Conservation

Earth is not a Garden

Yesterday, I came across an article that touched upon technology efforts in the name of conservation: Algorithmic Wilderness: Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world?

It was not so much the idea to develop drones doing the work of bees that puzzled me. Or the idea to plant a billion trees a year using unmanned aerial vehicles – the goals may be noble, but the approach worries me. Saving the world with technology? Nonetheless, this was not the painful part of the essay. The following sentence was more concerning:

Wilderness no longer exists. Humans have … irrevocably altered the conditions of life for almost every species on the planet.”

That realization hurt.

It was obvious to me that national parks are just some small protected islands that give us a glimpse what nature can look like. Most parks are too small to maintain a healthy ecosystem without human interference, and the human impact cannot be denied. However, some sparsely populated places like Alaska, Siberia, and Mongolia I thought would still be largely untouched by human activity. Apparently not so. I can see how climate change is affecting regions globally and our continued and renewed expansion into formerly protected areas, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, certainly does not help the cause. It actually supports the notion of modern conservationist that tell us to give up the romantic idea of true wilderness, untouched by humans.

I must have lived under a rock. I had not heard of Green Modernists, or New Conservationists, Post-environmentalists or Eco-pragmatists until yesterday. These schools argue that we should embrace our planetary lordship and consider Earth as a giant garden. A garden, where we decide what grows, what gets harvested, and what gets eradicated. We are the gardeners calling the shots…

There is a flaw in this thinking: A garden is small enough in scale that we can control most parameters. We can even trick the weather, to a degree, using irrigation, green houses, artificial lights etc. When it comes to our planet however, that analogy fails. We cannot control nor trick the weather, and I am very doubtful that drones are suitable gardening tools to solve global problems. They also will not  change the tide of our current thinking that we can fix everything with smarter, better, and more efficient technology.

We simply need to become better stewards of the land. So much for today.

Find more details here:

Earth is not a garden

Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake.

 

 

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Life

Keep On Moving

blog

“Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance,
you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein


Another adventure comes to an end: Winter in Yellowstone.

Time to head for a new frontier…

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Conservation

Inspiration

We cannot overlook the importance of wild country as source of inspiration, to which we give expression in writing, in poetry, drawing and painting, in mountaineering, or in just being there.

Olaus Murie


Olaus Murie was the son of immigrants from Norway. He become a proponent of wilderness areas and a defender of the idea that predators are an essential component of functional ecosystems. He was a talented artist and analytical scientist, both with a strong passion. His efforts, together with those of his wife Mardy, lead ultimately to the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Their lives were shaped by a respect for nature, recognizing the importance of wilderness, and finding opportunities for responsible action.

Isn’t it ironical that our current president wants more immigrants from Norway while at the same time allowing the drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

The above picture was taken in the Kluane National Park. It shows the base of Mt. Kennedy rising above the Lowell Glacier and disappearing in the clouds.

 

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Nature

Mammoth Hot Springs – № 2

“You can always back up
and pick a new fork.”

Kary Mullis


What’s the connection between Kary Mullis and Yellowstone National Park, you ask?

Well, Thermus aquaticus, a thermophilic, chemotroph bacterium was discovered in Yellowstone National Park. A number of enzymes were identified in this organism that likes to grow in 70 °C warm water. Make that 70 °C hot water. One of the enzymes, Taq polymerase, was later used in a technique called PCR, which revolutionized molecular biology. PCR is the brainchild of Kary Mullis.

If you want to read more about Kary Mullis, beware! You might find some strange believes and come across extraterrestrials in the form of a green fluorescent raccoon.

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Into the Wild

Into the wild – № 2

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit
is his passion for adventure.”

Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)


Not all may subscribe to this statement. And adventure means different things to different people. To me an adventure begins with the unknown. Some level of uncertainty. If I step outside in the morning and go look for wildlife or visit a familiar location like this place at Round Prairie I never know what to expect. I have come back to this place many times because there is a magnificent mountain in the distance that gets illuminated by the setting sun in the right conditions. Well, it has happened only once so far. But even on a snowy day, I found snow covered bison, moose nibbling on willows or lovely snow mounds.

What’s your next adventure?

By the way, if you want to read a nice write-up about the adventures of Chris McCandless and his followers visit Eva Hollands essay “Chasing Alexander Supertramp“.

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One Man's Paradise

Into the Wild

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)


An amazing book and movie, in my opinion, although the life of Chris McCandless, a.k.a. Alexander Supertramp, has been commented to death.

I have visited this place called Round Prairie now many times during this winter and it shows in a different light every time. On this day I was hoping for sun, but I got snowed on instead. Moose and bison like to hang out in this corner of Yellowstone. Only a handful of trees have managed to grow in this meadow that is surrounded by sheer cliffs and towering mountain tops.

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Quote

Instead of Words

“If I could say it in words
there would be no reason to take photographs.”

inspired by Edward Hopper


Edward Hopper did paint American scenes of daily life. His most famous painting is Nighthawks, an oil on canvas painting that portrays people in a downtown diner late at night. The original can be viewed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

One of his paintings sold for $36 million in 2013, 46 years after his death.

[Art is business, which may not benefit the artist.]

 

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