Environment

'The omnivorous Wood Turtle is found throughout the North East, living on land but never far from water.'- Dianne Engleke 
 
Dianne Engleke is an artist, photographer and naturalist living in beautiful Dutchess County, NY. 

September 7, 2015

There is no dry land at the North Pole and under much of the Arctic ice pack. The ocean there is covered with ice, known as sea ice, which is floating on the water beneath. If it melts, it will not cause a rise in sea level, the same way the ice cubes melting in your martini won’t cause it to overflow the glass. Archimedes recognized that ice displaces its weight in water.

Sea level aside, the news that sea ice is melting in the Arctic is not pleasing. When sea ice covers the Arctic, it offers a reflective white surface to the incoming radiation of the Sun. When it melts, much of the Sun’s radiation is absorbed by the darker sea water now exposed, which itself warms, causing more sea ice to melt. The ongoing loss of sea ice in the Arctic is prima facie evidence of the ongoing warming of our planet from the additions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Bill Schlesinger's Blog

Lead has played a role in human society for thousands of years. Romans made pipes of it. Medievalists made goblets of it. Armies made bullets of it. Artists and builders made paints with it. And, automotive engineers added lead to gasoline to make engines run better. The problem is: lead is a poison. 

Lead was long used for pipes, and the word, plumbing, is derived from the Latin word for lead, plumbum. At least one environmental chemist has suggested that the demise of Roman civilization was exacerbated by lead poisoning. The lead concentration in tap water from ancient pipes in Rome was more than 100X greater than in spring water nearby. 

'A Ruby-throated Hummingbird enjoying the shade on a hot late Summer day.'-    Dianne Engleke is an artist, photographer and naturalist living in beautiful Dutchess County, NY.

August 28, 2015: It’s not unusual for an architect to be a philosopher or theoretician and also a fine writer and speaker. Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Rem Koolhaas spring to mind. But few have the luxury of practicing what they preach. They’re too absorbed in mollifying client wishes to execute a vision in pure form.

Allan Shope excepted. A weekender for decades on Deep Hollow Road, Millbrook, New York, he decided at age 50 to abruptly change course, away from being an architect for rich and famous spare-no-expense clients in the service of whom, he says with irony, he “committed every architectural felony known to man.” Proud as he is of that work, and it is often spectacular, he now sees it as environmentally wayward.

These days, Shope wants to devote himself to what he calls “sustainable architecture,” this time in the service of a client’s “soul.” He quit the firm he helped found after 25 years, refined a fresh set of rules into a sort of architectural catechism, then built two houses for himself and spouse designed to exemplify his new paradigm as best as technology, his resources, and the evolving electrical regulatory environment allowed.

Bill Schelesinger's Blog

Taking our reported annual emissions and the size of the U.S. population, the average American is responsible for about 17 tons of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere each y ear—among highest per capita emissions in the world. About 1/3 of our emissions stem from transportation, largely personal automobiles.   About 37% of our emissions are associated with the generation of electricity.   The remaining emissions are attributed to industry, residential use, and

agriculture.

Overall emissions in the United States peaked in 2008 and have trended downward in more recent years—something we can rejoice about. And they are poised to drop even further with the institution of the Clean Power Act by the Obama administration, which aims to reduce emissions in 2030 to 32% below 2005 levels. Most of the reduction is sought by reducing the use of coal to generate electricity. Progressive increases in the fuel efficiency standards for automobiles are also destined to lead to lower emissions from the transportation sector in the coming years. The U.S. should arrive at the next international conference on climate change with some good success stories to tout.

 'The Bobcat is a small native wild feline, and still at home here.'-Dianne

Dianne Engleke is an artist, photographer and naturalist living in beautiful Dutchess County, NY.