Sunday, July 31, 2022

The Disappearance

Illecillewaet Glacier
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

This glacier is easily seen from a short stretch of the TransCanada Highway (near the bottom of the first long drop west of the summit of Rogers Pass) but is actually very difficult to access and track. 

Thus, it is all the more impressive that Illecillewaet’s recession and (even more difficult to measure) downward flow and resulting ‘net’ recession, were painstakingly determined almost every year from 1887 until 1911 by an intrepid American, Mary Vaux. She used heavy steel plates big enough that it was (usually) possible to find them each year and a 45-kg camera, that required two pack horses.

Mary Vaux's comprehensive, old (by North American standards) data has been compared to modern net recession measurements, which were resumed in 1945 after a gap of about 30 years caused by World Wars I and II and the Great Depression between them.  This comparison with on-going research, now carried out by Parks Canada, is proving that, as suspected, ‘anthropogenic forcing’ (human-caused impact) is massive and accelerating.

Like glaciers all over the world, Illecillewaet is disappearing.  

Sunday, July 24, 2022

A break from blog posts about carbon emissions

Virtual AirBnB on the Amalfi Coast
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

This painting was based on some pictures my daughter sent me of the spectacularly-located villa she and her husband and another couple rented on the Amalfi coast near Positano. I hope to get back to real international traveling and painting next year but, for now, am still enjoying completely effortless virtual participation in adventures like this.

Meanwhile, back in the world of climate change, the Carbon Almanac has been published.  Several hundred of us worked on this project (you’ll find me at the beginning of the eleventh row at Meet the people behind the Carbon Almanac.) 

If you’re tired of hearing people debate climate change’s causes and dire consequences without providing facts to help you make your own decisions, I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of The Carbon Almanac  (27 CAD)


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Direct Air Capture may be the answer – but when?

Carbon Engineering DAC facility at Squamish
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

According to a World Economic Forum paper by Victoria Masterson, direct air capture (DAC) involves removing CO2 from the air and storing or reusing it. This reduces the atmospheric concentration of this greenhouse gas (GHG), which is now dangerously high and contributing to climate heating, especially in the North.

Given that the transition to clean energy likely cannot be accomplished in time to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, a massive scale-up in carbon capture capability, including DAC, is needed.

Companies such as Microsoft, Shopify and Swiss Re are buying into DAC to offset their emissions.  Carbon Engineering and partners around the world are working to deploy DAC facilities that can each capture one million tonnes of CO2 per year ─ equivalent to the carbon removal capacity of approximately 40 million trees.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

A Great Start on the Great Green Wall

 Fighting back on the front lines of climate change
Watercolour and crayon
©2022 Charlene Brown

'Fighting Back' is based on a combination of internet images of the Great Green Wall in Niger, Senegal and Mali.

This African-led initiative, launched just 15 years ago in 2007, has made amazing progress on the ambitious plan to grow and/or restore an 8000km belt of biodiversity across the continent from Senegal on the Atlantic to Djibouti on the Red Sea. This formerly lush region (as represented in the photo below), known as the Sahel, had already fallen victim to some of the challenges that humanity could be facing this century  desertification, drought, food shortages, migration and international terrorism.

Wall In Hatshepsut’s temple at Dier el-Bahri near Luxor, Egypt
showing lush gardens in the Land of Punt, a country on the Red Sea in what is now Sudan.

©2008 Charlene Brown  

Sunday, July 3, 2022

This is not the border between Canada and Denmark

A disputed but paintable border
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

My original plan, now that Canada and Denmark have finally agreed on where to divide up Han Island between the Canadian territory of Nunavut and the Danish district of Greenland, was to paint the landscape along the newly established Canada/Denmark border.  However, when I Googled some images of Han Island, I found it’s about the least picturesque place in all of Canada and/or Denmark. 

About the same time, I came across some photographs of a much more spectacular 'border' along the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas.  I decided to paint that one instead.   This painting is based on a photograph by Cory Richards in National Geographic Magazine 03.2021.  It was taken from a Pakistani post on a lateral moraine beside the rubble-encrusted waves of the Baltoro Glacier.

Besides being much more paintable, this area known as the Highest Battleground in the World has always been much more contentious than Han Island, where Canadian and Danish armed forces have amicably taken turns 'occupying' the disputed territory over the years.  Han Island legend has it that each time one country was driven off, they would leave a supply of whisky for the other side to celebrate their victory.

At the other extreme, the disputed but paintable border (actually a line of control) in this painting has been the scene of many armed skirmishes over the years since partition. The United Nations has stationed military observers in India and Pakistan for over seventy years.  My husband was one of them in 1966-67.