Thursday, June 10, 2010

"I cannot help but want to solder all the parts..."

"...solder back together all the shattered hearts." -Laura Veirs

Last summer I got to visit Florida and swim in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a major highlight of my life. It's a memory that will stick with me forever. The white sand beaches, the clear blue water, and the beautiful blue sky that seemed endless. It was some kind of paradise. I wanted to stay there forever - set up camp and never leave.

Now that the oil from BP's ruptured pipeline has reached the Florida coast, I feel a great sense of loss. The whole thing is an enormous catastrophe, but it's a little more personal now that I feel somewhat connected to the place. It will be decades, perhaps centuries, before things return to normal. Or maybe they never will. It is all so heartbreaking and wrong.

Today I was at a bird sanctuary on the banks of the Mississippi River. It's called the Riverlands Bird Sanctuary, and it's right across the river from Alton, IL. I learned that they were working with Least Teals. Their population along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers is endangered, but Riverlands has been having success lately in getting them to nest and lay eggs on a small, makeshift, floating island. We saw between 20 and 30 of them flying around, and the biologist there said that there were at least 8 nests full of eggs on the island. However, these birds spend part of their life cycle on the gulf coast. Will efforts to improve their population numbers be thwarted by this devastating oil spill? It's quite likely.

The Least Tern is only one of many animal and plant species that will be adversely affected by this catastrophe. Along with that, there are all the negative effects on humans, both economical and cultural. Certainly I don't need to be the one to tell you that this is a devastating situation. I also don't necessarily have any answers, I would just be remiss if I didn't express my remorse.

To learn more about this and other issues, visit or some other reputable site or source. If nothing else, be informed.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"blood thins at this war within"

The Juniper 13
Originally uploaded by juniperbug
Out Now! The Juniper #13! Free in person or stamp by mail! Or trade!

This issue features info on green roofs, storing vegetable seeds, the health benefits of dandelions, as well as a short essay about sharing. Also included are some letters to the editor and food quotes by Michael Pollan. If any of this sounds like your cup of tea, inquire at:

Dan Murphy
PO Box 363
Edwardsville IL 62025

By the way, have you seen The 11th Hour? Not the TV show, but the documentary about planet earth's environmental crisis. I was hesitant to check it out because it's produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. I've got nothing personal against the guy; I just questioned his credibility and motive. However, most of the dialogue in the film is by environmental experts and frontline activists and the result is a very inspirational, educational, and foward-thinking viewing experience. It's a deep dive into ecology, biology, environmental science, sustainability, psychology, and philosophy as they relate to the impact that humans have had on the planet over the centuries and what the future might look like depending on the choices we make from here on out. I highly recommend it. It's quite dense, so watch it a few times or take it slowly.

That's all.