Friday, June 24, 2011

"Yeah, Well"

It seems that every child has a built in reaction to getting into trouble.  Usually it's "Yeah well, Jimmy made me do it", or "Yeah, well Mary does it".  As adults, we try to teach our children to be responsible for their own actions and often respond "Yeah, well if Jimmy (or Mary) jumped off a bridge, would you?".

Adults will say to their children, "Yeah, well you made the mess, you clean it up".  But our actions don't support our words.  We deny we made the climate mess and blame it on someone or something else.  Sure, as an example, volcanic activity spews greenhouse gasses and particulates into the air.  When the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajohull erupted, people said to me "Yeah, well there goes all your green efforts", like this one eruption explained the increase in greenhouse gasses for the past century.  Any number of natural phenomena or events will cause an increase or decrease in the natural CO2 level.  But those changes take place over a period of time that allows for the natural dispersion of the greenhouse gasses.  We have concentrated millions of years of this into less than 200 years and the Earth can't keep up.

Earlier this week, I was tasked with bringing disposable cups to a barbeque.  I spent a good deal of time going through the different options and settled on one that, if not reused, was at least recyclable.  Knowing that the waste service where the barbeque was being held didn't accept this type of product for their recycling program, I offered that any cup that was not going to be reused, I would take home and recycle it with my provider.  When I responded to a question as to why, their response was rather unsettling, "Yeah well, I'm not going to be here when it happens anyway, so why should I care".

There are any number of things we can do to fight climate change and we should care.  We did make this mess and we are responsible.  With the youth movements that are currently taking place, I can almost hear them saying "Yeah, well you made this mess and now I have to clean it up".  It's not right.

Just saying...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Choice or Circumstance

I am always glad to leave the city, but it's also bittersweet. Although last night was short, as is typical, a little of my last night is spent walking the streets, looking at the sights, watching the people and listening to the sounds of a city.

I'm not sure why I am so mesmerized by city life. At home, I enjoy going into the backyard, listening to the night and looking at the stars. In the city, there are no stars and very few sounds of nature. Sure, there are birds that fly around now and then, but it's mostly traffic and artificial light. Still, it has a beauty of it's own.

I think a part of it is the fact that I can get lost in the crowd. There's no one that knows you, your problems, your cares or your worries. It doesn't seem to matter if you're rich, but people certainly know if you are poor or homeless.

While walking early one morning, I made a phone call and, as is habit, wore my ear buds so I didn't have to hold the phone to my ear. To keep the ear bud cord from catching on anything, I snake it under my shirt and carry the phone in my pants pocket. As I was talking on the phone, I guess it looked like I was talking to my self and laughing occasionally. The looks and obvious avoidance was amazing.

In contrast, this morning, I was clean shaven and freshly clothed, carrying my shoulder bag. Although not on the phone, I was listening to some music, ear buds fashioned in the same manner as the day before. I had to pass through a movie set, which I had done several times this week. I was stopped twice and asked, somewhat excitedly, if I was a part of the movie crew.

Yesterday, people avoided me, today I was thought to be a somebody. The only difference being a plastic shopping bag versus a Coach shoulder bag and fresh travel clothes as opposed to old jeans and a shirt.

Arguably, what we are comes down to choice or circumstance. I met a girl, a security guard at the convention center, and we were talking. She was asking about the places I had been. As I described some of the cities on the west coast, mid-western and southern states as well as England, she said someday she'd like to go places, but for now, she couldn't. She explained that she was a single mother, that her child's father had been murdered and she needed her money to take care of her child. Her's was a circumstance, not a choice.

I met a very well traveled and intelligent man that worked as a bellman. He chose that line of work. He was a wonderful jazz pianist (we snuck onto the 17th floor and he played the baby grand for me). But it was his choice to work as a bellman and have the freedom to play his music rather than be tied to a job that didn't allow him that freedom.

It's a habit of mine to search out the real people of a city and engage them. I know I'm not perfect, I am sometimes too quick to judge and need to take a moment to ask myself, is it choice or circumstance. But then, what difference does it make, we are what we are. While talking to the security guard, I told her I had spent Sunday afternoon at a gay rally. She was surprised, but said "you really don't judge people, do you". I always try not to.

Just saying....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Polyphemus Moth

I caught this moth is some short grass and, while it is widespread through much of North America, I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a photograph.

The Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) is a giant silk moth, with a wingspan reaching up to 6 inches (15 cm). This particular one had a wingspan of about 5 inches and has an injured right forewing. The moth is nocturnal, so it's possible the cause of the injury or the injury itself was the reason it was out during the daylight.

The distinctive purplish eyespots on the hindwings give it its name, from the Greek myth of the cyclops Polyphemus. This distractive pattern is a defense mechanism to protect itself against predators, probably through misdirection. Underneath, the wings look like dead leaves, which also deters predators.

It lays flat, light brown eggs on the leaves of its host plant. The eggs hatch into small yellow caterpillars that molt 5 times, with the 5th being into a pupa. In this 5th stage, the caterpillars are a bright green with yellow stripes and red and silver spots on their sides and can grow 3 to 4 inches long.

The caterpillars are vulnerable to predators including birds, small mammals and some predatory insects. One type of wasp is a parasite of the caterpillars. It injects eggs into the caterpillar where the larvae hatch and feed on the caterpillar's body.

When they emerge from the cocoon, typically in late May or early June, their purpose is to mate. Once mated, the female spends the remainder of her life laying eggs, while the male may mate several more times. Because they have reduced mouth parts, they do not eat and typically live for less than a week.

The Polyphemus is a very interesting moth, which I feel fortunate to have seen and photographed.

Just saying....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Details on Adirondack Economic Development, Please?

The Adirondack Park was established in 1892 with the 1938 constitutional convention providing for the current language in the New York State Constitution, Article XIV.

The Adirondack Park covers approximately 6.1 million acres, greater in size than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and Great Smokey Mountains National Parks combined.  According to the 2009 Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Report (APRAP), the Adirondack Park is home to 12 counties, 103 municipalities and approximately 132,000 residents.

As seems to be the case more often than not, the Adirondack Park is again under pressure for  economic development.  In one direction, criticisms are made against those who are trying to protect the park from inappropriate use while, in the other direction, criticisms are made against those who want development.

I am one who wants the Adirondack Park protected, but I am not necessarily opposed to economic development within the "Blue Line".  Recently, in correspondence on a different topic, one of our elected officials used the words "reasonable" and "responsible" in response to my objections.  I believe those words apply to all development, along with "accountable".

Through all of the discussions, I have yet to see any studies or suggestions as to what types of real, sustained economic development is wanted.  We surely can't think that bringing in timber or mining industries will prevent young families from a mass exodus from the area?

Obviously the solution is not simple, but we need to protect our environment while we promote economic growth.  To destroy the environment through economic development would destroy the very reason we think this is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Just saying....