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Today I visited the bike trail we used to ride. It goes along the harbor under the Verrazano bridge. Windy morning and rough seas and I could see the damage Sandy did. I wonder how long it will take for the City to get around to fixing this.




This big little guy is in my In-laws backyard deep in South Brooklyn

Praying Mantis grows in Brooklyn

Gary Synder wrote that the wildness of Nature is everywhere.

From “The Etiquette of Freedom,” an essay in Synder’s book “The Practice of the Wild” –

“But wildness is not limited to (places formally set aside on public lands). Shifting scales, it is everywhere: ineradicable population of fungi, moss, mold, yeasts, and such that surround and inhabit us. Deer mice on our back porch, deer bounding across the freeway, pigeons in the park, spiders in the corners. There were crickets in the paint locker of the Sappa Creek oil tanker, as I worked as a wiper in the engine room out in mid-Pacific, cleaning brushes. Exquisite complex beings in their energy webs inhabiting the ferile corners of the urban world in accord with the rules of wild systems, the visible hardy stalks and stems of vacant lots and railroads, the persistent raccoon squads, bacteria in the loam of our yogurt……Civilization is permeable, and could be as inhabited as the wild is.”

Nature, wild Nature is the culture we swim in — it supports us even as we try to destroy it. We try to weed it out and debug it. But it persists. People move into cities looking for a better life and often they bring Nature with them because of old habits and ways of life. Many Chinese people and other orientals have moved into the Gravesend section of Brooklyn where my in-laws have lived for over 60 years. If they have a few feet of ground many plant squash and other crops. This is natural habitat for lots of wildlife including many sorts of insects. I’m guessing that my friend the praying mantis called the nearby squash patch home. But for some reason he was standing on the painted cement of the backyard (the whole yard is cement).

A doorway in Sunset Park, down by the docks.

A doorway in Sunset Park, down by the docks

An even less natural section of Brooklyn is Sunset park near the docks. 53rd street and 1st avenue is where I took the photo above. Railroad tracks and warehouses, factories and stone — the doorway attracted my photographer’s eye but I didn’t pay much attention to the green sprouts coming up, as they always do, through the cracks below. Given time they would cover the building. Abandoned towns and cities soon are recovered by wild Nature.

The disease of European civilization came across the ocean during the age of exploration. Looking for natural resources the explorers started the ruin of North America’s Nature. But the resistance persists. Unbridled civilization will not work. Nature will out. If not we are doomed, I think.

Corn Field in Snow

Corn Field in the Prospect Hill Conservation Land, first week in December 2007

I raise my pelvis to God
so that it may know the truth of how
flowers smash through the long winter.
(Anne Sexton (1928-1974), U.S. poet. “The Fierceness of Female.”)


Over and over, year after year, the flowers need to smash through. This spring it might be a little more difficult. We have had and are still having an old-fashioned New England winter. It snowed last night on March 28th, a week into spring, and then turned to rain. I went out to take photos to record the event before the precipitation stopped. But now low and behold, it’s snowing again, coming down pretty good.
Cider Mill In snow
The Trail to Cider Mill Conservation Land on March 28th, 2008
Of course before we had spring and winter snow we had fall snow in early December. Anyone thinking of moving south?
Along the Trail 12-4-08
Boulders Along the Trail – First Week of December, 2007

Step It Up — April 14th 2007

Step It Up Group Photo

Group photo taken from the church steeple.

My wife Aurora and I were involved in Step It Up yesterday. I designed and created a tri-fold flyer entitled “Global Warming – What Can I do?” Its attractive — lots of photos — is printed on recycled paper and includes twelve things individuals can do to start to turn the tide. I got the information for the flyer from a few web sites including Al Gore’s. Aurora handed them out to a crowd of about 200 people — pretty good sized crowd considering the organizers got a late start on this.

But what I enjoyed most was that I was the photographer for the event and had the privilege of climbing up the old First Parish Church steeple (watch out for the bat guano!) and taking photos from there. The Step It Up organization requested that local events report to them about our activities including photos — organizer Marcia Stokes is doing that as I write this post.

Me In The Steeple

That’s me getting blown away.

In case you are unaware, Step It Up’s goal is to create a ground swell of public outcry to encourage Congress to decrease carbon emissions 80% by 2050. The Step It Up web site is here –

Many believe that nothing short of such an initiative with what may seem like a drastic goal will work. In other words while using the right light bulbs and driving Hybrids is a step in the right direction, if we, for example, keep building coal fired electricity generation plants, none of that will help. We need fundamental change in our civilization in order to have the impact on green house gas emissions and climate change that is required.
During our one hour rally yesterday we had several activities including the all important signatures to indicate that we were there and behind the Step It Up initiative.


Here’s Marian Harman, President of the Westford Conservation Trust, signing her commitment.

The Minister of the First Parish Church was the key note speaker. She told the crowd that Congress needs to STEP IT UP!!

Cindy says Step It Up!!

Minister Cindy Worthington-Berry

Marcia Stokes — Our Organizer

Marcia Stokes

Marcia organized the rally and I think she did an excellent job. I’m sure she had help but she was certainly the go to person yesterday.

There was music (I missed the singing because it took a little while to get down from the steeple) and Bill Harmen played the Trombone. Story telling went on for a while and the kids seemed to enjoy that very much .

Peter Severance, a local ground water expert and conservationist, was there to teach the kids of all ages about critters that live in our local waters and the importance of good quality water. The Westford Conservation Trust was represented by Diane Duane and her husband Bill as well as several other members. Bonnie Tincknell had information about Healthy Lawns for Healthy families. There was information about composting as well.

But the primary message was — Congress Step It Up! From what I can tell the rallies around the country added up to a much larger first event in the short life of this effort. We have lots more to do but from here the road looks exciting and rewarding, like the best grass roots movements and revolutions.

Cindy quoted Gandi during her speech, saying “Be the change you want to see in the world.” A great quote — but much more than a quote now that change — one way or another — is inevitable.

See you at next year’s Step It Up rally!

Tom Paul Trail, Winter

Photo: Tom Paul Trail, Westford Massachusetts

In a comment re an earlier post, inel wrote:

“I agree with the President of the Royal Society when he said:

“We need both to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases and to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Those who would claim otherwise can no longer use science as a basis for their argument.”

I am busy doing what I can to combat climate change. Are you?”

The quote by the President above is brilliant.

Also, at the risk of sounding smug, inel asks a challenging question. But is it the right one?

I think not. I believe anything as sweeping as climate change is like a tsunami, not something that can be fought but something that as the President quoted above says, must be prepared for.

But isn’t this s a silly debate? We need to ‘both to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases and prepare for climate change’ no matter who is right. Yes the evidence is strong that mankind is causing at least some of the change and particularly the rate of said change. But change is the one constant on earth so the cause of this one can be debated for as long as people want to waste time.

Let’s stop debating and wasting time – let’s do as the esteemed President of the Royal Society recommends – with all reasonable speed.

Cape Cod Bay Sunset 2005

Climatologist Calls Global Warming Fears ‘Greatest Deception in the History of Science’ This headline caught caught my eye. Its on a blog called Everything and Anything.

I’ve been thinking about the ‘science’ behind the global warming/climate change discussion. I use quotes because I don’t understand where science ends and hysteria begins. Now I’m pretty sure greenhouse gases have something to do with climate change but I’m also sure that climate change is a constant thing. And I am very sure I don’t understand the science.

I believe we need not debate or know for sure about where the line between Nature and our pollution is — we simply need to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollution because we are screwing up the planet. Making it less livable everyday — without factoring in global warming. If GW is even a tenth as bad as Al Gore says that’s just another reason to improve the way our industries and civilization work. There is no need for this debate imo — its a red herring.

(The photo above is meant to convey heat — and to remind eveyone that it will not be -5 degrees or whatever forever.)

Take a look at the story at the end of the link below. I don’t have any idea if this guy or Al is right — but I do know that most people will not be able to tell intellectually. Global warming/climate change is an emotional issue — — that is masking the simple fact that we are screwing up the planet with polution of all kinds — air, water, earth, noise, what have you. So whether the guy I linked to below is right or Al Gore is, we need to change our ways as rapidly as economically feasible.

What do you think?

The other side of the story?

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