Ready for a Red Rocks Hike Tomorrow

It seems like forever since I have been out in Nature.

Winter is such a cruel season for my spirits.

Usually it isn’t so harsh and has more sunshine than this one. Yet we could be experiencing what the Southern and Eastern states are enduring without being prepared for icy weather. The power outages and the icy roads they are dealing with is beyond anything they are even slightly prepared to handle.

I have friends in Asheville, North Carolina who shared a snowy photo. Mother Nature is making some statement about her wrath at her creatures, water and flora are being harmed by the many chemicals we are dumping in the water, air and earth. Climate Change is real. It is a global crisis that needs better leadership from those in places of authority. Yet large corporations continue to put profits in front of environmental stewardship.

Today I heard an interview with Elizabeth Kolbert. The subject was “In the World’s ‘Sixth Extinction’ Are Humans the Asteroid?”

She started by stating, “The dinosaurs were killed during the Fifth Extinction — which scientists suspect was caused by an asteroid. Now, we are living through an epoch that many scientists describe as the Sixth Extinction and this time, human activity is the culprit. As one scientist put it: We’re the asteroid.”

She spoke of frogs disappearing all over the planet. And how CO2 dissolved in water forms an acid called carbonic acid, which lowers the pH of water. “[It’s] global warming’s equally evil twin … and from the perspective of the broad expansive life, there have been a few moments in time where the oceans have become acidified, not necessarily acidic but acidified … and they are associated with some of the major crises in the history of life.”

I found her talk both fascinating and frightening.

Water is not a renewable resource! What we pollute cannot be replaced. How long before all the clean water is gone?

Sparking Water at Waldo Lake in Orgon

Ironically, I am reading Al Gore’s “Earth In The Balance”, a book I somehow missed reading when it first came out.

Al Gore On Environment: Americans generate too much waste: The American people have become embroiled in debates about the relative merits of various waste disposal schemes. Now, we must confront a strategic threat to our capacity to dispose of – or even recycle – the enormous quantities of waste being produced. there is only one way out: we have to change our production processes and dramatically reduce the amount of waste we create in the first place and ensure that we consider just how we intend to recycle or isolate that which unavoidably remains. Source: Earth in the Balance, page 145-146 Jul 2, 1993

Five years ago, I made a conscious effort to make the Commonwheel Art Festival more sustainable. Luckily, I quickly found community members who wanted to do help make this happen. Transition Town Manitou Springs now heads up this effort and it 2013 the Art Festival was 75% waste-free.

Some days when I am out in nature and I see what looks like soap suds in the creek water, I wonder what has caused that oddity.

The more I read about “fracking” and the chemicals we are putting into the earth to gain a bit of oil. How much water are we irreversibly poisoning to keep using fossil fuels.

“In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to fracture 35,000 wells in the United States each year. This is approximately the annual water consumption of 40 to 80 cities each with a population of 50,000. Fracture treatments in coalbed methane wells use from 50,000 to 350,000 gallons of water per well, while deeper horizontal shale wells can use anywhere from 2 to 10 million gallons of water to fracture a single well. The extraction of so much water for fracking has raised concerns about the ecological impacts to aquatic resources, as well as dewatering of drinking water aquifers. It has been estimated that the transportation of a million gallons of water (fresh or waste water) requires 200 truck trips. Thus, not only does water used for hydraulic fracturing deplete fresh water supplies and impact aquatic habitat, the transportation of so much water also creates localized air quality, safety and road repair issues.” Quote from

There are better ways to get energy that are less harmful to our environment. And although wind power has some drawbacks, it is a better choice overall.

Just imagine if we infused the amount of money for research into solar and wind power we give as tax benefits to large oil companies, how much progress could be made towards finding clearer ways to heat our homes and fuel our cars.

Wind Farm seen near Stonehenge in Oregon

Very grateful that I get to go hiking tomorrow so I can enjoy being in Nature while it is still in a pristine state in my area.

And even more thankful for the people that put the time, energy and funds together to protect Red Rocks Canyon when it was threatened by a developer wanting to build very private homes there.

(These two photographs are from a visit with my brother traveling to some of his favorite places in Oregon in 2013.)

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