January 28, 2008


There is a blizzard in the woods today. The next few weeks generally offer us the worst of our wintry weather, especially in terms of the cold. Today, with the wind and snow and sleet, things are pretty quiet in the forest. Not much to report.

In my previous post I mentioned that thinking about climate change is pretty glum business. I have struggled with trying to find ways to raise the subject among friends and acquaintances without turning them off. It’s like telling someone to eat their broccoli because it is good for them. The problem is we need to inspire people to take action in their daily lives in order to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. Perhaps, small steps at first will eventually lead to the kind of social and environment change that we are going to need if we intend to reverse the effects of global warming.

Here is where Earth Hour 2008 comes in. I am quoting directly from their website.

“It started with a question: How can we inspire people to take action on climate change?

The answer: Ask the people of Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour.

On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. This massive collective effort reduced Sydney’s energy consumption by 10.2% for one hour, which is the equivalent effect of taking 48,000 cars off the road for one hour.

With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.”

Such a simple thing. Just turn your lights off for one hour. Have dinner by candlelight. Go outside and look up at the stars. On March 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM just turn your lights off for one hour. Surely we can all do that. You can visit the Earth Hour website here:


I would encourage you to go to their website and register for this event. Tell you friends about Earth Hour. Encourage your workplace to participate. Get your local community involved. Stop the carbon dioxide madness for just a little while. You’ll be glad that you did.

Oh, and don’t forget to eat your broccoli …

January 9, 2008


In the past few days the weather here has been absolutely frigid at times with temperatures approaching -30°C and windchill values near -40°C. The bright side of this is that the ice on the beaver pond will freeze solid giving us the opportunity to see the beaver's world from perspectives that are not possible at other times of the year. In the meantime, this frosty weather is a good excuse to curl up by the fire with a good book to read. And the book I would like to recommend to you today is titled "The Geography of Hope" by Chris Turner.

Frankly, the discussion about global warming is, for the most part, depressing. Listen to David Suzuki for an hour and you will be depressed as he details a litany of environmental destruction. By now, when I begin to discuss global warming with my friends you can see there eyes glaze over. Mostly because, so far, there isn't much good news to report about climate change. Chris Turner's book is different. Based in Calgary, Alberta, for a year Chris travelled around the world seeking out communities that are engaged in positive environmental projects. This unique travelogue details a number of amazing projects that are going a long way to demonstrate just what can be done if we where to set our minds to it.

Imagine whole communities that are completely self-sufficient. Houses that produce more energy than they consume. Automobiles that produce zero emissions. Chris found all of these things and more. Here are many examples of positive action and applied technologies that are currently available making a real difference for the environment. This is a good news story and offers real hope to those of us who despair of climate change. You can find Chris Turner’s website here:


And you can purchase his book here:


Keep warm and happy reading!

January 2, 2008

Winter Birds

There is a blizzard here today in the woods. It has been snowing since last night and it is now waist deep in the backyard. It will be a while before we are tramping about the woods again. Still, there are many ways that we can observe and enjoy nature at this time of year. One of the things I like to do is feed the winter birds that come to my backyard. It does not cost very much and it provides me a world of entertainment. Currently, I am getting visits from black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, purple finches, bluejays, redpolls and a pair of downy woodpeckers that live in my neighbourhood. Bird populations are dwindling dramatically and anything we can do to help them out would be beneficial. It is important that, if you have started feeding the birds, that you keep it up for they come to depend upon that source of food. If you are not feeding the birds, consider putting up a feeder. The pleasure that you will receive will more than pay you back for the effort. For more information, or to simply be inspired visit Sharon Stiteler's website found here:


Sharon is a birdwatcher extraordinaire and you can share in her birdwatching adventures, enjoy her beautiful bird photography and find helpful links to encourage you to get to know our fine feathered friends. The more you get involved with nature, the more you will appreciate it and understand the need to preserve it. Happy birding!

January 1, 2008

Beginnings ...

A new year and a time for new beginnings. There is the expectation of new adventures and new possibilities. It is in that spirit that I am beginning this weblog. My name is Forest Green.

Firstly, I am a naturalist. This has all of the prestige and pecuniary reward of other occupations like village idiot or harmless lunatic or town philosopher. Nevertheless, I am a naturalist. It took me a long time to realize that this was my life's passion. In former endeavours I have also been a dairy farmer, machinist, soldier, airman, librarian, educator, electronics engineer and research scientist. Since childhood though, I have always been my happiest in the forest. I enjoy nothing more than wandering around the woods, and if I have no particular purpose, so much the better. Nature is a wonderment to me. There is alway something new to see, something new to learn.

Secondly, I am a nature photographer. My mother gave me my first camera (a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye box camera) when I was eleven years old. I became fascinated with photography. In well over forty years, I have experimented with many aspects of image making. For a time I had my own darkroom and custom photo-finishing business. I hand-developed hundreds of rolls of 35mm colour slide film. Pioneered a method of synchronizing a slide projector to an audio sound track to enable an early multi-media experience. I have published a book of photographs entitled "Nova Scotia - A Photographic Essay". And in my early twenties I was privileged to be nominated to the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. Now I am caught up with digital photography and have pretty much relegated film to a few backyard experiments. It is fair to say that photography has held a continuing fascination for me. Again, there is always something new to see (sic), something new to learn.

About ten years ago I thought that I should specialize in some particular aspect of photography. Better to be really good at one aspect than mediocre at all. After much consideration I decided that I would photograph wildflowers. That if I were to do something well it would be as a wildflower photographer. I have a passion for my chosen subject and could go on and on about the flowers of the field and forest. And on this blog I probably will. For now, just consider that I spend my time wandering about the forest taking pictures of the naughty bits of plants. Oh what fun! I have never met a flower that I didn't like. In passing I also get the occasional snapshot of a marmot, a loon or maybe even a coot.

Thirdly, I am an environmentalist, and this is perhaps the real motivation for starting this website. I am passionately concerned about the deteriorating environment around us, and hope that through my nature photography, I am able to show people the beauty of the world around them, and inspire others to help save the planet. It is apparent that corporations and governments are failing to take any serious action that would mitigate against the impact of global warming. And impact there will be. I, for one, am convinced that the oil companies will not give up until they are sucking the very last barrel of oil out of the ground. By then it will be too late. For much of our environment it is already too late now.

I think that our only real hope is at the grassroots level. Individuals must become aware of the part they play in contributing to climate change on a daily basis. We need to understand that there are things that are far more important than corporate profit. Like clean air to breath and fresh water to drink. And wildflowers too. This blog is my small contribution to the environmental movement against global warming. By sharing with you my passions for nature, photography and the environment I hope that you will become passionate about the natural world around you, too.

Let's begin ...