Birth of a Painting Series VII, “Douglas Creek”.


“Douglas Creek”, acrylic on canvas, 3′ x 4′, 2010


Douglas Creek is one of many small creeks that come directly from the high-country snowmelt and natural springs. It is our drinking water for our cabin in Stanislaus National Forest, located at 6,700 ft. where the water is delivered by gravity flow. After passing by our cabin it enters the South Fork of the Stanislaus River, which begins at (9,635 ft. (2,937 m) Leavitt Peak, in Tuolumne County and eventually enters the San Joaquin River, and drains into the San Francisco Bay.

This little mountain stream and river have sustained life well beyond our time. There are parts of wagons used by the settlers trying to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are obsidian points from the Miwok Native American tribe and grinding stones. The tiny stream banks are lined with willow, horsetail herb, mints, orchids, and many other wildflowers.

As a child I wandered where ever I wished, with the caveat that, if lost, head downhill. I have slept outdoors with bear and mountain lions as possible visitors. Deer have taken a nap beside me. Chipmunks and Golden Mantle squirrels have sat in my hands. I trust the four- legged critters but keep a wary eye on the two legged.

Climate Change is changing our landscape quickly. We had to saw down six large beautiful Ponderosa trees this year alone. They are dying at a rapid rate, from bark beetles (love the heat), and a fungus, which spreads from fir tree roots. This was all predicted by a U.C. Berkeley scientist that wrote about how pollution affects the photosynthesis process, especially in the Ponderosa Pines. I watched a fire burn this summer across the river, tree torches burning brightly in the night.

Thank you for reading,

Denise Hartley




Join Senator Elizabeth Warren, standing up to bigotry.

2012 Massachusetts Democratic Endorsing ConventionAnd that marks Democrats’ first job in this new era: We will stand up to bigotry. There is no compromise here. In all its forms, we will fight back against attacks on Latinos, African Americans, women, Muslims, immigrants, disabled Americans — on anyone. Whether Donald Trump sits in a glass tower or sits in the White House, we will not give an inch on this, not now, not ever.

BBC Program on Fracking, featuring Professor Iain Stewart.

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment:


Professor Iain Stewart


Letter written to Professor Stewart by Lack of Environment, author Martin Lack:

Herewith appended below is an email I sent today to Professor Iain Stewart (and copied to all those named in it).

Dear Professor Stewart,

I wanted to express my appreciation for the sensitive way in which you handled the issues in last night’s Horizon programme and for all the facts, figures and research findings it contained.  I was particularly interested in the evidence that shale gas has escaped from poorly-constructed wells in the USA.  Even if the UK can improve on the 6 to 7% failure rate in the USA, 100% success (i.e. no failures) is highly improbable.  Therefore, if fracking must be pursued (for whatever reason), this would make it imperative that the BGS establish baseline monitoring for methane as soon as possible. Would it be possible to get a copy of the transcript of the programme (or a list of References)?

Given my geological background and my MA in Environmental Politics, I have written a great deal about Fracking and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) on my blog.  However, having started out very much opposed to both Fracking and CCS, my position has evolved as a consequence of ‘exchanges of views’ I had last year with Professor Peter Styles (Keele) and with Professor Robert Mair (Cambridge/Royal Society).  As a result of these exchanges – summarised or linked to here on my blog – I would agree with Peter that we probably need shale gas.  However, I believe Peter also agrees with me that we probably cannot afford it*.  I also understand that the remit of the Royal Society specifically excluded the long-term sustainability implications of pursuing fracking.

Nevertheless, this leaves me wondering whether you could encourage the BBC to do a second programme to address the consequences of humans burning all the Earth’s fossil fuels simply because they are there; and/or the need for ‘Western’ per capita energy consumption to be drastically reduced?  Having read David MacKay’s book, Sustainable Energy: Without The Hot Air, I think our biggest problem is that most people do not think holistically about the problems we face or, even worse, they seem to think concepts such as ‘ecological carrying capacity’ are just eco-Marxist propaganda.  However, although it would seem that CCS is now going to be essential in order to minimise anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), I think it is also the biggest obstacle to getting politicians to take decisive action to decarbonise our power generation systems.

Even if such a second Horizon programme is not likely, I remain very appreciative of all you have done – and are doing – to raise the profile of ACD as an Earth Science issue that should be of concern to all.

Kind regards, [etc]

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment:

* If fracking becomes the new energy boom, it is very hard to see how CCS will ever be able to be rolled-out on a global scale to keep pace with unabated CO2 emissions.

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Challenges New Shell Tar Sands Mines .