Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Women's Vote and the Environment

Today is an important anniversary for American women and the environment–August 26th, 1920 women won the right to vote in the United States.

In those 94 years, women have been a powerful voice for the environment. Some have supported Clean Air and Clean Water legislation for the health and welfare of families and children. Others have supported the same measures to protect the plants and animals with which we share the planet. (Endangered Species Act) (Rachel Carson)

Whatever the motivation, the result is the same: a healthier landscape for living things.

Over the past few weeks I've been traveling and I've seen places that were inspirational and locations that are under siege due to human greed. This day reminds me that I have a voice to express my thoughts and concerns.

Women across our country, with different political ideals, came together to give generations of daughters a political voice. Some of these women gave their lives for a right many of us too often take for granted. If every eligible woman voted in the coming elections, we could change the course of the country.

The first year they had the vote, Democrat and Republican women pressured elected officials to pass the first federal program to assist women and infants–The Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act. At that time more children were dying in infancy annually across the United States than the toll of American soldiers killed in World War 1. This single act saved the lives of many of our grandparents and great grandparents.

A healthy planet with biodiversity benefits everyone. Toxins and climate change have no respect for borders or political ideals.

Vote, it is a sacred right won for us by our grandmothers who did not have a voice. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Touching Climate Change

Do you question climate change?

In my lifetime I have watched glaciers in Alaska retreat by miles. Check out the video we shot of Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

I've seen dramatic changes in the breeding of Allen's hummingbirds in my California yard and changes in the migration patterns of native birds that visit. Many of the animals are responding to impacts on native vegetation.

Rainfall in California has declined creating our current drought, but the truth is we haven't had a wet season since 2005. Flood years mixed with low rainfall years are normal for us, but the flood years are disappearing.

Small changes can sneak up on you as you ease into them. But if you are documenting daily events in the natural world, either in data, journal, or photos, the dramatic accumulation of change is undeniable. 

I remember when the Mendenhall Glacier covered most of the rocky outcroppings that are now completely exposed. I remember a 300 foot thickness of ice that nearly hid the top of the waterfall that is now completely free to tumble down a barren rock slope. Watch the video and see the beach beside the churning waterfall. I sat on that beach and cried, because when I was a child that beach was completely covered by a wall of glacial ice.