On Not Killing Our Environmental Puppies

Yesterday, your neighbor’s yellow lab gave birth to a litter of puppies.

Today, the owner has made up his mind to do one of the following: to turn them outdoors to fend for themselves in the heat and take their chances with the traffic; to poison them outright; or to simply ignore their whining there in the next room until they die from starvation.

The dogs are his. They live, however briefly or unwell, on his private property. But if we heard about irresponsible treatment of creatures in this way, we’d think it fitting that the local sheriff visit your neighbor to explain to him the consequences of reprehensible treatment to animals. Animal cruelty is a behavior universally abhorred — against certain cherished and cuddly animals, at least.

And yet some very vocal people of our times are convinced that a godless, liberal, socialist one-world-government conspiracy is ramming down our throats the notion that other animals than pets have “rights” that limit how they ought to be treated.

Read More at medium.com…

BlueWater Dream of the Great Below

I awoke with a start. I had fallen asleep slumped against my favorite leaning poplar a ten-minute walk from the house. I was most certainly not exactly there now. I had nodded off on a warm summer afternoon, but now I was immersed in a cool but pleasant darkness, and more floating than lying against anything at all.

The half-familiar smell of being in a cave — or the dank, moist, earthy and energizing smell of a rainstorm — was intense; it came from every side of me, though I truly could not have told you — or cared at that moment — which way was up. My eyes waited for a glimmer. Maybe I’d slept into darkness under a passing shower. I was just groggy. Right?

I wasn’t afraid, exactly, but I confess some discomfort in not knowing: if I was dead; or in a coma maybe; or had I been transported across a divide into a place so utterly unfamiliar that I might never regain my bearings? Maybe I had gone mad.

I tried to stand, and somehow in the pitch-darkness had the sense that I became vertical, but I recall the odd sense of nothing under my feet — no pressure against my soles, no feeling of gravity whatsoever on my joints. Where ever I was, I was buoyant, weightless, a feather floating in… in what, I could not tell.

Read more of this at medium.com

Forest Is…

forest ridge in morning sun
Click the image to enlarge and read some details about the photograph and the photographer

Forest: a bunch of trees. A product. A profit source for shareholders. A place where something useful might be built.

Forest: a living community of interconnected lifeforms, above and below ground, that breathes oxygen, captures and stores CO2, communicates across distance and shares nutrients within a community of tethered trees and shrubs; an evolving habitat and nutrient-rich shelter for birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians; a generator of topsoil and sponge for holding and slowly giving back water or holding it in place until it can percolate into the soil and rock groundwater below.

Our generation is in the midst of deciding which of these definitions will turn the engines of our economy with relationship to wooded places, public and private.

Civilizations past have disappeared after abusing their forests. Our generation is on the verge of making the same mistake in a matter of a few decades and around the globe. This could be The Big Oops.

FOREST and CIVILIZATIONS

Why Did the Mayan Civilization Collapse? A New Study Points to Deforestation and Climate Change | Science | Smithsonian

Amazon Deforestation, Once Tamed, Comes Roaring Back – The New York Times

The Rise and Fall of Civilizations  | UCSD.edu
“Just as has been documented for many past civilizations, the inevitable consequences of our current lifestyles will be societal collapse accompanied by tremendous human suffering. The difference between past civilizations and ours is only quantitative: this time, resource depletion is occurring on a global scale.”

Forests Precede Us, Deserts Follow | Collapse of Industrial Civilization

When forests aren’t really forests: the high cost of Chile’s tree plantations

Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet   | NatGeo

New Deforestation Hot Spots in the World’s Largest Tropical Forests – Medium

False Forests | Mother Jones

Let There (NOT) Be Light

Yo, Fragments regulars or those much  more numerous who, according to my site statistics,  came here round-about from the oddest search results you can imagine (those details for another time)…

I will be, at least for while, posting primarily on medium.com that perhaps has more potential readership and greater credibility as a fact source than the fuzzy world of blogs.

Today’s post has not gotten much love there, so my thought that DARKNESS  and a pertinent map would be an interesting topic for my sky-watching neighbors has not borne out. I continue to have my finger somewhere other than on the pulse of American readership.

But one or two southwest Virginians may appreciate anew your bearing in the world of dark (or light) places in these parts. From this post, be sure and go to meteoEarth for their dynamic maps.

And if you make it to Medium.com, please sign up to follow and if you really are feeling generous, “recommend” (medium’s version of FB “like”) a post or two from time to time.

Go to http://medium.com/@fred1st

The “featured image” up top of night time lights over SW VA from meteoEarth here is not very clear, the image uploaded to medium.com is better and meteoEarth is far clearer still.

That is all.

Nature Deficit Disaster: Vanishing Species

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/video-why-should-humans-care-about-biodiversity-loss-180961708/

There was a time when we could pretend to not know it was short-sighted to let tongueless buffalo carcasses rot by the millions. Or shoot passenger pigeons for sport. Or wipe out all top predators because we had the notion the world would be a better place without them.

There was a time when humankind could depend on business, more or less, as usual, over the long term of our short history. That long calm was called the Holocene–the term that geologists use for that period of 15 to 20 thousand years after the last Ice Age ended. The biology of the planet is no longer more-or-less stable.

And now there is the Anthropocene, when we know that our numbers and our urges and the two-century toiling of our carbon slaves have displaced or extinguished not mere populations of plants and animals but entire species; even higher taxa are imperiled. And as each of them winks out, the landscape changes in ways often not visible in a single blink of a human lifetime.

This Great Decline–the Sixth Great Extinction–goes barely noticed by too many that think this place and this time is all about them. To any of those types, I urge you to watch this very simple explanatory movie from Smithsonian on for why you should care about loss of biodiversity. The filmmakers explain  it with their tagline: humans don’t just impact the interconnected web of life. We depend on it. Do you get that? Do you?

Most cases are not as clearly demonstrative of this truth as the wolves’ visible impact on ecosystems. To truly comprehend the magnitude of lost species, we have to be, on average, much better informed about the science of life that we share in common with those vanishing fellow creatures.

Meanwhile, science-challenged Americans are so distanced from the living world that nature has become an irrelevant abstraction that exists in zoos, museums and on certain television channels.

Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” a decade ago. Today, the phrase describes not just the de-natured plight of our children but a nation-wide root cause–especially at the highest levels of corporate and political power–of many of our most critical threats to the integrity of what must be, for those who come after us, a house in order.

We can perhaps yet slow the precipitous rate of biodiversity loss, even in an era we have allowed to overtake us where atmospheric chaos will be sufficient challenge to the human future on Earth.

From former Fragments…

End of the Age: A Splendidly Disturbing Time
Nature Deficit and the Anthropocene
Economics as an Environmental Discipline?