Right Steps & Poui Trees


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“Stupidly Suicidal”: Esther Figueroa on bauxite mining in Cockpit Country

I read Esther Figueroa’ s column “Cockpit Country Still Under Threat From Bauxite Mining” in today’s Gleaner (Sunday, July 28, 2019) and decided to post it on my blog. So many voices pointing out where we are heading in this era of climate crisis and in so many ways we continue to ignore the warnings. We are rapidly entering a time when water…unpolluted water especially…will be far more valuable than the bauxite and other substances we mine, destroying the environment as we do so.

This is the final paragraph of Figueroa’s column, which you might want to read in full:

“When I was in Ulster Spring on May 27 for the Noranda EIA public meeting for SML 173, I looked out at the most perfect of Cockpit Country mountains, the unique conical shape completely covered in trees, and when I imagined that mountain butchered by bauxite mining my heart fell into the depths of despair. Strip mining is never good for the environment and it is never sustainable development. In a time of climate crisis with record high temperatures, unpredictable weather with long droughts and catastrophic storms, it is stupidly suicidal to be cutting down our trees and polluting and depleting our soil and water. All of Cockpit Country must be protected not just the Designated Cockpit Country Protected Area. We must not allow Special Mining Lease 173 to be granted.”

When bauxite mining began in Jamaica about 70 years ago, we may not have been aware of the full extent of the negative impacts. We have no such excuse now.

Links to Films

“Esther Figueroa, Ph.D. is an activist independent filmmaker who has been an integral part of the movement to protect Cockpit Country. Her films include Cockpit Country – Voices from Jamaica’s Heart and Cockpit Country Is Our Home. Her most recent feature documentary Fly Me To The Moon (to be released later this year) is about aluminum, modernity, the political economy of our material culture and consumption, and is a call for us to stop destroying the natural world that we all depend upon.” – Gleaner, 28/7/2019

Cockpit Country – Voices from Jamaica’s Heart

Cockpit Country - Voices from Jamaicas Heart - title - Esther Figueroa film

Cockpit Country Is Our Home

Cockpit Country Is Our Home - title - Esther Figueroa film

 

 


Tree in a Backyard: Minnesota

I stood in a backyard in St Paul, Minnesota, trying to take a photo of a bright red cardinal as it flitted from tree to tree. Such a beautiful bird, but it just wouldn’t sit still! Every time I moved slowly into position to snap a photo, the bird flew off to a new vantage point! So I got no photo of the bird….

This tree in the backyard, however, stayed still enough for me to take a number of photos, which I now share with you. If anyone can identify the tree for me, I would be grateful.

Here is its crown pictured with two other trees against a clear blue sky…MN backyard tree

It had beautiful blossoms in abundance…P1390472 - MN backyard tree

Here they are closer up…P1390473 - MN backyard tree

The tree had such wonderfully rugged bark…P1390481 - MN backyard tree

And if you look very carefully, up towards the right in this photo, you may see the branch on which the cardinal was sitting moments before I captured this image!P1390480 - MN backyard tree


Sargassum on the Beach!

The guard in charge of directing parking and taking entrance fees informed us that the water was dirty. When we asked what he meant, he said that there was a lot of seaweed in the water. Having driven out to Boardwalk beach, however, we weren’t about to turn around and leave without even taking a look. So in we went…P1380922 Boardwalk beach sargassum

Yes, there was a lot of seaweed on the beach…and in the water…IMG_20190508_090658_resized_20190508_090722933 beach seaweed

Sargassum……a type of seaweed found only in the Atlantic Ocean…IMG_20190428_125357_resized_20190508_092007576 beach seaweed

…is a kind of open ocean brown algae.IMG_20190428_125411_resized_20190508_091849377 beach seaweed shell

 

“The influx of the seaweed is believed to be related to increased accumulation in the Atlantic Ocean where nutrients are available and temperatures are high. The seaweed consolidates into large mats and is transported by ocean currents towards the Caribbean, washing up on beaches throughout the region.” (National Environment & Planning Agency website)IMG_20190428_123943_resized_20190508_091444580 beach seaweed

A few people went in to swim, despite the seaweed in the water. But not many. Most people were on the beach…P1380936 trees on beach

…in the shade…like me…P1380960 beach

or in the sun…like this vendor, who didn’t have much luck making sales, since few people were going into the water…vendor on the beach 2019

…because of the sargassum there….IMG_20190428_125503_resized_20190508_091734713 beach seaweed water

Note

“The excess of Sargassum washing up on beaches in the Caribbean originates from the Sargasso Sea, located in the open North Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda. This sea stretches 1000 km wide and 3200 km long and is estimated to hold up to 10 million metric tons of Sargassum (see image below). It is known as “the golden floating rainforest”. It is also found in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Scientists suggest that the influx of Sargassum in the Caribbean is due to a rise in water temperatures and low winds, which both affect ocean currents. In essence pieces of the Sargassum are becoming entrained in currents which head towards the Eastern Caribbean Islands. These factors and the spreading of Sargassum has been linked to increased nitrogen loading due to pollution of the oceans through human activity of increased sewerage, oils, fertilizers and global climate change.” (Sargassum: A Resource Guide for the Caribbean, p. 4)

 


Pausing on Garden Boulevard, Mona Heights

Garden Boulevard is the longest road in Mona Heights, running from the intersection with Old Hope Road near the Hope Gardens gate all the way to the intersection with Mona Road, where the aqueduct leads into the Mona Dam.

IMG_20190425_125537_resized_20190501_103755162 cut trees

As I turned onto Garden Boulevard at the Mona Road intersection last week, I noticed that some of the trees along the sidewalk had recently been cut.

IMG_20190501_104220_resized_20190501_104236885 cut trees

It was the bright colour of the cut wood that caught my attention and made me stop, park and get closer, to take photos of the pruned privet trees. The only sign of those who had done the cutting was a red cap seemingly forgotten near one of the pruned trees.

IMG_20190425_124457_resized_20190501_104941627 cut trees

Cut surfaces of different sizes and shapes.

 

And already, across the stump of one felled tree…

IMG_20190425_124308_resized_20190501_105208158 cut trees

…something new had begun to grow….

IMG_20190425_124347_resized_20190501_105603139 cut trees

Small details captured while pausing on a long road in Mona Heights one morning….

IMG_20190425_125346_resized_20190501_104504139 cut trees

(And if you’d like to see the full length of Garden Boulevard, take a look at this video I found online- click here.)Garden Blvd blog pic

 


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Poui At UWI…And A Monument

A few weeks ago, I drove onto the UWI Mona campus via the Post Office gate. (UWI Mona = University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica). The poui trees were in bloom and it was a magnificent sight!UWI poui Post Office gate

 

Everywhere I looked…P1370962 UWI poui …there were poui blossoms…IMG_20190402_092951_resized_20190425_120325950 UWI poui

…including in front of the Gibraltar Camp monument…

UWI poui Gibraltar monument

…dedicated to the Gibraltarian Evacuees living at Gibraltar Camp, Jamaica 1940 – 1944… UWI Gibraltar memorial

…during World War II.IMG_20190424_200709_resized_20190424_080727845 UWI Gibraltar

The camp  was like a small township…IMG_20190424_200825_resized_20190424_080844069 UWI Gibraltar

The monument is sacred to the memory of…IMG_20190424_201430_resized_20190424_081449051 UWI Gibraltar monument

Yellow blossoms and names in gold…P1370969 UWI poui Gibraltar monument


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Flower: The Reproductive Portion of Any Plant in the Division Magnoliophyta (Angiospermae)…

“Flower,…Poor Man's orchid 4-19.PNG

…the reproductive portion of any plant in the division Magnoliophyta (Angiospermae),…IMG_20190414_084851_resized_20190417_110827952 flowers

…a group commonly called flowering plants…IMG_20190414_110020_resized_20190417_110248398 flowers

…or angiosperms….IMG_20190416_154246_resized_20190417_110207045 orchid blooms

As popularly used, the term “flower” especially applies…IMG_20190415_140254_resized_20190417_110348517 flowers

…when part or all of the reproductive structure is distinctive in colour…flowers - crown of thorns

and form.”IMG_20190417_110701_resized_20190417_110724825 flowers jade vine

https://www.britannica.com/science/flower


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One Afternoon on Daisy Avenue, Mona Heights

We moved to Mona Heights more than fifty years ago and although we never lived on Daisy Avenue, I knew it well. I haven’t lived in Mona for decades now, but drive through often. When I saw this view recently as I drove up Daisy Avenue, I stopped to take some photos…IMG_20190403_194656_resized_20190403_074720344 Daisy Avenue Mona 3-4-19

…two magnificent Royal Palms stood guard in someone’s yard…IMG_20190403_174950_resized_20190403_055034614 Mona Daisy bicycle

…shadows on a trunk…P1380021 Mona royal palm and bougainvillea

…leaves against the sky…IMG_20190403_131900_resized_20190403_055142437 Mona Daisy royal palm

…a few moments one afternoon, on Daisy Avenue, Mona Heights…IMG_20190403_175528_resized_20190403_055552438 Mona Daisy sign