Aaaand we're back. Hope your holidays were lovely and filled with your favorite people.
I'm beginning this new year, and maybe many are, wondering about what my role will be in 2017. About what impact, if any, I will make. What impact do any of us make?
Collectively, it's a big one, and not always the best. Benjamin Grant's book of satellite photos depicting human impact on the earth is gutting, and reminded me that it's been ten years since Alan Weisman's The World Without Us (spoiler: it's better off).
But. That doesn't mean we throw up our hands and do nothing. My heart was warmed by the story of a man in San Fransisco who single-handedly brought about the resurgence of a local butterfly species.
Scroll on the for the full stories.
"Every image represents a number of satellite photographs that Grant stitched together, all sourced from DigitalGlobe’s library, which contains 15 years of high-quality pictures captured from space...The series’ title itself derives from a term coined by writer Frank White, “The Overview Effect” — the change of personal perceptions of the Earth that many astronauts experience after seeing the world, in all its dizzying glory, from afar. For Grant, compiling and sharing select, birds-eye-view patches of the Earth — ones that speak of humans’ imprints on our collective home — is an attempt to have us see the planet differently and, like spacemen, be moved by these visions."
"'Any idea what these are?' Thompson is guiding a visitor along the shore of the Plym River estuary, near where it joins the sea...Amid twigs and seaweed fibers in his fistful of sand are a couple of dozen blue and green plastic cylinders about two millimeters high.
'They’re called nurdles. They’re the raw materials of plastic production. They melt these down to make all kinds of things.” He walks a little farther, then scoops up another handful. It contains more of the same plastic bits: pale blue ones, greens, reds, and tans. Each handful, he calculates, is about 20 percent plastic, and each holds at least 30 pellets.
'You find these things on virtually every beach these days. Obviously they are from some factory.'"
"For centuries, the California pipevine swallowtail — or, Battus philenor hirsuta — called San Francisco home. As development increased in the early 20th century, the butterfly slowly began to disappear. Today it is a rare sight.
But one man's DIY efforts are starting to bring the butterfly back.
His story reminds us that we can all contribute to conservation efforts — sometimes even from our own backyards."