Dec 182012
 

I came across this a while back; one of the most astonishing places on Earth, near the village of Derweze (also spelled as Darvaza) in Turkmenistan.

Situated in an already lunar looking landscape in the Karakum desert, there is a crater that is unlike anything on the real Moon: it’s a crater full of fire. The ground collapsed here in 1971 after Soviet geologists were drilling for oil and found natural gas instead. The gas was ignited in the hope that it would safely burn off in days… it has been burning ever since.

 Posted by at 8:13 am
Aug 022011
 

Finally, a voice of reason.

I just read an opinion piece in New Scientist by Erle Ellis. His message is simple: Welcome to the Anthropocene. Ellis believes that the geological epoch called the Holocene is over; the landscape of the Earth has been altered irreversibly by humans, but not all such change is bad or unwelcome. In any case, there is no turning back. The question is not how to undo what we have done, but how to create a better, more sustainable Anthropocene, as we have become the creators, engineers, and stewards of this world.

This has also been my opinion for a long time. Humans are no less “natural” than apes, ants, whales, or trees. By extension, a skyscraper or a factory are no less natural than an anthill or a bird’s nest. However, it has happened in the past that a species overwhelmed and destroyed the environment in which it once thrived. Humans can suffer the same fate… except that we do possess oversize brains and the ability to plan ahead in the long term. What we need is not some romantic notion of a “pristine planet”, but to learn how to manage a planet of finite resources that is dominated, and irreversibly altered, by our presence.

 Posted by at 12:27 pm
Jun 232010
 

Ouch! That was quite the rumble. Enough to freak out all the cats. This is the third significant earthquake I experienced here in Ottawa; it may not have been the strongest as measured by instruments, but it certainly felt the most, hmmm, “hostile” sounds like the right word.

 Posted by at 7:49 pm