Botanical Lesson on the Street where we live

The thatched roof on the little point at the end is a café, above, that has become our de facto office; the staff looks there for us first. The picture below is as I set out on the voyage that demonstrated conclusively that Hobie Cats are not completely immune to capsizing.

The Old Man and the Sea

The white fluffy clouds aren’t as innocent as they appear; there’s a cold front lurking behind them.

Life vests are required.

The rest of these are not actually a botany lesson so much as a quiz; no answers, just questions. We have no idea what any of them are except they are a few steps from our patio. But we do know people who can pass this test (Dan? Stephanie? Mark?).


One hint: the size of the blossoms are in reverse order to the size of the photos. The bottom photo is the hedge in the fore ground of “The old man and the sea”.

Back on the theme of the oceans aren’t big enough, today’s lesson in ecology started with a conversation with our new engineering friend Rick (who is a mechanical engineer working at Prairie Island nuclear plant but I’m not sure how that’s relevant.) Maybe it started sailing across the South Pacific and seeing trash days away (by ship) from any port. There was much talk of the so-called Plastic Island, or garbage vortex, or a few other names. So why not send a few big boats and spend how ever long it takes to suck it up?

And of course with all things ecological, (I am reminded of John Muir; cf. “Random Thoughts,”) things aren’t that simple.  We can’t say how big the “Island” is or how much plastic it contains because it depends on what concentration of plastic you define as too little to be included (or too much to be excluded.) The on-line photographs typically show masses of bottles, and lawn chairs, and whatever, that you could almost walk on. We never saw anything like that. Usually, you can sail through the “Island” and not notice.

Current estimates are 8 million tons of plastic goes into the oceans every year. (I added a pair of flip flops a couple days ago when the one I was still wearing no longer seemed relevant to the problem at hand; I hope it doesn’t make it the Pacific Vortex in any form.)

In this form, concentrated masses of plastic bottles, chairs, and flip flops, could conceivably be collected, with relatively minor collateral damage, but most of the plastic involved is in the form of microscopic polymers.

Plastic, apparently, breaks down surprising quickly into particles we can’t see, have difficulty even detecting, but that sea life consume or otherwise incorporate with unknown long-term consequences for anything that lives in the ocean or eats anything that lives in the ocean.

Once upon a time, in our innocence, we weren’t that concerned about the long term effects of exposure to radiation either. When we were granted dominion over the Earth, I don’t think the intent was to sack, pillage, and plunder.

What time is lunch?

Today our biggest problem is not the polymers we are consuming but the quantity.


2 thoughts on “Botanical Lesson on the Street where we live

  1. You are apparently encamped in a warm, tropical setting, enjoying the climate and toys, food and drink. But where are you? I’m guessing Mexico, although we have the same flowers here in Southern California. Despite the heavy thoughts about plastic, it looks like you are enjoying yourselves. Dore looks to be doing well. Have a great winter in the sun. Alan & Marylu


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