Legion of Raccoons

Procyon lotorLate afternoon in Green-Wood, a crusty old bandit walking like a old cat. Procyon lotorElsewhere: one of two young and a mother who were just crossing the street then they saw us. They climbed back up the tree they’d come down.Procyon lotorThe youngsters seemed very curious.Procyon lotor

The Real War

IMG_9542The great Bill McKibben is urging us to declare war on climate change, mobilizing like Americans did in the Second World War against the enemy. But is his enemy the right one?

We know how stunningly disruptive climate change is, and how much faster it is all happening, and how quickly the bad news piles up. But the definition of “enemy” needs to be more specific — for it is hard to fight a symptom (cf. “war against terror”).

Don’t we know the real enemy? Isn’t it the carbon industry, and beyond that an entire economic system that calls devouring the planet “growth” and pours its waste production into the commons (and commonwealth) as a cost the rest of us pay?

You may not know this, but McKibben, who is a personal hero of mine, has been on the climate front for a long time. The End of Nature warned about climate change two decades ago. But good deeds do not go unpunished. He has been declared a public enemy of those who profit off of carbon — the oil, gas, and related industries — and their wholly-owned representatives in the Republican Party. Hacks shadow McKibben, filming his activities, trying, it seems, to show he’s a hypocrite for living in this world, too. Similarly, climate scientists are constantly harassed by tools and fools, paid or not (and more than a few are just nihilistic antis) of the Koch brothers and others who have placed their fortunes and their twisted politics in the service of denying physics and chemistry.

For instance, we now know that Exxon has been well aware of the dangers of continued carbon pumping into the atmosphere for many years. Like the cigarette companies, they have spent decades lying, bullying their critics, and buying politicians, all in the service of profit-making misery and death.

The fight is political. The profiteers are well aware of this. True, some of the human beings at the helm of corporations are loathsome examples of humanity — the excremental monstrosity that wealth sometimes results in is too well personified, daily, by Donald Trump — but it is really the system that is the cause.

(Next Sunday’s sermon will return to this theme.)

IMG_9489

Maryland Monument Dasher

wreathTwo hundred and forty years ago today, the British and their Hessian swine-mercenaries walloped the still-loose conglomeration that was the Continental Army in Brooklyn. There’s a memorial in Prospect Park to the Maryland 400, troops who held the Old Stone House (the existing structure in J. J. Byrne Park is a recreation) down in the Gowanus while the rest of Washington’s soldiers made a pell-mell strategic retreat to Brooklyn Heights, and thence across the river. Geo. is supposed to have said “what brave fellows I must this day lose” about the sacrificial Marylanders.

Yet the British unaccountably did not press their advantage in Brooklyn. They occupied New York, but lost their opportunity of crushing the new American army right here. Big mistake. This, by the way, is also why we don’t have a national health system today.

Someone has laid a fresh wreath on the memorial in honor of the 400.

A pair of Blue Dasher dragonflies, concerned with their own history, were using the fence to tee up. This is the female.

Megachile on Asclepias

MegachileLeaf-cutter bee on Butterfly Weed.

You can’t tell this when they’re in the air, or, frankly, very easily when they’re still, but bees have four wings (flies have two). In this photo, however, you can just see the smaller hindwing underneath the forewing on the right side here.

Red-Tailed Hawk Stalking

Buteo jamaicensisA young Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) patrolling the 5th Avenue entrance of Green-Wood. I would hazard to guess that it is wondering where that Eastern Grey Squirrel went.Buteo jamaicensis

Blue Dasher, White Tail

Pachydiplax longipennisYou have to get pretty close to see the white face on one of NYC’s most common dragonflies, the Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis). This is a male; as he gets older, his blue abdomen will get more powdery or chalkier looking. Such pruinescence, as it’s called, is caused by wax exuded from the animals’ cuticle. It’s seen on (mostly) males of many species of odonates, including spectacularly the Common Whitetail:Plathemis lydiaPlathemis lydia.

Snapper

Chelydra serpentinaSnapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), the smaller of two seen in the water of the native garden at NYBG this weekend.

Note the spotless shell. Compare with another NYBG snap seen two years ago in the Discovery Center pond. Much more growth on the shell of that younger specimen. The huge beastie I’ve seen in Prospect Park’s watercourse a few times over the years has also evinced a spotless shell, which I attribute to chorine in the water (yes, it’s tap water). Here’s a little one in the Prospect Pools. Here’s a tiny one I found crossing the road a few years ago in Massachusetts.
Chelydra serpentinaShell length here 6-7″ long. Love the dinosaur thorns on the tail.


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  • "He who has provoked the lash of wit, cannot complain that he smarts from it." ~ Boswell. Back to the Life. 355/1200, 1769; AETAT 60. 5 hours ago
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