Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow storms, sand storms

photo of whitetail doe in snow covered field
© harrington
During yesterday's snow storm, I played with my new telephoto lens. The doe in the picture above was more than 200 yards away. I need to learn more about manual focus and, maybe, setting the white balance for snow? I also finally managed to get my picture of "snow falling on cedars." I'll share that later this week. Two consecutive good days on a weekend in February, who would have thought it possible? And the goodness was enhanced since the daughter's Significant Other ran the snow blower and cleared the driveway. While he was doing that, I started reading North Country. It looks as though, if I pay attention, I may finally learn, among other things, which tribes/bands of Native Americans lived where in Minnesota. The references to lands that, in the past, teamed with game and other resources made me ashamed of how we've treated the land and the creatures living on and from it. Then again, today in the blogosphere, I found Sally Jo Sorenson on her Bluestem Prairie blog writing about Minnesota voices rising for full-scale state GEIS for industrial scale frac sand mining. For those of you who don't recognize the acronym, GEIS stands for Generic Environmental Impact Statement. I've been involved in both helping to prepare and helping to criticize past impact statements. If ever I've seen a situation that called for one, frac sand mining and processing does, especially for addressing the mitigation requirements. It seems to me the situation is similar to northern Minnesota's concerns about sulfide mining. I'm tired of seeing my tax dollars go to clean up the environmental messes that mining companies created because we would lose jobs and tax base if we didn't rape the environment. Externalizing costs, as the economists refer to it, means that you get richer at my expense. If companies can't afford to clean up their mining mess, then it seems to me society can't afford what it is they're proposing to mine. [I told you yesterday there would be rants and writes ahead.] The good news is that My Minnesota may actually put the brakes on a sand mining avalanche. After all, years ago we actually decided we didn't need a new airport on prime farmland. We haven't done as well with professional sports stadia (that's plural for publicly subsidized playground for grownups) but there's always hope for tomorrow, especially if you come back to read whatever I'm going on about then.