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Outside of Houston, a small town rallied to save a local 100-year-old historic oak tree, and mounted a creative campaign to raise $200,000 in funding, that involved 5 powerful CAT tractors working in Unison to move the living tree 1500 feet, out of the way of a new road. Why does it matter. When an entire community cares that much about saving a living symbol for the future, and mounts an effort as resourceful as that of moving the Endeavor Space Shuttle through the streets of LA, it deserves our notice, and respect.
See the “moving” video. http://youtu.be/BFTj0hM3DHM
A visit to Black Point Estate is a high point of any visit to historic Geneva Lake, Wisconsin. The well-preserved house, standing high on a wooded bluff on the south shore of the 21-mile circumference lake was built by a Chicago beer baron in 1888 as a summer home for his family. Original furnishings and decor make the house feel like it should be in the Smithsonian museum. For information on how to visit Black Point by water or land, go to their website: http://www.blackpointpreserve.org/ The lakefront grounds of Black Point are permanently protected by a conservation easement jointly held by the Geneva Lake Conservancy and the house association.
Yesterday’s 50-degree overnight temp swing in Chicago gave me new impetus to write on climate change, as I sat down to a bowl of hot chili in a neighborhood restaurant and read the lead story in the June 13-20 issue of The New Yorker, “Storms Brewing,” by the observant Elizabeth Kolbert. She succinctly reviewed the increasingly alarming aberrant climate conditions around the globe, and then proceeded to give one of the clearest explanations for it all that I’ve read. I wish I had her perspective on hand when at the Shakespeare Theatre the night before, a friend responded to me when I lamented our wildly vacillating local weather, “Well, no big deal, we’re just seeing some extremes.”
Kolbert wrote: “For decades, climate scientists have predicted, that as global temperatures rose, the side effects would include deeper draughts, more intense flooding and ferocious storms…the underlying science is pretty simple. Warm air can hold more moisture. This means that there is greater evaporation. It also means there is more water, and hence more energy, available to the system. What we are seeing now is these particular predictions being borne out.”
I was going to use the fading of the snows on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, Africa’s two highest peaks, as examples of global warming I have witnessed. But I checked and found a new theory is that deforestation is causing the receding snow, because mountain winds used to pick up the moisture from the trees and turn it into snow on the peaks. Attempts are now being made to restore the climate by replanting lost trees.
As to world climate, Ms. Kolbert maintains that today’s “new normal” of tornadoes, hurricanes and wind damage will change even more. “Each additional ton of carbon dioxide that is spewing into the atmosphere contributes to further warming, thus increasing the risk of violent weather.” Some of the reactions to this knowledge are bizarre. In Australia, some are proposing the killing of more than a million feral camels in the outback, each of which emits a ton of natural emissions a year.
Is is time for radical rejiggering of energy policy? Ms. Kolbert makes a wise distinction that is not widely recognized, especially by many leaning “right” politically, “It may be beyond our power to control the climate, but we can determine it. This is precisely what we are doing now, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.”
Just as I recently blogged, and despite the overwhelming worldwide climatic disasters of recent days, weeks and months, and despite a new UN report of new, fresh evidence of long-term climate change, Congress, most especially the GOP, and news media, in my view, are largely ignoring the massive evidence of consequential climate change, and not prioritizing spending and science and public education that could make a positive difference, for this and future generations.
Politico details the new evidence, both of climate change itself and of albatross-like Congressional indifference, in the attached compelling story: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55522.html
Let your representatives in Congress and your favorite news media know how you feel on this critical subject.
The Village Board at Williams Bay on the shores of Geneva Lake, Wisconsin, a few days ago approved a perpetual land protection agreement with the Geneva Lake Conservancy. This conservation easement will guarantee the natural habitat at the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, a beautiful 230 acre piece of land with native wetlands, forest, streams and miles of walking trails. The Kishwauketoe (which means clear waters) area was dedicated to “The Children of Tomorrow” when the village, in its wisdom, purchased the land from developers in 1989. Now it is protected for future generations to enjoy. What better way to celebrate Earth Day! See http://www.kishwauketoe.org. Kishwauketoe is at the inner curve of the first deep bay on left (N) of lake in photo.
The government of Tanzania in East Africa is proposing that a two-lane truck route, the first of its kind, be built across the famed Serengeti plain, intersecting the annual migration route of the world’s largest concentration of wildlife, and exposing these increasingly rare animals to poachers. The reason is to create a direct route for the transport of rare earth minerals from the Lake Victoria area used in the production of cell phones for China. An alternative route has been proposed that would skirt the Serengeti, that is longer and therefore more expensive to build and operate. See this article for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serengeti_National_Park
We twice have visited the Serengeti and it’s northern extension into Kenya, called the Masai Mara, which itself is threatened by growth of agriculture, poaching and over use for tourism. I wrote an essay on the magnificence of this vast, complex and truly unique wildlife habitat and on big game conservation issues in the area, called Masai Mara Hood Ornament, which was presented to the Chicago Literary Club. It can be found at http://www.chilit.org. Go to “Search.”
If you care about preserving dozens of species of big game in one of their largest and last natural habitats, contact the media, wildlife organizations and search the internet under “road through serengeti national park.”
Our culture does a better job of managing contingencies in space than we do on our seabed. Technology must catch up with exploration. The immediate message is conservation – let’s conserve our natural resources and habitat. The omnipotence of protecting water is prominent in this equation. To protect water, we must be careful with the land and what lies above and beneath it. If there’s ever a time to see that the message is wind, solar and water power, now is it. While we desperately need to put a finger in the dyke of this spill, the lesson is that we need new strategies and practices and technologies and economics that will enable us to protect and conserve the entire dyke, for ours and future generation. As I said on a public relations industry LinkedIn site today, that’s a challenge and opportunity where public relations can make an incredible difference. The clarion call should be: it’s time to move Beyond Petroleum. Thanks for the push, BP.