HOW I MET CLIMATE CHANGE - John Wawrzonek

The story of how I met climate change and where that led.

It is a combination of something immediate and personal leading to thoughts of the beginning of the universe to why it was created and then how the creaton seems incomplete my profession of photographing the landscape and looking for a maple tree with red leaves for my book about Walden; a bit of knowledge of the universe, how it began and how the earth and it inhabitants were the end result; some thoughts on what it means to be alive and how the earth gave us that meaning.

And finally the collosal tragedy that we, ignorant as can be, greedy beyond belief, not giving a damn for anything but political position and money, have begun to destroy the ability of the earth to be a place of joyful living.

(The contents of this EPILOGUE are in the menu above. The first page is the home page for the entire site and is quite long but only the first part is intended as part of this epilogue. You will bump into the link that brings you here. The slide show below is a sampling of my images. Click on the double arrows and it will fill you screen)

Spring Flowers

Above:  How I Met the Landscape 1974 ~ 2005,  by simply noticing what I saw by the roadside.


Below: The Last Red Maple  on the shore of Walden Pond.

Sunset Through Red Leaves, Walden Pond I

This is Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts on the same date in October, 10 years apart.

This was the last photograph I made for my book, The Illuminated Walden. There have not been any red maples in this area for years and this was a lucky find.

Red trees are not important compared to all else that is happening around the world. And even the beach houses on Cape Cod (another favorite place) having the ground washed out from under them doesn’t seem very important. But both these changes are permanent and when I started photographing seriously (wawrzonek.com) 45 years ago I was not expecting to be making sientific documents. Very fortunately, film technology took a leap in the late 1970s and transparency film that used to fade in 25 years now lasts a thousand.

That’s part of the story. The other part comes in two parts: I have enough science background to understand what is going on (seven years at MIT) and my interest in cosmology goes back to my early teens. I was reading about George Gamov’s arguments for a steady-state universe. In the early 60s when Penzias and Wilson from Bell Labs discovered the cosmic background radiation I understood what they had done. (Note, for a full explanation, click on the green egg on page 3.) And in 2005 when the European Space Agency produced this spectacular picture of the universe after orbiting the sun for four years and combining several million measurements down to a few millioniths of a degree I had a clue what a phenominial accomplistment it was.

And when I sang in church “to god be the glory, great things he hath done...” I said to myself, “you don’t have a clue.” Ever hear of something called the big bang. Ever hear how many stars and galaxies and other phenominal objects there are in the universe. And do you have an idea where this all came from.

Now before I wander down the wrong path, I am not an athiest or an agnotic. It is that I have no way of figuring out what is behind the whole creation and neither does any astro-scientist. We know pretty confidently it started with the big bang (or the Grand Singularity as I like to call it) but why? Not a clue. You can probe a little deeper and have some fun reading Jim Holt’s book sub-titled “Why is there something rather than nothing” and watching his great TED TALK about why the universe exists. No. He doesn’t know but it is fun to here him talk about tryong to finf out. (Later I will tell you what I have been thinking about this.)

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