Tagged: environment

Need to Change in 2018

Since I moved to Homewood at Plum Creek six years ago I have managed to make lots of pictures to use on this blog by photographing the flora and fauna, mostly the wild animals, insects, and wildflowers.  Since moving here I have noticed a definite, year by year decrease in my opportunities to continue making such pictures.  I no longer see deer along Plum Creek, nor the mink, etc.  I also use to see foxes, muskrats, snapping turtles, etc., but they are rare now.  There has also been a decrease in the song birds, types of ducks, etc.  These changes are due, in my opinion, to the continual clearing away of the natural areas along Plum Creek, etc.  In my opinion, they should be increasing the plantings and natural growth along the creek to stop the erosion.  It has gotten to the point where almost all grasses, shrubs, etc. are being removed, or cut to the ground each winter, and thus eliminating the environments suitable for sustaining wildlife.  This cutting has also modified the population of the wild plants still able to grow in the wet areas and has greatly reduced the variety of interesting plants and insects.  The birds and frogs, etc. have been declining and that means that the mosquito population will grow.

As a result of these changes, I feel it is necessary for me to either stop publishing my blog or to find other things to photograph since I need to create pictures and the opportunities are on the decline here at Homewood at Plum Creek.  Depending on what, or if I find other things to photograph for use in my blog, I will also have to think differently about what cameras and lenses I keep, or acquire, or sell.  Residents have already been noticing that I no longer take a camera with me when I take my walks around campus.  This is because I no longer see interesting things to photograph.

Frankly, I have to admit that this is a traumatic time for me since I don’t know what to do.  I have gotten comfortable limiting the majority of my photography to on campus; but the opportunities have slowly been disappearing.  Since I can no longer travel to exotic places to make travel or landscape pictures, I am at a loss.  It is going to mean that I either give up my hobby of photography or go elsewhere in the surrounding area and pursue other subjects.  It could also impact my photography of activities and events here at Homewood.  If I can no longer find images to display in my blog, I have no interest in continuing my hobby.  And even if I find an interest in other subjects off campus it may alter the types of cameras and lenses that I keep and thus reduce my ability to make some of my Homewood pictures.

My whole career has been devoted to changes … making my own, or leading others to make the right changes.  When pursuing change in the past I learned that half the battle is reaching a decision that change is necessary and then making a clean break with the old ways.  The second half is building a path to the future after setting a goal.  I have gotten half way, and am now going to work on the second half; but, I’m not sure that I can make the needed changes anymore.

Time to Change our Global Economics System


170918-072327-17JEHThe deniers with their head in the sand don’t understand it, but it is time for us to change.  The climate is changing and our resources are limited.  We cannot continue with an economical system based on unlimited growth as long as we live on earth, especially if our economic model is not based on accounting for all of the true costs.  We cannot keep pushing the cost burden onto future generations forever as we continue to use up resources.  Our way of life keeps pushing a larger debt off to the future and it is a debt based on more than finances.  It will be measured in pain, lack of comfort, migrations, and doing without adequate shelter, food, water, etc.

The Time is Coming


The time is coming when we will have to live within our means.  In addition, our means will be shrinking.  I am using the pronoun “we” to mean all of us, especially in the U.S., including our government and corporations.

Our problem is a case of interacting, compounding concerns.  Our debts have increased while productivity has slowed down.  We have increased our debts and expectations based on assumptions that growth will continue and that we will be able to pay off the debts in the future.  Unfortunately, growth cannot continue indefinitely within a closed system.  We are approaching the limits in affordable natural resources such as oil and many mineral resources.  We are reaching the limits in finding/exploiting resources around the globe.  The best approach for the future is reuse of materials, increased conservation, greater efficiency, and sustainable living.

At the same time that we are reaching limits, we are facing increased demands and costs.  For example … the wild fires out west.  Fighting them is expensive and we are facing limits on our ability to fight them.  At the same time we might be faced with increased costs of an unnecessary war in the mid-east.  And don’t forget that we haven’t recovered from the financial devastation caused by Sandy in the north-east.  What if we now have another major storm hit the country?  What about the other costs coming caused by global climate change?  Where will we find the funds and other resources to restore the areas destroyed?  Going into greater debt based on future growth is unrealistic.

Our financial system is another factor.  It is only as strong as we are confident, confident in our ability to pay off our debts through future growth.  When that confidence erodes, interest rates will rise on borrowed funds and we won’t be able to afford to borrow.  We might not even be able to pay-off past debts.

There have always been those who have preached on the corners that the world is coming to an end.  Rightfully so, we didn’t pay them much attention; but I’m now thinking that the future definitely isn’t going to be like the past.  I see no way that recent standards of living can be maintained, at least those dependent upon commercially acquired material goods.

The time is coming, has arrived, for major changes.  I am sorry if you don’t see it, don’t understand it, or don’t believe it; but, I am not a street corner prophet.  I try not to be an alarmist.  I am confident that when we take all the factors into consideration that my beliefs are rational and warranted. It is time to change our perspective about the future and make changes.

Wondering … How Much Longer


I use to get irritated when airplane contrails spoiled my landscape views.  I would try real hard to avoid them in my pictures.  As you can see above I have given up.  As a matter of fact, I now dread when they are gone because of what it means.

I am visually oriented in that images cause me to think.  The vast majority of my posts in which I have anything to say were originated by the image and this one isn’t any different.  On my early morning walk with Misty yesterday, my first reaction to the above scene was that the morning flights out of the east were like machine gun fire towards the southwest, and then I started wondering how much longer this would continue.

I’m wondering not about the near-term but the long-term, and I’m thinking that the above scene won’t always be the case.  I believe that the long-term trends established by global climate changes and economics will bring about a reduction in such travel.  We won’t be able to afford the cost or the pollution.  In addition, the travel industry will probably decline due to disruptions at favorite travel destinations … similar to what is happening now in the mid-east and northern Africa Muslim areas.

Another aspect of the reduction, especially towards the south-west, will be changes in the south-west section of the U.S.  In all likelihood, the L.A. and San Diego areas will not be major tourist or business areas in the future.  Between the lack of water, earthquakes, the heat, and the fires, many populated areas might look more like western ghost towns with sand and tumble-weed blowing through them.

The more I think about it, the harder it is for me to come to any other conclusion.  The future won’t be like the recent past.  The only uncertainty is how soon it will change and how much.

Finally, to put a cap on the day, I went out to see if the sunset was worth photographing.  It really wasn’t but I heard the geese honking, but had trouble seeing them.  It was getting dark and they were a long way off.  I finally took a “Hail Mary” shot at ISO 6400, wide open and too slow a shutter speed.  I didn’t know if I got anything until I put it on my computer screen.  It’s a little noisy and the geese are blurred, but it does cap the day.


Change or else Decay


In the months following my arrival in Hanover I walked many of the streets and took lots of pictures and was enraptured by all the older buildings which had lots of character.  I had then planned on going back and taking more pictures of them during this past winter when the leaves were off the trees, but didn’t because of the colder weather and some problems that I had with holding a cold camera.

Lately I have been reviewing some of my past photography projects while I have been thinking about making some changes in my photography and blog.  Many of the features that I had found in the older sections of the town fit right into one of my earlier photography projects associated with decay, entropy, and change.  I’m now considering whether I wish to continue that project but to do it in warmer weather this summer.  If I do, I would like to put more of an emphasis on “change” rather than “decay” but have had difficulty figuring out how to depict change pictorially with current pictures.

As I was researching ways of depicting change, I ran across a recent blog article on “Change or Decay” which had a picture of an old decaying plant building.  The following is a quote from the article.

“There are civilizations, just as there are people, and religions, who get stuck; caught defending the rightness of what they know instead of continuing on the steady path of growth and change.  And, like this plant, which made propellers — or stores that developed film, or rented videotapes –getting stuck, not changing, often results in decay…”

I really like, and believe, what this quote says, but I’m still not sure about continuing my old project.  If I decide to write about change, I could use some of the pictures of the older, decaying buildings to illustrate them; but those types of pictures don’t really appeal to me, so I’ll keep looking for other ways to change my photography and blog.

Good Luck in the New Year


Sunrise Dec-31-2012

Someone once told me that if I didn’t have something good to say that I shouldn’t say anything; so, for now, I’m not going to tell you what I think about the state of the economy, the effectiveness of our politicians, the changing climate, the non-sustainable use of our resources, greed, lack of concern for future generations, etc.  I’ll just say good luck and plan for changes … it’s not too late to adapt.

New Development … But how Smart?


The above picture is of two horse barns on a nearby farm outside Hanover, PA.  I understand that it was a large horse farm which was sold for development into residential housing.  In the short-time I have lived here, the undeveloped land was used to raise a lot of corn which is coming to an end.  When I turned around from where I took the above picture I could see a section that had already been converted into suburban style residential lots with relatively new homes as shown below.


These appear to be what has come to be typical homes in the U.S. with medium size lots, frame construction with vinyl siding, and long lines for all the infrastructure … electric, gas, water, sewer, cable, & telephone running underground over long distances from house to house.  I’m sure that the people living here are pleased that they live here “in style” and that they have given no thought to the many long-term problems facing them and future owners.

My first thoughts are of all the costly maintenance that these houses will require.  The total outer skin, inner utility lines, and the underground lines will all have to be replaced far too quickly since everything has been built with minimal quality materials.  In addition, the lawns will need to be fertilized, have weed and insect killers applied, and have to be cut and trimmed weekly throughout the growing season.  They look nice now but the costly time-consuming maintenance will grow and become an increasing burden.  In general, this style of construction is cheap initially compared to the long-term maintenance costs.  I’m sure that there are better ways to develop and use the land which result in lower long-term total costs with more efficient use of natural resources and energy.

I can visualize a future time when they will be tearing down these types of “developments” to recycle the materials and convert the land back to more productive uses.  Our short-sided views of everything from housing, to natural resource uses, to politics, to climate modifications will likely end-up being very, very costly.

Dark & Dreary

We are still having a lot of dark and dreary weather, but at least we have power, light, and heat which is more than a lot of folks have.  I think that many are now realizing how bad it can be after storms like Sandy hit populated areas.  I can’t think of anything worse than being in a high-rise building with no power, no heat, no light, and no warm food.  I shudder to think how it would be if a real bad one hits the east coast of the U.S. around or near New Jersey and New York.  Don’t forget that Sandy wasn’t even a category one when it hit the shore.  What if it had been a category 5?

It seems to me that these storms are creating more and more damage as the years flow by.  This is due to a number of factors like greater density of buildings on the shore lines, rising sea levels, and other effects of global climate changes.  To me it seems that the rational thing to do would be to stop construction along the shores … don’t allow rebuilding destroyed buildings.  At least stop subsidizing such construction; and I would include all construction in flood plains along with subsidized flood insurance and relief efforts if people insist on living in such areas.  It is long past being rational about stopping global climate change.  It is too late.  We need to now start putting all of our effort toward not making it worse and adapting to survive the coming changes.

But I realize that people are not rational when it comes to thinking about the future so I expect to see a lot of real dark and dreary days ahead, in more ways that just my views of the weather. The economic and social impacts of coming changes are going to get worse.

Looking Back … a Perspective from 2025

Looking back in time to what has transpired up until today in the year 2025, I have thought about why things are as they are today.  In the 1980s and 1990s the future looked reasonably rosy, and now people are asking what went wrong.  I can’t put my finger on one specific event that caused the major changes, but it is easy to see a number of things that jointly caused the major changes that we have had to recently make.

One of the earliest contributors to our changed lifestyle was the change in our climate.  Starting back at the beginning of the industrial age we started adding more waste gases to our atmosphere from the increased amount of carbon based fuels being burnt to power our increasing demand for energy.  These gases created a greenhouse effect within the upper reaches of our atmosphere which retained more of the heat being created in the burning of fuels.  Since the increased global warming was so slow and was only happening in very small fractions of a degree per year, most people didn’t realize what was happening.  They were like the frog in a pot of hot water.  If you put a frog in a pot and then slowly raise the temperature of the water, the frog doesn’t realize what is happening … until it is too late.  If you had thrown the frog into a hot pot of water it would have immediately jumped out.

Another of the major contributors to change was that the people didn’t consider that we only have a finite amount of natural resources on earth.  We acted like the amount of oil, natural gas, etc. were unlimited and that we could go on extracting it for the same low costs per unit used.  We assumed we wouldn’t ever run out, and we were correct about that; but, we didn’t account for the fact that as we had to go deeper and deeper to find and extract resources like oil, that the costs would keep going up until we could no longer afford to keep using it at the rate we were consuming it.

Other factors were the increased reliance on globalization and the population increase on the earth as each year went by.  As we consumed more and more of the earth’s resources we had to expand our sources and find them in other sections of the earth.  Once we became reliant on these sources for all kinds of natural resources, it became harder to recognize, and react to, the increasing costs of obtaining them.  A similar effect came from our growing reliance on other nations for growing our food.  The costs of our goods obtained from other countries were at the mercy of social changes, weather events, increased transportation costs, terrorism, etc.  In addition, we didn’t factor in the impact that other countries would have on the climate and resource consumption as their populations increased.

Finally, a major contributor to our not recognizing and responding to those changes in a timely manner was due to our corporate/political/financial systems.  You will see why I lump them together as I go on.  Our corporate form of management of companies was based on making a near term profit.  Shareholders demanded immediate profits and the corporate manager’s incomes were based on attempting to achieve higher profits on a yearly basis.  When anyone in government, or anywhere else outside the corporate structure, tried to regulate the way we utilized resources, etc. to better control the longer term, integrated effects, the corporation’s managers jumped in immediately to stop it since it always raised the cost of producing and providing goods and services and thus reduced their incomes.  One of the ways that the corporations achieved stopping changes that were in the best long-term interests of the people was through the financing of those elected to Congress.  In essence they bought the votes to stop change and brought the governing process of the country to a standstill.  In addition to being the major controlling supporters of the financial resources of those running for government, they also made sure that the people didn’t realize the truth.  They also paid scientists and engineers to publish reports that offered up denials of the effects of global warming and the resulting climate changes as well as the ultimate effects of continuing to consume natural resources at an unsustainable rate.  They managed to raise just enough doubt in enough minds to slow down or stop necessary changes … until it was too late.

It wasn’t until we suffered through a number of nearly simultaneous events recently that we realized what had happened.  We suffered from global economic collapses within countries that had borrowed way more than they could ever afford to pay back.  We had to deal with enormous degradation of our infrastructure such as our water collection, treatment, and distribution systems.  Our soils eroded and along with environmental pollution, droughts and flooding, our food production systems were seriously affected.  In addition, numerous major storms destroyed houses, businesses, and livelihoods along our coast lines.  The combined economic impacts of these events combined with the continuous increasing costs for natural resources finally brought about the collapse of our economy.  That is what caused us to have to go back to living a lifestyle similar to how the peopled lived in the 1950s and 1960s.

Invasive Species

I took the above picture in Ireland where Rhododendron seemingly grows wild over many portions of the country, but in Ireland it is an invasive species.  It was introduced in the 1700s from its native Asian location.

“Invasive species are non-indigenous species, or “non-native”, plants or animals that adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, and/or ecologically. “

Hmmm, seems to me that definition also applies to mankind, especially when you think about what we have done …  just a thought, think about it.