Sunday, October 11, 2009


Last night I was watching a science program on the teevee, all about electrons, protons and neutons, the particle zoo, quarks and quantum mechanics, super conductivity, particle acceleration, the search for a theory of everything, and the beginning of time.

It all made me feel very stupid since I can sort of understand it when it's being explained to me - but I couldn't possibly describe any of it coherently to anyone else. But it is a cheery distraction from the disaster that all of us stupid humans are busily perpetrating on ourselves and our all the other species with whom we share our host, Earth.

And here's something I do know, for sure. Last Thursday, October 8, when I was taking pictures around this pretty church in the center of the village of Pottersville, was supposed to be the beginning of the prime season for fall color, here in NJ.

Instead, leaves are falling to the ground.

This treeline should still be verdant and dense.
Around the church are mostly maples and oaks. Perhaps most people will be fooled into thinking some are turning the proper hues of autumn, but the brown spotting on these maple leaves, which is typical of any tree you can find now, results from damage to the stomata from toxic greenhouse gas emissions.

Some of the leaves are going straight from green to brown.
This stump is from a very large, old keys are in the forefront for scale. Such a tragic loss.
These leaves are turning in the characteristic stippling, in the case of oaks, a greyish cast.

Very soon I won't be able to blog about the trees since we will have reached the season where it is normal for them to be leafless. I expect there will be conifers that are losing needles like crazy but except for specimens isolated in parks or yards, their dead branches will just disappear into the bare branches of the deciduous trees in the woods, and no one will notice their passing.

I expect many branches will be falling, leading to record numbers of crushed cars and roofs, injured people, and extended power outages. But the average Ignorer will find excuses, like the wind, or ice.

And so what will be left to say, for me, a person who loves and records the heartbeat of the natural world?

Well, I suppose I could write about the neglected oceans, which most people blithely infer are perfectly healthy because they don't see the fish under the water any more than they see the leaves for the trees.

So let's consider three problems about the oceans. The links are all fascinating reads.

1. Overfishing. How many people know that 90% of large predatory species, such as tuna and cod, have already vanished, since 1950? And that disrupting the balance in the ecosystem can have ramifications that will cause it to collapse?

2. Acidfication, which is detroying all calcium based life forms: "Remember the carbon dioxide that we left dissolving in the oceans? Billions and billions of tonnes of it over the last 150 years or so since the industrial revolution? While mankind has squabbled, delayed, distracted and dithered over the impact that carbon emissions have on the atmosphere, that dissolved pollution has been steadily turning the oceans more acidic. There is no dispute, no denial, about this one. Chemistry is chemistry, and carbon dioxide plus water has made carbonic acid since the dawn of time."

3. Heating which causes coral bleaching, and ultimately kills the fish that depend on the reefs.

Any one of the above is enough to cause anoxic (dead) seas all by itself but the 3 together??

Let us keep in mind that, aside from providing food and employment for literally BILLIONS of people, the life in the ocean gives us an atmospere that we humans and terrestrial creatures can breathe (oxygen!). Without it we shall expire. Dead ocean = dead people.

I will leave off with that happy thought and venture outside for a beautiful sunny afternoon.

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