Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

Here's my comment at a post on Climate Progress, awaiting moderation at the's a good summary of my opinion of late. After the holiday, there are a number of scientists I want to contact, who have written unequivocally that atmospheric pollution ultimately (this year?) WILL kill off trees and other plants - but their research is mostly from several years ago.

I intend to ask them what the latest research results are.

It's the end of 2009. My dreams are full of dread for 2010.

Inexpressibly enormous mountains of love to my three daughters - who I love more than I could ever describe!

the comment:

STOP talking about the temperature. Talk about the destructive effects of toxic fossil and biofuel emissions. They are LETHAL to humans, animals, and plants, those on land and those in the sea. This is already well documented and proven - if ignored. You don't need any computer models to demonstrate that burning coal, oil, gasoline, and ethanol KILLS people and animals and fish and plants. Not in the future, or somewhere far away - HERE and NOW. We should scream at the Environmental Prostitution Agency and the Department of Environmental Prostitution and the liars at the USDA and the US Forestry Service and the Department of the Interior, and all the state and local greenwashing agencies who are not fulfilling their missions. Scientists should stop being cowering minions and get over their own denial - they should be telling people that we are destroying our planet at an unbelievably rapid rate and if we don't all want to end up being cannibals, we should reconsider our entire political, social, and economic paradigms. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bleeding Trees

Here is an article about Shell adding nitrogen to their gasoline. Can this possibly be a good idea? Does anybody ever test emissions to see what impacts they have on plants and people? Of course not - why bother! We already know they're bad!
In an evaluation reported here, a team of scientists explain that humans put nitrogen into the environment and it winds up being absorbed by the oceans, which then emit it to the atmosphere as nitrous oxide. The numbers are staggering: "about 54 million tons of nitrogen produced from human activities entered the ocean from the atmosphere in the year 2000. The team also found that the current nitrogen emissions are about 10 times what they were in 1860..."
According to Dr. James Galloway in this article, "We are accumulating reactive nitrogen in the environment at alarming rates, and this may prove to be as serious as putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."
I would really like to know what other additives are in gasoline besides ethanol, and now nitrogen. The nitrogen interests me especially because of the crazy lichen explosion that exactly mirrors the decay of tree branches, and lichens gobble up nitrous oxide.

I can't tell if this black growth is the same lichen, only dead, or a totally different species.

This tree stopped me in my tracks. I've mentioned before that trees seem to be weeping, especially after a hard frost, but this is more like bleeding. I've thought perhaps the sap doesn't go dormant, and then expands when it freezes.

Two days ago the high temperature was 53 degrees. Yesterday, when I took these pictures, it was 24.

Then again, today I read reports of trees "bleeding" in southern California where it never freezes. I will have to look into that. Meanwhile, if this doesn't look awful, I don't know what would.

"Screaming Trees"

Here is an article from the LA City Beat, about trees dying in California, and the harassment of a prescient fellow who insisted that acidification from air pollution is the underlying reason that all the fungus, beetles and disease are rampant. Government agencies would rather blame treatable pathogens than regulate fuel emissions, and so would the scientists who get huge amounts of funding to do research for the lucrative pesticide and fertilizer industries.

It's analogous to cancer. There is so much money to be made by oncologists, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies that hardly anyone is looking at which particular pollutant causes which individual cancer. Unless there is a clearly detectable cluster from a well-defined source, it's almost impossible to prove anyway, because the atmosphere everywhere is contaminated, and there are so many different kinds of cancers, and so many other toxins in our food and water, and from plastics and other chemical exposures. The victims and their families are so overwhelmed with the disease that they concentrate on treatment and survival.

The article is a fascinating saga of one man's brave stance and how he was attacked for speaking truth to power - and how entrenched interests refuse to acknowledge the significance of widespread tree decline in all species and the link to poisonous fossil and biofuels.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let's Call it a Trifucta

While the focus of this blog is the collapse that means the most to me - environmental destruction - I do recognize there are two others that are corollated and, broadly speaking, simultaneous - the financial collapse which is accompanied by an impending energy crash. Click that link! It is a long and terrifying read, very provocative.
I stopped to investigate this tree, which caught my eye because it is white with lichens all the way from the ground to the tiniest shoots in the crown.
The ground is a clutter of branches that are dwarfed by the lichen growing on them.
I'm not sure who owns this land, it could be Merck Pharmaceuticals which has its world headquarters beyond the woods - but this part of it appears to have been an orchard long ago.
These decrepit apple trees are twisted and deformed.
This is typical of their branches.
All of them are in the same condition.
This one is so deformed it looks to be weeping.
The branches have lichens all the way to the very tips.
This is the woods behind the clearing.
All of the trees are losing bark.
And of course there is lots of lichen, everywhere.
The pine trees have few or no needles left.
This tree fell over.
And no wonder! Look at the branches.
I found a new sort of fungus which was a pleasant diversion from the usual predominant one.
Which in this area is everywhere.
Now, just so Peapack-Gladstone Bank doesn't think I was picking on their Pottersville Branch in this post, I took some photos around the Wacovia Bank which is housed in a charming converted colonial home, in Whitehouse.
Believe it or not, most of these are supposed to be evergreen conifers.
There are a few that have some needles.
But many more that have nothing.
And the branches are stripped.
This is just one row along the parking lot, perhaps 150 feet of dead and dying pines.
It's really quite dreadful to witness.
This tree is in a yard on the way north to Oldwick.
The same lucky homeowners have this for shade in the summer.
On the east side of the road is land that is owned by Tewksbury Township.
There is a cleared area, with some very large old trees.
That big tree has bark that is icy blue. I think perhaps this was once the site of a home, long since demolished. There is an old pump.
This abandoned grill that probably saw some fun parties years ago.
I suspect it was a homesite because otherwise these giant trees would have been logged over a century ago.
It's terribly sad to see magnificent specimens that are deteriorating.
This bark fell recently to the ground.
Looking up, the branches are damaged.
And looking down, there are many broken parts of trees.
All I had for scale was my glove. It's a chestnut brown, right in the center in front of this trunk. It's really a huge tree.
But it is losing bark too.
A branch broke off this old tree and lies in front of it in mute testimony.
The Rockaway River runs through this property.
And a close look of trees along the bank shows that younger trees are failing just as are the older ones.
There are some intriguing formations.
And some beautiful moss.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What Did You Do Once You Knew?

Planetize the Movement from drew dellinger on Vimeo.

hieroglyphic stairway

it's 3:23 in the morning
and I'm awake
because my great great grandchildren
won't let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do

I'm riding home on the Colma train
I've got the voice of the milky way in my dreams
I have teams of scientists
feeding me data daily
and pleading I immediately
turn it into poetry
I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech
I am the desirous earth
equidistant to the underworld
and the flesh of the stars
I am everything already lost
the moment the universe turns transparent
and all the light shoots through the cosmos
I use words to instigate silence
I'm a hieroglyphic stairway
in a buried Mayan city
suddenly exposed by a hurricane
a satellite circling earth
finding dinosaur bones
in the Gobi desert
I am telescopes that see back in time
I am the precession of the equinoxes,
the magnetism of the spiraling sea
I'm riding home on the Colma train
with the voice of the milky way in my dreams
I am myths where violets blossom from blood
like dying and rising gods
I'm the boundary of time
soul encountering soul
and tongues of fire
it's 3:23 in the morning
and I can't sleep
because my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the earth was unraveling?
I want just this consciousness reached
by people in range of secret frequencies
contained in my speech
— drew dellinger—©2003 1-866-POETICS

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mating Confusion

Climate Progress has a post about how climate change may be affecting the reproduction timing of insects, and coincidentally today, which reached 50 degrees F, my peacock obviously thought it was spring!

Of course, it's also confusing plants that are budding out at the wrong time. This is much worse than confusing because it will adversely impact pollination and the food supply - ours included.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Living Lavishly

I said, "Let's splurge on a luxurious night in Manhattan for Christmas!" The first thing I saw was this giant crane, those are actual people standing at the railing. Luckily it didn't fall on us.
Check Spelling
Significant Other is a genius. It was his idea to stay at the Algonquin Hotel, which is of course where my favorite snark artist, Dorothy Parker, reigned supreme at the Round Table.
I don't get into the city very often, and I've never stepped inside to see the famous mural of brilliant writers in the lobby.
Now you know this is a cool place when you see the sort of clientele they attract. This is Zeke.
They also have a prize-winning, resident demon kitteh, Matilda, who sits stubbornly on the luggage carts.
The wallpaper in the hallways has cartoons from the New Yorker.
And the door of every guest room has a quote.
This is funny because Clare Booth Luce lived at LuShan, a castle not far from Wit's End.

This is included especially for the Constant Weader at RealityChex:
Dorothy was refreshingly raunchy at every opportunity.
In that spirit I put on my sparkly shoes and we took a cab to Lupa for La Viglia - the traditional Christmas Eve feast of Seven Fishes.
It was unbelievably delicious! It is easy to understand how people (those who can afford it) who live in this neighborhood and eat regularly at restaurants like this haven't the least notion of how we are exploiting our environment in a completely unsustainable way. There is so much culinary munificence, such bountiful excess. Or, if they do have a hint, why would they want to acknowledge they might ever lose such luxuries as ingredients shipped half way around the world, and a large class of people willing to prepare and serve them in delectable combinations?
This sort of morbid musing was eased with the arrival of the second course - Polpo, Crispy Octopus with Farro and Salsa Verdi which, in addition to being utterly scrumptious, almost certainly constitutes my second sighting of the FSM! This holy visitation made the indulgence spiritual, and sublime.
Here's the menu, for aspiring cooks:

La Vigilia 2009
Seven Fish Menu

Crudo di Tonno
Raw Amberjack, Meyer Lemon Puree & Dried Pepper


Crispy Octopus with Farro, Swiss Chard & Salsa Verde


Cacciucco di Capitone
Shellfish Stew with Eels, Clams & Carta di Musica


Baccala Ravioli
Pasta Stuffed with House Cured Cod and Marjoram


Spaghetti Misto di Mare
Dried Pasta with Bay Scallops, Maine Crab and Sea Urchin


Red Mullet with Cauliflower & Citrus


Rombo al Cartoccio
Turbot Cooked in Parchment with Black Truffle


Chocolate & Apricot Budino

Christmas Day was overcast and drizzly. We wandered through Times Square, and found ourselves at the Bryant Park annual flea market. It makes for wonderful window shopping, because the vendors feature exquisite handmade crafts of very high quality, and most of them aren't even particularly expensive.
A pigeon huddled against the chill at the top of this lamppost.
And three sparrows shivered in a conifer.
Here are some colorful stone bead necklaces from Tibet,
bright lacquered boxes,
and handbags woven from recycled candy wrappers.
There are all sorts of fun collectibles as well.
After a bit my toes were freezing,
which if not cured, was considerably improved by hot Italian chocolate that is sumptuously, decadently rich.
The park has a free skating rink.
At the far end a large Christmas tree is prominent. There's a lady in a black coat in the lower left, for scale.
I have to say that even as prepared as I am for this sort of thing, I was shocked at how miserable this tree looked. It was patchy and thin and its dessicated branches hung listlessly straight down.
You could see it was losing needles, they had fallen on the snow.
Back to the Algonquin, for dinner and music in the Oak Room, where Andrea Marcovicci sang a special homage to songwriter Johnny Mercer, including the early "Out of Breath (and scared to Death of You)" which I quite liked, and the more standard Skylark and Autumn Leaves. It was all splendid and delightful!

Somehow, looking for lyrics I found this holiday classic, but here is the original version - it had been amended because it was deemed too depressing:

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last,
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, pop that champagne cork,
Next year we will all be living in New York.

No good times like the olden days, happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who were dear to us, will be near to us no more.

But at least we all will be together, if the Fates allow,
From now on we'll have to muddle through somehow.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now."

With the exception of a couple of world wars, the developed west for the last century has been living profligately, at the pinnacle of unfettered consumption, without the slightest regard for the cost future generations must pay for our frenetic heedless plundering. We have been using every resource and reproducing as fast as we can, and tossing the toxic waste aside to be cleaned up another day, by somebody else. When you consider the mind-boggling amounts of money that go to military endeavors, switching to clean energy should be a bargain in comparison.
I love this lynx coat. I bought it years ago at a second-hand clothing store in Philadelphia. German-made and in perfect condition, it is unimaginably warm and light. Sometimes when I wear this coat, small children I have never seen before run up to me and wrap their arms around my legs. It is that irresistibly soft.

So many stories and songs for children are about animals. Think of the Pooh stories with Piglet and Owl that made Tonstant Weader fwow up, and every Disney movie since Bambi. The animals are going extinct, and all the children in the future will know of them will be a few surviving perhaps in zoos, and pictures. Pets will become a luxury, and then nonexistent as food supplies dwindle.

On to a Happy New Year!

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