β€œIt’s the classic example of how biodiversity loss has increased the risk for spillover,” Walzer said.”

Environmental Destruction Brought Us COVID-19. What It Brings Next Could Be Far Worse. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/emerging-disease-environmental-destruction_n_5e9db58fc5b63c5b58723afd

With everything in a state of suspended animation, we look more carefully. False optimism, waves of cynicism, neither serve; sincerity & blunt candor elucidate the nature of this time. Earthly life is out of balance due to human action. So many creatures extinguished, endangered, and the very air we breathe, the sea and soil that feed us, the water we drink, compromised. As other living things perish in the wake of human ‘civilizations’, why did we expect exemption?

30+ years ago, global warming forecasts suggested that disease and pandemics would increase as self-sustaining global ecosystems were increasingly pushed out of natural balance. Year after year, denials trumped reason as the earth was ravaged to produce wealth and supercharge consumer economies. So much stuff to buy. Must have stuff. More stuff. The right stuff. The fun stuff. The stuff to make life worth living. Until it kills us.

In 2020, we shouldn’t be surprised that a microscopic assassin from the wild kingdom holds us hostage; guilty, saddened, exasperated, yes. Motivated to change our collective way of being on this once vibrant earth? Absolutely.

The writing’s been on the wall a long time; the question hangs in the momentarily cleared air above humanity’s indulgent empires. Can we become literate enough to comprehend the science of sustainable co-existence with life on earth in the years to come, or will clinging to the mythology of endless wealth and partisan group-think finally end this Anthropocene reign of error ? We don’t need stuff. We need enlightenment.

For the rest of us

a long walk with a camera has marked my Christmas day for many years now, a relief from the spectacle of expectations the season can become.

Instead, a collection
freely offered, free to share
no waste no cost no strain
a labor of love for life
take from the earth only beauty
call us all home again
pause & wonder at the everyday miraculous
And bow when gratitude, unbidden, comes.

MaY PeAcE PreVaiL on EaRtH

Mighty phragmites and their neighbors blowing in the wind during Autumn hawkwatch, Cape May County NJ. (click any image to enlarge).

at the shore

Atlantic Coastal and bay beaches from South Jersey to Assateague Island.

Cape May Point, a shoreline and a wartime relic that appear timeless.
WW II Bunker at Cape May Point
Wind drives seaward; all the sand here has been trucked or pumped in repeatedly. Waves once crashed beneath this WWII battery fortress leaving it perched in midair atop the grid of wooden pilings that form its foundation. Storm after storm sent waves breaking over the historic duneline behind it, flooding the Cape May meadows and eroding the beach into steep cliffs, until the state of NJ had no choice but to rescue Cape May Point and this landmark by spending a fortune every few years since the early 1990’s to maintain and re-nourish these doomed beaches.
Up close a symphonic pattern of curving grasses, a brace of rebar, lime weeping, a garland of goldenrod nodding overhead.
Up close a symphonic pattern of curving grasses, a brace of rebar, lime weeping, a garland of goldenrod nodding overhead.
WW II Bunker at Cape May Point, festooned with grasses where the ocean once laid claim. And will again.
Coastal defense of a bygone era, shored up with imported sand, festooned with sedges and grasses where the ocean once laid claim. And will again.
Notice the image below “What Is It”, of the bunker suspended in midair with waves breaking behind it. The original 1940’s shoreline extended far in front of the structure and included gun turret mounts and other buildings. Beyond the bunker, midway down Cove beach toward Cape May, once stood the town of South Cape May. Remnants of that place sometimes wash ashore after a Nor’easter storm, bits of broken china, tile or brick. The rest of it lies underwater.
Around the point from the bunker, Delaware Bay beaches in the Villas, a far cry from the creosote bulkhead bound and filthy shoreline found here in the 1960s. Less beach but now backed by replanted dunes in place of the unsuccessful armored shoreline
Remnants of coastal mixed cedar dune forest set between the front Delaware Bay beach and the cattail anchored brackish wetlands behind. Saltwater slowly encroaches as sea level changes impact the estuary. A drive north on Route 47 up the western side of the south Jersey peninsula will take you past areas of drowned forests and fishing villages like Reeds Beach, Fortescue and others that are slowly being claimed by the rising tide. People who’ve lived long lives on this coast witness these changes firsthand. For others interested in the forecast for the region, this Rutger’s University study provides a wealth of information.

October Sundown

On the way home last night, only tool with me, the phone.

Wisconsin River autumn at Boscobel, fog and light enchanted.

Another installment of an ongoing series witnessing the impacts of climate changes in the Midwest. Torrential rain and persistent flooding have made a sobering mark this year on the lives of many: lost crops, flooded fields, landslides, damaged homes, railcars and river barges at a standstill, hope at a premium and longstanding lifeways called into question.

Normally placid, Sanders Creek meanders through Boscobel. In a matter of hours it morphed into a raging, cataract just as full moon arrived this month. The roaring of the water a block away drew me out into darkness.

Night Watch

Posting this pixelish, lowlight phone snap because it cracks me up… the second car was invisible to the eye πŸ™ƒ.


All that remains of the 19th century Dubuque, IA generating station, tabula rasa, a blank slate. A lost generation of industrial architecture. Generator. Genera. Generous. Sui Generis. General. Genetic. Generic. Be generous, time flies.

Notre Dame Cathedral up in smoke. Unthinkable and irreplaceable. Rebuildable, hopefully. Replaceable, non.

An epic tragedy that turns my mind to the tragedy of destruction being planned for Florida’s remaining wildland cathedrals: vast upstate oak savannahs, first magnitude springs, unique hammock and swamp woodlands ornate with exotic and irreplaceable ecosystems and the creatures they host. Not rebuildable by human hands. Mitigation? Like a zoo compared to the Serengeti .

All these wild & rural places to be bulldozed and bisected for three massive, limited-access tollways stretching across “opportunity zone” development corridors that will enrich corporations, pursue an archaic fossil fuel infrastructure & energy export agenda, fill political coffers and expedite paving over the last remaining strongholds of wild, rural Florida, both Southwest and North Central.

The plan’s championed by Sarasota/ Bradenton lawyer and state senate President Bill Galvano -R , district 21. Sarasota’s a gulf coast city where unregulated sprawl over the last 40 years has created residential neighborhoods requiring 6 and 8 lane access roads to handle local surface traffic alone.

As yet, no one in power has bothered to ask the opinons of people who live in the path of these juggarnauts how they feel about the intrusion. Letters advising property owners of the possibility of eminent domain seizure of their home or land often represent first notice of such projects, as has happened with the ongoing Suncoast Parkway construction currently burrowing across Citrus County, heart of the “Nature Coast”.

This in a state already overflowing with runaway sprawl and poorly planned developments. Plagued by coastal and potable water quality issues. Located at ground zero for climate change impacts.

Wealth besotted politicians. Zero foresight. A 19th Century vision for 21st Century issues because short term profits continue blinding powerbrokers to the long term consequences for Florida’s singular wildlands, rural life ways and ultimate survivability in a warming world. Policies that serve the wealthy few at the expense of the many, both human and wild.

Then there’s the “more hurricane evacuation routes” arguement. Please. Those who’ve participated in past storm evacuations know the ridiculous truth: traveling by car to get away from storms is perilous, expensive and unpredictable. And there’s nowhere to go with capacity to handle the human surge. Even for those who can afford the trip and potentially several days displacement from work, school and home.

Better to focus on local transportation infrastructure to expanded storm shelter facilities and let people remain in proximity to their homes, communities and workplaces. And to cleanup, if necessary.

Solar-powered, local, light rail and high-speed long distance rail provide cleaner, sustainable answers in ways no tollway filled with vehicles gridlocked & going nowhere in the path of a storm ever can. Optimizing existing roadway and interstate highway infrastructure with the additions of rail and of regional park-n-ride or park-n-shelter in place can provide the public services that address transportation & storm shelter needs in an equitable & sustainable model.

The problem is that solar and rail, unlike gas and superhighway toll road development, doesn’t generate jurassic scale profits for corporate developers, fossil fuel vested utilities, real estate profiteers or their cronies embedded in the Florida legislature.

Solar energy in the Sunshine State? Such a concept. Yet regional utilites continue investing in frack sourced, pipeline delivered gas for local use, and potentially for export. Crystal River’s new Duke Energy multimillion dollar gas fired plant sits at a terminus of the multistate, high-capacity Sabal Trail Pipeline.

A burgeoning overseas market for compressed liquified natural gas (LNG) is cited in development plans for the Ports of Jacksonville and Tampa. Would compressed LNG station-to-truck-to-ship container transport be expedited by new high speed, cross-state tollways connecting Tampa and Jacksonville? Connect the dots, see a picture of another unsustainable future.

The images here narrate this continuing story. Who among the sunbaked and waterlogged will take up plowshares and paddles to preserve our state and planet’s most ancient cathedrals? We are all Parisians my friends.

For more info & community:


Legislature’s planned road project could benefit Florida’s richest man


Update 4/18/19

A 1000 Friends of FL webinar today included a pdf that is a must review for anyone interested in these issues. It also provides additional references pertinent to some of the points I try to make:

Click to access 1904-expressway-FINAL.pdf

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