure and equipment, swamped fields, and swept away livestock.  Over the past few weeks, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has been re-stocking waterways with fish.  Indeed, during the week of March 3, “900 rainbow trout” were released into Morgan Run, as per their email to that effect.  Above is a photograph of one of the four that appear to have been washed onto fishing platform and perished.   As with all aquatic life deprived of oxygen, this fish’s death would have been unpleasant, and that registers on its face.   The livestock that perished in the flooding had the opposite problem, but it would have been no less excruciating.  There really is no comparison here:  most likely no one’s livelihood is dependent on the fish in Morgan Run.  However, families in Iowa, Nebraska, and elsewhere have a long road ahead to recoup their losses.

BW photograph of a short piece of log and other rocky debris after a recent flood.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

If what happened last week in the U.S., not to mention globally with the flooding in Africa and Asia, is indeed a preview, then the next couple of months will be quite stressful.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

Frigid

January 21, 2019

BW photograph of a cemetary with a disused silo in the background.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Temperatures in the single digits at night and daytime lows below zero with the windchill factor applied have made for a frigid few days.

BW photograph of an old outhouse against a background of trees.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was quite useful to have had a warmer alternative to this particular facility…

Take care.

Time Passing

January 4, 2019

BW photograph of the Sands Motel and its marquee.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The Sands Motel was in business from 1948 until 2018-that is quite a run.  It is now being demolished and is to be rebuilt and updated.

As per the info from that second link, it must not have aged gracefully.  Indeed, a brief review of feedback indicates that it was in need of renewal.  So it would seem to be of almost anything of that vintage, especially one subject to a fair amount of wear and tear from weather and occupation-the marque seems indicative of that.  Still, it makes one wonder how many people stayed at the Sands over that 70 year history.

BW photograph of a door at the being demolished Sands Motel.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

From where did they come?  How long did they stay?  What did they do while here?

BW photograph of the lower level of the being demolished Sands Motel.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

What must have happened in these rooms over the years?  Were the visitors happy or sad to leave?

BW photograph showing the bucket of the crane this is being used to demolish the Sands Motel.

Copyright 2019 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

While the physical structure is soon to be no longer there, those that did spend time at the Sands Motel will have their memories of the experience.  That is unless they, too, have deteriorated…age will do that.

Take care.

Seasons

December 20, 2018

BW photograph of grasses flattened by floodwaters and then covered with frost.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

California has long had what is referred to as “Fire Season”.  Unfortunately, that season is occupying more and more months of the year.

Locally, we appear to be developing the opposite problem-a “Flash Flood Season”.  Increasingly, rains are heavier and more frequent.  It seems that each time a weather system develops and is forecast, it is accompanied by a flash flood watch/warning.  Indeed, this morning on NPR, the Capital Weather Gang reported that the current storm on the way has resulted in the 25th time that designation has been applied this year.  The local waterways then reflect whether or not it comes to fruition.

As per the pattern, the last heavy rain caused a rise in water levels-this was then followed by a drop in the overnight temperature.  Together, this created the wonderfully graphic mix of flood-flattened grasses that were covered with early morning frost as seen above.

While such conditions provide pleasing opportunities for photographers, it is, of course, important to remember the destructive nature of such flooding.  This is a reminder of one such recent event.

Take care.

Ponder

December 3, 2018

BW photograph of highways from a hotel window.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Distance changes perspective-stillness provides the opportunity to ponder.

When looking out and down from a hotel window, the ground appears as a Legoscape.  Given that this is a view from only five stories elevated, the cars and such are not so miniaturized so as to be toy-like, but are enough smaller to be that.  Such a view, especially when stilled by a photograph, gives one time to observe.  For example, the uniformity of the vehicles.  Not much style or colour difference (allowing for this being a B&W photo) is there?  The circularity of the on/off ramp suggests what Nietzsche refers to as the “eternal recurrence” (playing out the same situations again and again and again…).  The construction equipment, though, argues a different scenario-something is being changed.  The pile of pipes indicates that what is being altered will most likely be buried out of sight.  If so, then the landscape will ultimately appear as if unaltered, which may then, in fact, remind of that infinite repeat.  Lastly, this is what a 50 degree, foggy, early December evening looks like here.  Perhaps it is better to be inside than out on the road.

Take care.