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David R Munson
26-Apr-2001, 22:27
A few of the comments in the thread below regarding Mr Simmons' letter and Fatal i's actions at Delicate Arch, including Bruce Arnold's comment about starting a new thread on the subject, concern environmentalism. What I'm curious about is how different posters here feel about photography (and LF on a more specific lev el) and the role it does/has/will play in environmentalism. Judging by the shoo ting habits described by many of you, I gather that a fair number in this group are concerned with such things. So....what do you think?

Kevin J. Kolosky
27-Apr-2001, 00:11
David

I am sure that those with a more eloquent pen than I will provide the philosophic answers you seem to seek. I will simply state that photography is a form of communication. A very powerful form of communication. Able to supplement to the eyes what the ears hear by word. those that care about the environment will tell the tale that needs to be told about the environment with words, and to convince, they will back up their words with photographs. Those that DEEPLY care will use Large format. Kevin

Roger Rouch
28-Apr-2001, 00:33
I will offer for discussion, if not a stretch of statement, that photography in the mainstream, and particularly LF/present plays mostly a neutral role in environmentalism. As Kevin mentioned, photography is a strong form of communication. Central to the issue is where the finished product resides and to whom it communicates. As I would see it, LF photos largely end up in calendars, coffee table books, scenic magazines, and galleries. These are for a large part "feel good" venues. I would speculate that a primary viewer of LF photos has some comparability to a cubicle worker who slaves away to occasionally glance up at his scenic calendar or pretty screen saver and say "?.ahhh, it?s still there and some day I?ll be able to see it." It?s a reassurance of nature?s continuing beauty. I would believe that this is far more common than the viewer who says "?dang that?s nice. I?m going to do my best to keep it that way." Really is that it may be still there, but it?s going quickly and quite often a 360 view of what the photographer presents with his 90mm lens often offers a quite different sentiment. Can the LF photographer offer enough to counter-balance the tree, paper pulp, landfill continuum?

Of notable exceptions are photos that encourage participation in conservation efforts such as TNC, Sierra Club and the like. A huge round of applause should go to John Fielder, who not only takes great photos, but is politically active in conservation efforts. His last couple of books are comparisons of old and new showing what has and hasn?t changed in Colorado. This is a prime example of the has/does/will connection to a positive LF photographic effort. Environmentalism rest outside of the photo itself. Who, outside of the photo community, knows of Elliot Porter. What lasting effect has this wonderful photographer made on the environment. Perhaps some. (Or perhaps more than I?m aware of.)

It take (LF) photos because it allows me to see nature better. This, I hope, extends beyond photos into my personal actions. I hope others who see my photos have an impact that extends into their personal activities as well. But sometimes I wonder if the effect is "?gee that?s a pretty photo."

Erik Ryberg
28-Apr-2001, 01:15
I know someone who works for the U.S. Forest Service in McCall, Idaho. He is basically a PR guy whose job is to make illegal logging projects sound like a good idea ("but if we don't log them they will burn" is the argument du jour) and to create documentation to make the projects difficult to litigate. He knows damn well what he's doing -- participating actively in what is in many ways an irreversible destruction of some of the most beautiful native forests on earth. Anyway there's not much left of them where he lives. The salmon are all gone, many of the native birds are gone or nearly gone, the bull trout and other native trout are almost completely gone, non-native weeds are following the cows into the clearcuts (weeds are really hard to get rid of once they arrive), the large predators are gone, road density is three to four miles of road per square mile of forest (that's high - roads have lots of deleterious effects on water quality, fish habitat, and wildlife habitat) and anyway, you get the picture.

Above his desk is a gigantic, looming poster of Half Dome. You guessed it -- A.A.

David R Munson
28-Apr-2001, 13:52
Well, here's my take on it. I think Roger makes a very good point in relation to a lot of photography making people think "oh that's nice, good to see it's still there." Maybe the key issue is to make it clear to people that, while there are still beautiful and pristine places on Earth, those places are quicly becoming endangered and disappearing. The unfortunate thing about trying to do that, it seems, is that people doen't necessarily want to accept that if we don't start doing something and soon, the beautiful places we photograph will only exist in the photographs for their grandchildren. It's not a pleasant state of affairs, and I think a good portion of the general public would prefer to continue with the rose-colored glasses rather than accept the facts.

Fortunately, some photographers and organizations are making a conscious effort to change environmental policy. As pointed out, organizations like The Nature Conservancy (http://www.tnc.org) and The Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org) are doing some really valuable work. There needs to be more, though. I've always thought an organization of photographers devoted to conservation efforts would be a pretty useful sort of thing. A group of concerned photographers, willing to donate time, effort, and photographs to conservation efforts, if organized well, could do some good things, I think. What sort of interest do you think something like that would create within the photographic community?

josh_560
3-May-2001, 22:43
I would just like to say that kevin has a very elquent pen indeed!! and I think he should be the spokes person for this site.He made such a moving statement that i think we can all sympathize with. BRAVO! BRAVO!-J

David R Munson
3-May-2001, 22:57
Indeed!

M.
4-May-2001, 10:15
"Those that deeply care will use large format." Bullshit!

lostcoyote
17-Feb-2008, 12:26
i was looking through some of the very old topics here
(me being new here and curious what lies dormant in the archives)

and found this topic:

i do have a question, or perhaps some thoughts on this topic...

i know of one environmentalist (name witheld and no, it's not fatali - lol) who is proactive in alaska wildland conservation as well as global warming stuff with global warming and all going on.... and he gave a small talk at a sierra club event i went to a couple of years ago.

but then he also spoke highly of himself and all of his books he wants to sell and i could not help but think that there is an element of hypocrisy here.

books require energy and paper to manufacture and also contribute to toxic waste to an extent. and coffee table books are luxury items as well. we really don't need them to survive from day to day.... heck, even traditional darkroom and modern printmaking does this - when making a fine print, how much paper ends up going into the trash or recycle bin?

an individual person may think that they hardly put a dent into how they contribute to the wastedumps and recycle plants (which are not 100% clean) but when one integrates ones own consumption and garbage output over 6 billion people living on this planet today, well.... heck... what's this talk about preserving the planet and then doing just the opposite by consuming for personal pleasure and possibly monetary satisfaction anyways?

so here i am just rambling a little... tho i do think of this stuff... am i too a hypocrit.... concerned talking the talk about the state of this planet... but go on walking the walk consuming consuming consuming?

thougts welcome and no, i have no answers.

David A. Goldfarb
17-Feb-2008, 12:37
If a beautifully made book gets many people to think about the environment then this is of potentially greater environmental value than the harm done in creating the book.

Ansel Adams created a lot of waste paper, one could argue, producing ephemera like calendars and menus, books, and Zone System tests, but his contribution to the environmental movement both through his photography and otherwise was enormous.

lostcoyote
17-Feb-2008, 12:48
If a beautifully made book gets many people to think about the environment then this is of potentially greater environmental value than the harm done in creating the book.

Ansel Adams created a lot of waste paper, one could argue, producing ephemera like calendars and menus, books, and Zone System tests, but his contribution to the environmental movement both through his photography and otherwise was enormous.

i've wondered about this.

it is true that his (ansels) prints were instrumental in establishing kings and sequoia national parks back in the 30's

but i have backpacked within those parks and the adjacent national forest high country and there is not a whole lot of difference.... other than a difference of rules and jurisdiction - the landscape in both areas has the same quality about it.

i look back at his efforts then.. and take a look around now... and am not so sure that whatever he did has been undermined by our very own requirements to survive and thrive.

is the environment any better off now than it was 30 years ago?

creating tiny "islands" of protected land does not protect its contents against oceans of air whose temperatures climb at a very slow, yet perceptable rate, because the oceans waters are on the thermal rise.

seems like things are getting worse - and the human population keeps on climbing.

(just thinking out loud here)

walter23
17-Feb-2008, 12:55
Environmentalism is a bit of a misnomer - it's really more like anthropo-salvationism. If we don't get our shit together, nature will smack us down eventually.

I think the only solution is voluntary population reduction (through reduced breeding - a worldwide one child policy), but that's as unlikely as the rich giving up their luxuries and the poor deciding they'd rather starve to death than burn down the forest to grow banana and sugar cane.

Ed Richards
17-Feb-2008, 13:13
> is the environment any better off now than it was 30 years ago?

Wrong question. How much worse would it have been had we not taken action? As someone who dates back to the first Earth Day, we have made great progress in cleaning up the air and water in many places, but as far as preserving natural environment, it is a long term losing game: success is slowing the rate of loss, or perhaps even halting it in some places.

jetcode
17-Feb-2008, 13:56
to be honest, until humanity stops generating pollution the earth will continually be affected by our presence

lostcoyote
17-Feb-2008, 14:11
LC: "is the environment any better off now than it was 30 years ago?"

Wrong question. How much worse would it have been had we not taken action?

well, that's a good question. can anyone really answer that? let's consider the work of ansel adams, sinmce his name was brought up. if he had done nothing, how much different would it be today over 30 years ago.

another side of this is... of all the photographic work he did, how many more people did he influence who in turn, got into the act of taking up photography and thus, cutting down trees to make paper to print upon and fill the landfills with the test prints... and how much gasoline have all of us people who drive to farway places to go and get these shots of isolated landscapes burned in the process. millions of gallon's i'd say.

now you have to add up both sides of the coin to get a total picture of all of the cause and effects he generated from his own work having influenced both the environmental conservation camps as well as the fine art photopgraphy camps.

==

walter, i agree with you.... population seems to be the root problem. no solution comes to me other than mother earth taking care of business. and so we might as well just keep on keeping on and be happy with what we have here and now, while conserving what we can, right?

David A. Goldfarb
17-Feb-2008, 14:22
There are certainly many more people concerned about the environment as a result of the environmental movement than there are fine art photographers. Perhaps there are as many fine art photographers as there would have been anyway, but many more of them work out of concern for the environment than they otherwise would have.

Compare Adams to the photographers he was emulating. Carleton Watkins was working for industry, documenting development and westward expansion, though in the process he was also making beautiful images of unspoiled wilderness. Adams took some of that imagery and channeled it in a new direction.

Dick Hilker
17-Feb-2008, 14:28
As an environmentalist and photographer, I feel the biggest problem with photography's role is that, for the most part, we're "preaching to the choir." Who sees the inspiring photos in the environmentalist publications? Members who have already gotten on board the movement. Do the uncaring masses marvel at "Half Dome," connecting the dots about preserving such places? I doubt it.

I think the real challenge is finding more effective ways of bringing the real and present issues to those who have yet to understand their importance and motivating them to act. Unfortunately, so much energy has been wasted on bogus concerns that the genuiine articles are overshadowed.

LF photography's contribution is unique to the extent it can most effectively capture the beauty of our special places and, hopefully, capture the hearts of those whose support is critical to their preservation.

lostcoyote
17-Feb-2008, 14:56
1. As an environmentalist and photographer, I feel the biggest problem with photography's role is that, for the most part, we're "preaching to the choir." Who sees the inspiring photos in the environmentalist publications?


2. LF photography's contribution is unique to the extent it can most effectively capture the beauty of our special places and, hopefully, capture the hearts of those whose support is critical to their preservation.

well, when the masses see photographs of these places (like old faithful, halfdome, grand canyon) and decide to go there to see it themselves, just imagine how much fuel that burns... to travel across the country, the globe as a tourist or whatever.... so yosemite has a bussing system now.... but what of the rest of the infrastructure in getting to these popular places?

of course, nobody's going to go and sit in a cave either.

i think my main question here is more personal in nature and i do not have an answer for myself - how do I reconcile the fact that I have burned up far more resources in the name of getting personal satisfaction out of this hobby than i have been able to give back by using the same medium of communication?

i don't know if anyone else has thought along these lines... but i do know that there are lots of photographers out there that consume far more than can possibly return with respect to the health of the earth's ecosystems.

==

(i don't think there are any right or wrong answers here, or care whether anyone is right or wrong in what they have to say... i'm just thinking outloud so i hope you guys don't mind - this is an exploratory topic and i wanted to see how others think)

Brian Sims
17-Feb-2008, 15:39
10235

Here's a practical use of photography for the protection of the environment--to document damage (yes, I know...I have a light leak).

This is 3rd Beach on the Washington coast. Many of you know it. It's in the National Park. There is a big sign 2 miles back at the trail head: "no motorized vehicles." Last summer I hiked in to find two young men ripping up the beach on "quads." I found out from one of the beach campers that they arrived at midnight and promptly woke everyone up roaring up and down the beach....you know the tranquil beach away from the highway.

Most of the ORV crowd are law abiding folks. But there are a significant number who seem to take pleasure in destroying fragile landscapes--salmon spawning streambeds, meadows blooming with wildflowers, peaceful beaches. So far, we just slap them on the wrist IF they are caught. With enough photographic evidence of the damage they cause in we might convince the legislature to crack down.

Spread the word, document the damage, and email me the evidence. In a couple of years, we should be able to make the case (such and effort is already underway in Utah and the southwest with hundreds of photos).

Brian
simsfive@msn.com

lostcoyote
17-Feb-2008, 16:24
very good Brian :)

how can something like this stop graffitti?

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2206/1712852956_104a3672e5_m.jpg

these are the little cosmetic things...

but i'm wondering how photography can help reverse the toll we're inflicting upon the environment in terms of larger things at play such as global warming and ecosystem destruction when the very process of photography itself is acting as a contribution.

i mean, we are certainly not going to stop making fine prints which boost our own ego's and/or sense of personal growth, right?

Brian Sims
17-Feb-2008, 18:32
The big changes will be forced upon us sooner or later. Perhaps sooner, if we change the cultural attitudes that support waste, useless consumption, mechanical thrill-seeking, hording, gluttony, etc. And it may be the cosmetic or small things that change the culture.

I don't feel guilty about the imact my photography has in the ecosystem. I do feel guilty when I jump in the car to get a loaf of bread. Not just because it's wastefull, but because jumping on my bike instead is a win-win-win. Less CO2. Good for the heart. Good release of stress. I've started eatin local, grass-fed beef. More expensive, so I eat less. Taste better. And a lot less methane, which is 20 times worse than CO2.

I guess my point is there is a lot of room to reduce our destructive impact on the environment in ways that have multiple benefits, before we have to give up the few things of quality that we love.

Ed Richards
17-Feb-2008, 19:10
I do not remember his name, but a landscape photographer working in the Grand Canyon was the catalyst for the regulation of power plant emissions around the canyon.

As for the paper used in books and photography - I that a years worth is less than is used in newspapers in a single day. It is just not enough to worry about, compared to the other uses of paper.

paulr
17-Feb-2008, 19:32
A lot of people would call me an environmentalist, and a few might call me a photographer, but I've kept the two fairly separate.

My general feeling is that art and propaganda are uncomfortable bedfellows, and I've personally been more interested in using photography for art than for politics.

Obviously many people disagree. And admire people's efforts to change the world for the better no matter what form those efforts take.

Questions often come up concerning the possibility of photography making a difference in these things. Are environmentally concerned images just preaching to the choir? Are they just showing things that "everyone already knows?" Can you raise awairness/concern/activism by showing how beautiful the landscape is? Or how messed up it is?

People tend to answer these questions with their prejudices, because real answers are hard to find. I personally suspect that anything that raises awareness of issues, in a way that interests people (rather than preaching to them) probably does some good. Same goes for anything that can inspire affection for something we haven't yet wrecked.

People on the front lines of policy battles make the biggest difference, but they need the will of the people behind them. At least some of the people. And it's not easy getting people behind a cause. Every little bit helps.

Michael Wynd
17-Feb-2008, 23:41
Here in Australia, a Tasmanian photographer named Peter Dombrovskis was one of the campaigners against the Franklin River Dam. He used his 4x5 images to provide the Australian public with information about the proposed dam and what the area looked like. One of his images was published as a colour centrefold (well before such thing became accepted) by one of Australia's major newspapers as part of a nationwide campaign against the Tasmanian Government. Peter was an environmentalist and used hid images deliberately to get his ideas across to the public. The fact that they were so good was an added bonus.
Mike

domenico Foschi
18-Feb-2008, 00:07
10235

Here's a practical use of photography for the protection of the environment--to document damage (yes, I know...I have a light leak).

This is 3rd Beach on the Washington coast. Many of you know it. It's in the National Park. There is a big sign 2 miles back at the trail head: "no motorized vehicles." Last summer I hiked in to find two young men ripping up the beach on "quads." I found out from one of the beach campers that they arrived at midnight and promptly woke everyone up roaring up and down the beach....you know the tranquil beach away from the highway.

Most of the ORV crowd are law abiding folks. But there are a significant number who seem to take pleasure in destroying fragile landscapes--salmon spawning streambeds, meadows blooming with wildflowers, peaceful beaches. So far, we just slap them on the wrist IF they are caught. With enough photographic evidence of the damage they cause in we might convince the legislature to crack down.

Spread the word, document the damage, and email me the evidence. In a couple of years, we should be able to make the case (such and effort is already underway in Utah and the southwest with hundreds of photos).

Brian
simsfive@msn.com

Honestly, in my opinion, these kind of images are not going to be effective for 2 reasons.
1) a Photographer will try to render the scene of the damage almost always in a pleasing fashion: it is our nature.
If it is done merely as documentation without artistic effort then I agree.
2) I feel it's always better to focus on the positive.
ALthough I am not an avid fan of Adams, I recognize that he has been instrumental to to raising the awareness of the Beauty and delicate balance in Nature.
I think that what you Nature Photographers are doing is already the most helpful route.

Brian Sims
18-Feb-2008, 09:27
1) a Photographer will try to render the scene of the damage almost always in a pleasing fashion: it is our nature.
If it is done merely as documentation without artistic effort then I agree.
2) I feel it's always better to focus on the positive.


Consider this famous image by W. Eugene Smith

10277

Jim Ewins
18-Feb-2008, 09:56
The thoughts of lostcoyote appear to me as honest reasoning. In my mind, the Sierra Club & Nature Cons are political huctsters if not environmental terriorists. Too many photographers attempt to enhance their work with a gloss of PC environmentalism.

Dick Hilker
18-Feb-2008, 10:42
Playing "the Devil's advocate" for a minute, an old friend at MIT in Cambridge once held the proposition that it was man's role to effect the transfer of energy and that any efforts to stem the flow of energy through plants and eventually the petroleum products they produced through conservation were futile because, eventually, the sun would be extinguished and the earth would become another ball of ice. He felt that our evolution in technology from lighting campfires to setting off nuclear fission was as essential as our biological evolution and that conservation of energy was irrelevant from a macro perspective. Of course, that was about forty years ago before petroleum had become the currency of international leverage.

So, when we think about environmentalism and conservation of natural resources, maybe we should put the issues into a broader context and not agonize over whether we can rationalize our photography. I've never seen or photographed those beautiful places out West, but if I ever have the opportunity, I'll take it without a shred of guilt. The pragmatic concerns of environmentalists should be whether we have clean air, clean and adequate water, safe food and those things closer to home and our everyday lives. Preserving the vast open spaces is noble and desirable, but on a scale of importance to most people not near the top of their lists.

We've unfortunately been distracted from what's important by the shrill warnings of global disaster from cyclical warming trends and, until the hysteria subsides and Manhattan's streets remain above water, serious environmental concerns will remain in the shadows.

lostcoyote
18-Feb-2008, 11:44
dick,

beleive me, i have thought about that line of reasoning without even needing a degree from MIT... yes, of course, none of this is going to matter in the long term because the sun will eventually become a red giant and swallow up planet earth.... and we'll all return to "stardust" anyways

but i do think of short term - our kids and their kids have to live with whatever impact we have made up to this point in time.

i guess in the long run, it doesn't matter - but what of the near term?

i mean, all we really have anyways is what is here and now, present moment.... and our collective actions does have causal relation to near term future in which our own future generations are going to have to deal with.

i'm not saying that i am going to stop making pictures because i help add to the number of trees that get toppled.... but that does not stop me from giving this thought and labeling myself as i've stated, somewhat of a hypocrit.

Saulius
18-Feb-2008, 11:50
Whatís the phrase? Think globally act locally. Brian Simms gave a good example of how we all can do a bit of that in our daily lives as well as how to get involved with one issue right now using photography.

As was discussed there are different ways of approaching photographing the environment. In a positive way. Showing the beauty of nature. To show that all is not lost, there are still places needing protection. In a more negative way. Showing the negative impacts of human kindís activities on the environment. I donít think there is a wrong or write approach. I think one should incorporate both as they are all part of the whole.

Another approach is what one member of this forum who still drops in from time to time did. Chris Jordan. If unfamiliar with him go to his website: http://www.chrisjordan.com/

LostCoyote you seem genuinely concerned and looking for answers. You seem focused on how to make big changes to effect the big problems going on right now. I think the most important thing is not to try and figure it all out in advance, but instead delve right in and do something, get involved. One idea would be to look at your local community. Are there any local environmental groups/organizations that might benefit from a photographer contributing to their cause? Try and find one whose principals and goals you believe in and consider assisting them.

I also think David R Munson had a great idea:

I've always thought an organization of photographers devoted to conservation efforts would be a pretty useful sort of thing. A group of concerned photographers, willing to donate time, effort, and photographs to conservation efforts, if organized well, could do some good things, I think.
If any of you are seriously interested Iíd be interested in looking into developing this idea. Creating a group of photographers to assist the environment. Using photography as a catalyst to raise awareness on various issues, to promote the value of natural spaces and places. A diverse group of photographers banding together to show and share diverse images and approaches to a diverse issue. We could develop a website and or blog. We could offer fine art prints for sale with a percentage going to local organizations of each photographers choosing to help give back. Maybe create project ideas where we all can go out and photograph in our own areas but then bring at all together to create a body of work that focuses on a particular issue. This body of work could be shown together on the website and maybe we could look to have it shown at galleries or some other venues and publications. The differing styles, techniques and approaches of each photographer would help make the whole work stronger as a whole. I recently participated in a fundraising event for a cancer center on the east coast. I was amazed at how well it turned out for the first time event. Those who spearheaded the event no doubt put in a lot of legwork to make it happen and make it a success. That might be an annual event for the group, doing an auction of prints to raise money for a particular cause. I donít have any real experience in creating such a group but as I stated if any of you are seriously interested in such an idea feel free to contact me and we can see where it leads. As the old Chinese proverb says a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Saulius
18-Feb-2008, 11:57
The pragmatic concerns of environmentalists should be whether we have clean air, clean and adequate water, safe food and those things closer to home and our everyday lives. Preserving the vast open spaces is noble and desirable, but on a scale of importance to most people not near the top of their lists.

The way to make sure we all have clean air,water,food, basic life necessities is to be help the environment as a whole. Everything is interconnected. For example here in Oregon many communities get their drinking water from watersheds miles away. If that watershed is not protected, the forest and land around it not protected and allowed to go about it's natural course and processes the water will get polluted. Cut down the trees and too much silt will wind up in the water. Allow excessive agricultural use with pesticide use and the water will get polluted another way. People need to realize we all share this planet, the place we call home and everything is connected. Preservation of open spaces near or far from each of our homes does have an impact on all our lives.

Dick Hilker
18-Feb-2008, 12:50
Lostcoyote and Saulius,

I think we're on the same page here in realizing that what we do collectively can have an impact on our lives here and now. That's why my efforts have been concentrated on preserving open spaces and the water supply in my little part of the world. I'm sure there's an interconnectedness between the fate of the Mesopotamian Tree Toad and all of us, but I feel I can be most effective working within my own sphere of influence, rather than in all the corners of the world where I wouldn't get the same sense of being able to make a significant impact.

The biggest problem environmentalists face is getting the public to realize that they -- here and now -- have a real stake in what happens. I've found that enumerating the rare and endangered species that will suffer if the water table in our aquifer drops due to excessive withdrawals has nowhere near the impact of telling them that the time may be nigh when the wells run dry and they'll have no water. That's something they can reelate to and put in perspective. On a macro scale, that's what has to be done in honest, scientifically sound terms about all the big problems that face this planet. Politicizing and grandstanding only make things worse, because they foster cynicism and disbelief. When an inconvenient truth is unmasked, what are folks to believe? The tooth fairy? On PBS last night a children's chorus was singing a little ditty about "with my own two hands, I can change the world, etc." A sweet sentiment and perhaps a way of suggesting empowerment, but it echoes the vague chants of "Hope" and "Change" from the campaign trail -- form without substance.

I like the idea of a group of photographers whose concerted efforts might in some way motivate society to a higher level of awareness and substantive action that could make a real difference here and now. Let's talk about it some more!

Saulius
18-Feb-2008, 13:09
Dick,
Yes it seems we are on the same page afterall. Let's give this thread a little time and see if lostcoyote and anyone else is interesting in the formation of a photographer group.
If nobody else jumps in you and I can discuss this further by personal email.

Brian Sims
18-Feb-2008, 14:43
Count me in...

paulr
18-Feb-2008, 15:11
A bit of a tangent ... I've been reading Jarred Diamond's Collapse, and it gives the most interesting perspective on environmental issues I've ever seen. He examines why some societies have collapsed and others have succeeded, and breaks it down to a half dozen categories of reasons, including how each society chooses to confront environmental problems.

One lesson I've taken from the book is that over any long time period (say, 100 years or more) environmental and industrial and economic concerns tend to merge. The conflicts we see between environmental causes and economic ones tend to be based on very short-term perspectives.

I suspect that any environmentally inclined photographer who reads this book would find a lot of inspiration and new ideas.

Dick Hilker
18-Feb-2008, 15:31
Thanks, Paul - I'll look for it. It certainly makes sense that they would achieve a sort of dynamic balance over time.

lostcoyote
18-Feb-2008, 16:39
daniel quinn writes some interesting perspectives - he speaks in Ishmeal, about the "leavers" and the "takers"

anyway, i'm likely to let this topic rest and see what develops. i saw it yesterday as an old topic that didn't seem to address something we (takers) all contrinute to.

in decline, did the author address the connection between population and food supply? kind of like old school photographers... as long as there's a "food supply" of materials, people will use it. as a species, i don't think we're wired to "leave" it.

Brian Sims
18-Feb-2008, 20:26
I agree that Diamond's book is quite insightful. The main point I took from the book is that we have a choice between a sustainable path and one that leads to collapse. Protect the soil, manage the forest for the long haul (doesn't mean you can't cut trees down), respect the water system, don't foul our nest.

He also cites several societies that reversed a course towards collapse. Those stories gave me hope. One of the clear points is that mother nature is much more adaptive than the human economy. She will know how to deal with climate change...she's done it before, she'll do it again. The human economy is not so resilient....if the corn-belt moves into Canada and the Southwest dries up it will be our human societies that will suffer the most.

lostcoyote
19-Feb-2008, 10:08
the jewel is cast below the full moons shadow... and in her wisp a trace of tranquility begs to be forgotten... the shadow advances as the earth greets the developing sky... and the stars diminish in magnitude.
-lc

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2361/1809481734_1e096d2274.jpg

loose translation:
We see life before us as we enter from where we left and we think we have to go after it with a vengence. Set it "on fire' with ourself. Make our footprints in the shore and steer the ripples of our lake. As time passes the 'shadows' of our false perceptions and errant responses grow increasingly and we sadly lose vision of the jewel. Too late, we realize that it's our 'house', us, that is on 'fire' and the water to extinguish it is out of control in all our throwing in of rocks. We slide off the shore and sink into the depths gasping and remembering that jewel that was there all along hiding just behind the mountain peaks we felt the need to conquer, hoping for the smoke to clear so we can grasp one last look at what should have been and can no longer be.