Inspiration : Chasing Ice

James Balog set out to record something very close to my heart. Nature’s progress. Please go and see this movie and get an idea on the acceleration our human culture has put on Earth’s history and the amazing grace and beauty it beholds in the process. 
For show times during the New Year Celebration in Manhattan, goto Film Society at Lincoln Center, and in Brooklyn, at Indie Screen Cinema. For showings in your Country, State, City or Town visit chasingice.com/see-the-film/showtimes-2/. To get involved or learn more visit chasingice.com

Climate Change is happening Now and we all have a front row seat. No matter where we live, we will feel the impact. James Balog’s dedication and determination is a pure inspiration to ask yourself the question :

What am I doing about climate change ?

Environmental: Erosion

Very close to home, Super Storm Sandy showed us again the strength of Nature and it’s elements. Walking down the ocean beach in my area displayed a warning sight. The natural sand dunes have taken a much bigger toll then I personally have ever seen. The autumn and winter storms have their impact every year, but this storm just ripped a very important natural protection layer away, not only exposing the summer residences of the super wealthy, opening weak spots for future storms to flood the back land and its communities, but causing loss of life and devastating damages further west on Long Island and in New Jersey. My heart goes out to all who suffer from this natural disaster and I would kindly invite you all to help the hardest hit areas by supporting the causes of your liking to ease the difficulties of the people and their communities by donating generously your time and or money. Here some links to donate to: AmeriCares, Occupy Sandy, Gray Beards, ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, New York Blood Center, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Water for Waves.

If you’re interested in volunteering in areas hit by Hurricane Sandy, FEMA’s website has listed multiple organizations with opportunities, such as Team Rubicon, Recovers.org or learn how to volunteer in your area.

 
I grew up with North Sea Storms violently flooding the low lying fertile agricultural lands of North Friesland, Germany and over time almost the entire length of Friesland from Holland to Denmark got protected by dikes and levees. Following are examples of coastal protection programs in the Tri State area: Wetland restoration in all 5 boroughs, the 17-foot sea wall constructed in Stamford, Connecticut, the beach fill project in Avalon, New Jersey. In NYC, there are far too few coastal protection programs being implemented due to the lack of funding and governmental follow through that keeps projects in a state of study and research. However, at least after Sandy more people are conscious of the necessity for NYC to have protection from the stronger storms to come, it’s something that effects us all.

Backyard Projects : Sandy’s Effects on the Bay Beach

Going for a walk the night after Sandy hit, the beach at Little Peconic Bay had changed. Instead of erosion, it added quite an amount more of sand. It felt like a new dune section was in creation over night.

It was a challenge not having a tripod. Holding my breath each time and bracing myself in the 20 something mph winds with 2 to 10 second exposures, trying to photograph our transient existence versus Natures evolving permanence.

Environmental: Bryce Canyon Forest Fire

 
Like the Phoenix that rise from ashes, some forests just need to burn. One could mistake this as a seasonal forest barren of all leaves, perhaps winter like, but most of these trees are actually ponderosa pine trees stripped of their needles from a forest fire. There is a paining graphic beauty, the ash covered ground, the monochromatic shades of grey and black, the powdery dust, an eery silence. The absence of life on the surface.

There were a couple of fires in the area that summer. The large ‘Bridge Fire’ was a natural fire ignited by lighting strike and there were also intentionally ‘prescribed fires’. According to Jeff Bradybaugh, Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent, prescribed fires “…improve wild life habitat and restore forest health.” Read more about them here.

The National Park Service states that, “Many park visitors are alarmed to see that some of our Ponderosa Pines have been scorched or even killed by forest fires. Ironically enough, without the forest fires, ponderosas would not be able to survive. Fires are essential for ponderosas because they help keep the more shade-tolerant tree species from invading Ponderosa Pine’s preferred habitat. While small ponderosas may succumb to a hot fire, only the most horrendous crown-fires or firestorms will kill the bigger trees. Even if all the needles are burned off the tree, it will still survive. Its thick bark acts like an armor, protecting the life force of the tree known as the phloem layer. As long as this inner bark that transports sugars isn’t burned, the tree will be fine.”

Abundant life will return and I am very curious for on my next trip out there.

Environmental: Torres del Paine Fire

 

It pains me seeing beautiful pristine nature burn. Torres del Paine in Chile, one of my favorite National Parks is combating multiple fires once again. The previous fire was started by a tourist in 2005, which destroyed about 155 km² of the park. Knowing wild fires are part of a natural cycle and being aware that fire is important for growth in certain ecosystems, it does feel senseless when in this case, the fire is suspected to be caused by yet another careless tourist or by the local indigenous group, the Mapuche tribe, using fire to raise attention to their cause in reclaiming their ancestral lands.

The last of the flames are currently being extinguished and a reforestation plan is quickly being drawn up to prevent further ecological damage and in order to reverse as much damage to the forest as possible.