Category: Planet Earth

Whales, Walker Bay

We were in Cape Town last weekend, the Heritage Day long weekend, and on Sunday we took my mother out to Hermanus and Gansbaai to see the whales. On previous occasions we had seen them close in, near the Old Harbour, but not this time. We were lucky, however, to spot one or two far out, way across Walker Bay, so we drove round to Gansbaai, another 40 kilometres along the coast, in hope of a better view, and were just in time to see a pod of humpbacks quite close in, before they tired of us and slipped beneath […]


There is a drifting grey rain outside our house in downtown Toronto, a harbinger of fall. Working on another proposal, for a project in South Africa, my thoughts drift back, across the ocean, and I find myself in Lightroom, searching through photos. These three are from last November, when I was in Johannesburg and Pretoria, working on another project: I had persuaded my daughters to take me on a day trip to the Pilanesberg, a two-hour drive to the north of us, so I could soak in the sun, the landscape, the wildlife, and take a few photos which I could […]

US election: Nobody is talking about climate change —

In a post-factual world, where the term ‘expert’ is derided, people believe what they want to believe – which means believing what suits their education, their belief systems, their prejudices and their wallets. Yet climate change isn’t something you vote on. It’s a fact, and it’s coming to a place near you, near me, and near all of us. Remember the boiling frog syndrome? The frog doesn’t notice that the temperature in the pool he is in is gradually rising, because his body gradually acclimatizes. Next thing it’s too late to leap out, and he is boiled alive. via US […]

Can progress on climate change keep up with its quickening pace? – The Washington Post

We should apply the precautionary principle: this generation should not put off for the next generation what it can and should be doing today. via Can progress on climate change keep up with its quickening pace? – The Washington Post

Walvis Bay

Twenty miles south of Swakopmund, along the coastal road, lies Walvis Bay, of minor historical significance (it remained a British enclave during the German colonial period, and was incorporated into the newly-fledged Union of South Africa in 1910) but no real charm or appeal. The lagoon, however, offers some of the best bird watching in Southern Africa, and supports almost half of the region’s flamingoes. There is also a salt works, which in the coastal light can provide some interesting images – a Canadian might be reminded of snowfields. I thought I would include in this post a photo of […]

Second High Park capybara recaptured

A couple of enterprising capybara made headlines a few weeks ago, here in Toronto, by escaping from the High Park zoo and disappearing into the surrounding greenery. My theory is that they simply dressed up as tourists and mingled with the crowd, and ambled out of the zoo enclosure unchallenged and unspotted. One of the capybara – we shall call him Stupid – was recaptured a while later, but capybara number two has remained on the lam – until now, that is. Clever Boy was picked up this morning – according to the authorities, near Grenadier Pond. But that is […]

Planet Earth

Renowned scientist Stephen Hawking suggests (for the BBC article, see Hawking: Humans at risk of lethal ‘own goal’ – BBC News ) that the explosion of scientific knowledge creates – along with the many and obvious benefits – new risks of things going wrong, nuclear disaster and global warming being just two of them. The risks, in any event, of some cosmic event beyond our control are ‘almost certain,’ over the longer term, so over the longer term, he believes, we’d better be finding ourselves another planet. But until then, we’ve only got this one, and we’d better look after it. (A […]