global climate change · winter

ice and skyRecently the Berkshire Environmental Action Team had an environmental expo at the Stationary Factory in Dalton. What I saw of it was wonderful. (I’ve been sick and didn’t want to share so I didn’t stick around as much as I would have liked.) But later in the evening I pulled up a chair in the back of the room and watched the movie “Ice and Sky” about a famous French scientist, Luc Jacquet, and his team and how they spend 6 decades proving humans are causing rapid global climate change. The movie was mostly edited clips of the scientific expositions and current cinematography. It was breath taking. Yet, two books kept popping into my head the entire time. I think because I knew the end and it had to do with being doomed.

The first book was Mountains of Madness H.P. Lovecraft. The second was A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.

Parts of the movie showed the scientists moving through narrow tunnels and there were vast pans of the white mountains and crevices. All bringing back flashbacks of the descriptions in Mountains of Madness. And the voices. I could hear the not-really-voices from Lovecraft’s novella, if that makes sense. Its been a while since I’ve read this, and I’m not sure I want to revisit it. It was scary stuff.

The second book, A Brief History of the Dead, I  read over 4 years ago, but it stuck with me. As with any good science fiction story, this book is about what may happen in the near future, where conspiracy theory meets science and things go bad. It makes the reader think maybe we should change what we are doing now or the things happening in this book might come true. Its actually two stories in one book–they are connected–but only to the reader. One story line takes us to a place we know: A world where the polar ice caps are melting and biological terrorism is a major issue in the world. A big corporation of course steps in to the rescue listening only in part to the scientists, making things worse. The main character in this part of the story is a woman in Antarctica looking for clean water. The description of her exploration and fight for survival is what brought the book to mind while watching the movie. There was doom, gloom hanging on the precipice of death set in majestic beauty.

The second part of the book is about The City where the dead are found, but mysteriously vanish. No more about this because it would be a spoiler.

So there it is-our planet is a beautiful place. Humans are incredible beings, but we are destroying life on the planet as we know it. It is time we stand up for the planet-if not for ourselves, for our children and our children’s children.

For more information on the human impact on global climate change and what you can do about it: You can start here: http://iceandsky.com/education

backyard animals · Nature Academy of the Berkshires · winter

Cache

squirrel-holeWe have had a good amount of snow fall over the past two weeks. Its pretty. Its white, and its great for animal tracking. But that first heavy snow, when it was windy and cold and nobody wanted to be outside. The squirrels braved it. And in my yard they braved it for peanuts. I found several of these holes in the snow at the base of trees. The squirrels didn’t want to spend any more time in the cold than they had to, so it was jump, dig, grab and back up the tree. The peanut shells were then tossed on top of the snow. I think the squirrels are going to be my favorite winter animals to watch this year.

backyard bugs · insects · Nature Academy of the Berkshires · winter

Put on Your Winter Coat

It was late November, during the wet snow storm when I spied this moth on the trunk of a tree by the lake. Luckily it was wearing a winter coat. It is a noctuid moth, I believe, belonging in the family “Papaipema” that is only found in North America.

After doing a little research it appears that this is a cold weather moth, not usually snow on the ground cold like it was on this day, but late fall cold. The caterpillar is rarely seen because it bores into roots, rhizomes, and stems of herbaceous plants and stays there all summer. The moth appears late in the season when we are not expecting to see many moths or insects. These hardy leps, then lay their eggs in the fall with the caterpillars hatching in the spring, boring into their food plant and starting the cycle all over again.

We get an added treat in this picture to see the lichen on the tree photosynthesizing in the vapors of the damp snow.