I was hoping to report some good news on the ozone hole, which appears each year over Antarctica early in October, the austral spring. After all, it’s been more than 25 years since the world’s nations signed the Montreal Protocol, limiting the production and emissions of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were widely used as refrigerants and propellants. By now, one might hope that the human impact on the stratosphere, first predicted in 1974 and documented in the early 1980s, might show some signs of recovery.
October 27: The winter birds are returning, and the photo backgrounds are no longer green. I saw the bobcat here today, under the deck stashing a kill on the stone ledge.....preparing for cold weather. Sounds like a good idea.
Every now and again, I find someone who believes that carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the breathing of humans accounts for the rise of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. After all, there is a direct and powerful correlation between the rise of the human population and the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere during the past few decades. And human numbers are still increasing rapidly, so it makes sense that more CO2 is emitted from humans each year. Maybe fossil fuels are the wrong culprit.
Millerton has moved from proclaiming the dangers of climate change to doing domething about it. On October 20 the Moviehouse showed This Changes Everything, a film based on the book of the same name by Naomi Klein. It is an epic re-imagining of the challenge of climate change with action as its theme. The movie was followed by a discussion led by Brooke Lehman and Gregg Osofsky of the Watershed Center.
A large crowd seemed genuinely moved by the plight of the communities at the front lines of the climate change crisis. They included the devastated lands caused by the mining in the Alberta Tar Sands, Hurricane Sandy’s ruthless destruction and the stifling smog of Beijing.
Germany is called a success story. It has switched 30% of its energy needs to solar and wind. The county’s emissions have gone down, their economy is up, and citizens are now reaping economic benefits of their alternative energy investments.
“Fierce collaboration” is needed if the U.S. is going to stop using water in unsustainable way, says Alex Prud’homme, who spoke at the Housatonic Valley Asssociation’s annual meeting last week. When he started researching water he was struck by how water has become invisible to us and how we take it for granted.
When we need water we turn on the tap and it comes. However we don’t drink Housatonic river water, or eat the fish or ducks that live in that water, because G.E dumped carcinogens like PCB’s in our river. Every local problem becomes a global problem. There are still 1.5 billion lbs of PCBs in the environment even after EPA dredged 40 miles of the Hudson River.
October 21, 2015- If you are like me, you’re worried about the increasing amount of aggression displayed by people, both at home and abroad. School-yard and urban shootings, coupled with civil and jihadist wars, don’t make for calming nightly news.
So I’m going to go out on a limb with this blog, to suggest that these aggressive human behaviors derive from the stress of overcrowding in a world of rising human population.
Forty years ago, the population biologist, Charles Southwick, alerted us to the difference between high density and crowding. Some populations can persist at high densities if there is plenty of food, water and shelter. Others show the stress of crowding, even at lower densities, when these resources are in short supply and the news thereof is rapidly communicated through the population. And, Lord knows, with modern social media, the news anywhere is distributed everywhere within seconds.
My wife just came in from the garden with an autumn bounty of vegetables grown about 100 yards from our front door—kale, broccoli, carrots and tomatoes. During the next few weeks, we will also store a few potatoes, garlic and squash for the winter. Our food production brings the comfort of knowing that we used no pesticides, GMO varieties, and industrial fertilizer. Indeed, some gnarly looking vegetables reassure that view; you would never see such specimens in the local supermarket.