Flight Behavior: a review

Female Monarch butterfly on a Butterfly bush

When I was a kid left alone to pull weeds from the family garden, I could often be found sitting beside the plants, reading a historical novel by the likes of Leon Uris, whose “Trinity,” taught me about “the Troubles” of Northern Ireland and “Exodus,” about the Jews trying to escape Hitler.

Continue reading Flight Behavior: a review

Sky sponsored by Exxon

It’s early morning in Rivendell, a smoke-cloaked fantasyland outside my back door. Hobbits and dwarfs sit with their morning coffee around kitchen tables in stone huts along pathways pressed by millions of footfalls through the forest on the far side of the glen.

This close to July, the morning sun should have the air warmed to near-80 but this morning it is only about 60, reflecting the reason the sun is a hazy gray over the land as smoke from numerous forest fires, blown from eastern Canada to the midwestern states of Ohio and Illinois and now back to the eastern Manor of Maske—known less imaginatively as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Continue reading Sky sponsored by Exxon

Youth seek future in court

For the past several years, I have been among those predicting our youth would have to resolve the problems we oldsters have wrought upon our home. It turns out, they’re already at it – and doing more than merely crying out, “OK, Boomer!” when they detect a problem.

Monday, a group of young people—ages from early teens to mid-20s— became first in the nation to present their case in a state courtroom as they sued the state of Montana for failing its constitutional mandate to clean up the air and water we all depend on for continued life aboard Starship Earth.

Continue reading Youth seek future in court

Solar for clean air, local food

A few years ago, a nearby township turned down a proposed zoning ordinance. Opponents declared a god-given right to do as they wished with their land – until a neighbor opened an entertainment venue in which young, mostly unclad, women danced and served customers. Suddenly, zoning was a divine protection.

Continue reading Solar for clean air, local food

A couple of heavy boards

Like a tide that only rises, the Atlantic Ocean is claiming beachfront humans one thought they owned.Water. We human mammals – those of us born without fins, anyway – spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it. We pay a premium for housing as close to it as we can to a stream, lake or ocean and post signs around it announcing our success to those who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.

Continue reading A couple of heavy boards

Make room for Ellie

The last of Ellie's line died nearly 6,000 years ago Should we bring them back?When many of us think of the woolly mammoth, I’m guessing we think of Queen Latifah, or at least the voice she gave to Ellie the woolly mammoth in the “Ice Age” movie franchise. For the record, the ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and so did Ellie and her mate, Manny.

Continue reading Make room for Ellie

The trees are warning us

Hidden in the middle of a state forest, trees are cut down to make room for fossil fuel pipelines to warm the planet.Readers of J.R.R. Tolkein are familiar with Ents, those long-talking, slow-walking ancient creatures of Middle Earth. They are among the few beings to have survived to the current age. It seems they eventually took root, owing to their extreme slowness, and became what we know as trees, those flexible, sometimes giant, beings that wave in the wind.

Continue reading The trees are warning us

Finishing the job

Our many wondrous advances count for naught if we leave cleanup for our grandkids.At the tender age of about 10, I got my first lesson on the subject of cleaning up after oneself. We’d gone to visit Gramma and Grampa in Watertown, Mass., a little way out of Boston. I always liked visiting their home, a really old-fashioned place with a parlor – a small room off the living room, home to a couple of rocking chairs no one actually sat in. In fact, the big set of double French doors to the parlor was rarely not closed.

Continue reading Finishing the job

(More than) 40 million people…

Frozen reservoirThe evening news begins nearly every night with some version of, “Forty million people will be affected by the weather tonight.” Unless another Malaysian Air flight disappears, our TV screens will be filled with 8 feet of snow in Boston, and 18-wheelers piled up on Midwestern interstate highways.

Of course, news casters, not to be accused of unqualified hyperbole, usually note the effect will be limited to residents of Illinois through Massachusetts. If they’d include folks in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, and maybe Virginia and West Virginia, they could get those numbers up. Even Texas has had snow this year – which is odd since part of the state was wondering as Fall approached whether they would have water at all.

Continue reading (More than) 40 million people…