Inside Out

Earth Day

"The Blue Marble" photograph of Earth, taken by the Apollo 17 mission. The Arabian peninsula, Africa and Madagascar lie in the upper half of the disc, whereas Antarctica is at the bottom.

Image Credit: NASA

The Blue Marble” as taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula.


In celebration of Earth Day, I watched “The Martian”, as it portrays the ingenuity, curiosity, passion and compassion of mankind. It also begs the question, why do we look for other places to live in the universe? Shouldn’t we rather take good care of this one good planet we are on?

Today was also the March for Science, very appropriate at a time, when science is questioned or worse ignored by a growing portion of politicians and the general public. This is puzzling to me. Scientists spend years of their lives in search of new frontiers, often times at the expense of personal and financial gains. Why on Earth, would the general lay person dare to contradict scientific findings? Science is so complex these days that we should at least acknowledge scientific findings. The ethical, political, and financial concerns are a whole different story, but they should not confuse the scientific data.

When we are sick, we go see the doctor (most of us). We always can choose to do or not do what the doctor ordered. That’s different from saying the doc is a hack.

Science is not a hoax.

Happy Earth Day.


“I have to science the sh-t out of this.”

Mark Watney, Space Pirate

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Inside Out

Island Living

Although I am not living on an island, it sometimes feels like it.

Unless I make the three mile trek to town I hear no human voices. The only footprints around the house are from feathered or furry friends. I don’t mind the isolation, or should I call it insulation? Insulation protects from outside perils.

Without the moon nights have been pitch black. It is a joy to see the sun rise in the morning. Some days there is fog drifting down from the mountains, slowly burning off, giving way to a breath-taking scenery. Those moments make up for the long, dark nights and gray, rainy days.


“The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon,
focusing the mind on one place, one time, one rhythm

– the turning of the light.

The island knows no other human voices, no other footprints.”

M. L. Stedman


I have not read Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans”, which is apparently a novel about a couple living in a remote lighthouse.

”There is something that appeals to the human psyche about lighthouses because of their isolation. Their presence offers up a marvelous set of dichotomies the human imagination likes to explore – darkness and light, safety and danger, stasis and movement, isolation and communication”, she says.

I have read Bob Kull’s “Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes”, which is a diary about living alone for one year on a remote island off the Patagonian coast. He took his doctoral dissertation very seriously. At age 55, he  traveled to Chile with enough supplies to study the effects of deep wilderness solitude on a human being, himself.


“We experience the earth as a stranger we know we should protect for pragmatic or ethical reasons, but until we individually transform our consciousness and come to experience non-human beings as family and the earth as our home, we are unlikely to relax our demands for comfort and security and make the changes necessary for our survival, joy, and sense of belonging.

Bob Kull


His dissertation is available online. It’s an easy and interesting read. You can also learn how much stuff you need to bring to survive for one year on an uninhabited island off Patagonia.

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So what was up with 2016? Was it a good year, a so-s0 year, or one to forget?

They say don’t dwell on the past, it’s history, nothing we can do about it.

Thinking about what happened in the big wide world in the past year my head explodes. I cannot comprehend how humans can provoke and tolerate so much misery.

My way to cope with this is to immerse myself in places far away. Remote, not pristine, but close. Threatened and affected, nevertheless.

Let’s walk gently. This beautiful blue planet is the only one we have.

Conservation, Inside Out

Good bye 2016

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The year that left us without David Bowie, Leonhard Cohen, and Prince.

The year Donald Trump was named “Person of the Year” by the New York Times.

Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature, but was too busy to attend the award ceremony.

Millions of fugitives starving, displaced, drowned, or killed.

The Dow at an all-time high.

Could the contrasts be more stark?

Living in remote Alaska makes it easy to feel sheltered from the tribulations of the rest of the world. Nevertheless oil prices, climate change, and the state budget impact our daily lives. In the end it feels as it all comes down to money… No escape.

So here is my crop of 2016. A dozen black and white images that each represent a  memorable moment in my sheltered life in the year of division and contrast.

Inside Out

2016 – The Year of Division and Contrast

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Inside Out

Drifting

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Drifting Snow, Alaska

“Hidden in the glorious wildness
like unmined gold.”

John Muir


Is it time for another John Muir, or an Edward Abbey and a president with an open ear for the environment and its conservation?

I think so. All this talk about jobs, growth, and profits is so wrong. Maybe it will support this generation and a few more to come, but we cannot keep growing forever. That’s just not possible on a planet with limited resources. What do we do? Do we care?

That is maybe the key question we should ask ourselves. Do we really care about future generations and this planet? Or do we only care about us? Our family, our genes?

I am wondering what Darwin would say about our current state of affairs. Maybe our species is currently the fittest in this world that we have changed. Maybe not.

What do you think?

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Inside Out, Quote

Roots

“True morality consists not
in following the beaten track,
but in finding the true path for ourselves,
and fearlessly following it.”

Mahatma Gandhi


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Dyea, Alaska

One benefit of age is that you can look back, not to regret, just to reminisce. There were obstacles, detours, and dead ends. Did it matter? Not really. Life went on.

I hope that our future leaders choose paths of morality and ethics, not short term gains and fame.

 

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Inside Out

Waterfall ~ № 3

“The work of the eyes is done.

Go now and do the heart work on the images imprisoned within you.”

Rainer Maria Rilke


Excerpt from “Wendungen”.

Turning points.

Does it mean, once you have seen things from the outside it is time to look inside? You scare me René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke.


I am sticking with this week’s theme: Waterfalls. Today it’s an alder branch reaching into a gushing creek along the Chilkoot trail.

I like to explore the possibilities to see the world through the lens. Not aiming for an exact representation of what I see, but what the camera captures.

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