Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘air quality

Really Happening

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It’s happening right before our eyes. The changes currently playing out on our planet are no longer just scientific theories. They are actual events. Record high temperatures. Droughts. Wildfires. Floods. Thawing permafrost. Rising sea levels. Shrinking glaciers.

I’ve tried to mentally prepare for the possibility of any of the first four catastrophes directly impacting our property, but the thing we are dealing with currently is only peripherally related to the wildfires burning in Canada just to our north. Our air quality is so bad the Pollution Control Agency is advising we avoid being outside and breathing the smoke particulate matter.

Measurements are reaching record levels for Minnesota.

We should probably hold more meetings to discuss how we can reduce our carbon emissions to net-zero by some future date. [sarcasm]

I asked Cyndie if we have any idea what to do in the case of a wildfire suddenly bearing down on our location. She said we should paint our phone number on the horses.

I’m sure they would be fine with that if we were able to find any paint and get them to stand still during the highly emotional panic that would be occurring as a fire threat is bearing down on our property.

Even though the dramatic stories of lost lives and property in the recent floods in Germany and China and the ongoing Bootleg fire in Oregon depict the trauma at the epicenter of such events, life at home feels strangely distanced.

Our horses are calm. Their grass is dryer than optimum, the flies are a constant nuisance, the temperatures are getting too hot again, and the smoky air makes breathing less fun, but they aren’t ones to complain. I sense they may still be contemplating whether the situation they now find themselves in –living out their days in comfort and safety with us– is for real, or not.

Based on my assessment of the reality of global climate calamities playing out in plain view right now, I can understand any hesitations they might have about the comfort and safety part.

There should be no denying anymore that the ramifications of human activity causing increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are already playing out.

It really is already happening, whether people collectively acknowledge it, or not.

Every day that I don’t have to drive my fossil-fueled car anywhere is a tiny victory in my effort to reconcile still living with a carbon footprint that reflects how we got into this climate predicament in the first place.

May we all keep looking for individual ways to do something helpful, or simply stop doing things that are hurtful, long before governments and greater society finally get around to enacting more broadly effective changes.

I look forward to that really happening.

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Really Enjoying

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Despite the unhealthy air quality associated with our current weather pattern, I am really enjoying the visuals all this fog creates.

Once again, Cyndie comes through with some wonderful shots…

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She said the horses looked like they had been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Their backs and even their tails were flocked with frozen crystals from the fog, but she wasn’t close enough for it to show in the pictures.

Who knows what today will bring. There have been predictions the sun will shine later and the temperatures will climb above freezing. I won’t complain about that, but this freezing fog sure has been fun for the spectacular visuals it creates.

 

Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

Canadian Smoke

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Could this cloud edge pass for a lightning bolt? I was thinking I should use the photo for a “Words on Images” creation, but my muse has totally vanished. I think my brain is in shock over being back in the day-job mode. I was taking pictures of the sun a few days ago because the smoke of Canadian forest fires polluting our air lately has created such amazing naked-eye views of the glowing star.

DSCN3622eYesterday, when I walked out of work, not only was the atmosphere near the ground thick with a smoky haze, but the smell of wood smoke was very noticeable. I expected it must be coming from some incident nearby, until I drove for a while and noticed it was like this all over.

Canada-smoke-plume-June-29-2015-600x750From Plymouth, MN in the west, all the way to our house in Wisconsin, the smoke was visible and the aroma recognizable. My favorite weather blog, Updraft, says the smoke we are smelling used to be trees in Canada a few days ago. I’ve copied an image they used from NASA showing how the smoke plume was pushing into Minnesota on June 29th.

It makes the world seem a bit smaller to me to have such a visceral manifestation of something that originated so far away.

By the way, it is a common perception that Canada is north of Minnesota, but have I pointed out that we are currently living north of Minnesota? We are located almost due north of Red Wing, MN. The southeast portion of Minnesota juts out like a foot, because the state border follows the Mississippi River.

Of course, if you travel due north from our place, you eventually get to Minnesota, again. So, I guess it would be fair to say that we also live south of Minnesota, too.

Thank you for playing ‘Fun Geography Facts’ with me today! Now it’s time for me to go to work. I can be happy today that I work indoors where the air quality is buffered from the harsh effects of the smoky haze outside.

Be safe out there!

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Written by johnwhays

July 7, 2015 at 6:00 am