North Star Confession

Last night I knowingly saw the North Star for the first time. Over forty years of camping and sailing, years of admiring the night sky from my sleeping bag in cold clear places above the timber line and dark anchorages away from light and air pollution, I always knew the star was out there somewhere. Finally looked it up on Google. Once you know where to look it isn't hard to find. So, last night when Jane and I took a walk to the beach under star light, I used my new-found knowledge to line up the two stars on the outer edge of the Big Dipper. Voila! There it was. Very dad-like to show your kid the North Star. Kinda like teaching her how to ride a bike, but much faster, easier and less painful.

Nantucket's "Slurpee Waves"

Snow's been on National Seashore beaches for over a month and may still be on the dunes at the start of spring. Meanwhile, Nantucket has been in the news with photos of "Slurpee Waves" by photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh. You can his stunning images HERE.

The video below gives another perspective:

Octopus vs Crab

Thanks to Brad Golstein for sharing this:

Walk to the Beach February 16, 2015

Sunday afternoon as the blizzard blew by, my daughters and I stood at the edge of the newly created 6' cliff at Pochet, trying to keep from being blown off of it in the 50mph+ gusts. The sea was heaving like a herd of running buffalo and waves were breaking 1 mile offshore. It was awesome in the full 19th century sense of the word.

President's day was calmer and warmer. We walked down the road to the Pochet washover. The destruction of the dunes had left blocks of peat and ice scattered across the beach:

The Worst Kind of Writing to Help the Environment

Who the H E Double Hockey Sticks Was Heraclitus?

When I take those online tests on which party fits me best in an upcoming election I end up left of the Democrats and somewhere in the middle of the Green Party. It surprises me because I'm fairly conservative relative to my friends. But then again, I grew up in West Los Angeles, went to school at UC Berkeley, became an adult in Manhattan and now live in the bluest of blue states.

Surrounded by tofu and Volvos, I nonetheless developed an antipathy toward certain types of liberals and a sort of kinship with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and dare I say it, even Sarah Palin. It is this: I hate weepy, cry in your green tea, hectoring of woe are us, the world is ending, we must save the planet. There's a voice on NPR's Living on Earth that embodies that feeling and makes me sick to my stomach; even when I want to hear what the guy's talking about I feel so nauseated by his syrupy overly sincere tones of concern that I turn off the radio.

This morning I read an Op-Ed in the NYTimes that gave me that same feeling of indigestion. It's a short piece by Ariel Dorfman titled "Heraclitus Hikes the Andes" with the subtitle, "Global Warming Changes Everything."

It was immediately annoying to have to google "Heraclitus". "Hikes the Andes" got my back up too. What? We don't have good hikes in America? Dorfman goes on to write about revisiting a beautiful place he'd been to forty years before, a magnificent spot that's being ruined by a combination of global warming and development. His observations, like those of many other writers in this time, foreshadow looming environmental catastrophe. The intent is to awaken people to take action before it's too late. The intent is good. But his method fails because only the choir will listen to his preaching. Those who need to hear his message, the true fans of Limbaugh, Palin et al., don't read the New York Times and would never get past the title of his piece if they did.

If environmentalists want action against destructive development in general and Global Warming in particular, they need to engage people outside of liberal enclaves. They need stories and anecdotes that connect with hunters in Wyoming and farmers in Nebraska. They need more blogs like Andrew Revkin's Dot Earth and more books like Elizabeth Kolbert's, The Sixth Extinction. Revkin and Kolbert won't be read by many GW deniers, but those who do will find unemotional and engaging discussion of environmental problems that most everyone agrees need solving.

Yo, environmentalists! Stop whining, crying and lecturing and start connecting.

So anyway, who was Heraclitus of Ephesus? He was a Greek guy who wrote that we can never step in the same river twice (nice!) and was known as the, "...Weeping Philosopher", because he apparently would sob uncontrollably as he meditated on the state of the world. The italics are Dorfman's words.
I rest my case.

- Mike Marks