Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Lady butterfly"

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
--Maya Angelou

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”
--Hans Christian Anderson

Lady butterfly
perfumes her wings
by floating
over the orchid.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
--Richard Bach

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Real Cost of Bottled Water

Bottled Water: wholesale price/gallon in 2011: $1.21 ( )

Poland Springs home delivery: $1.93/gallon ( ).
Crystal Springs home delivery: $1.20/gallon ( ).

"I decided to do a little math to see exactly how much the cost of bottled water purchased on the street compares to what comes out of the tap in New York City. By my calculations, filling a 16.9-ounce bottle with genuine NYC tap water costs about 1.3 tenths of a cent, compared to $1 to buy bottled water (95 cents if you return the bottle for the deposit, which, based on the number of bottles I see in the city's trash bins, not many people do.) If you were to refill a 16.9-ounce bottle with city tap water every day for a year, you'd pay 48 cents. Let me repeat that: That's 48 cents for the entire year! (Okay, it might be a little higher if you run the water until it gets cold.) In comparison, buy a $1 bottle of water every day, and you'd pay $346, sans the deposit. That's more than 700 times the cost of tap...."
--Anthony Giorgianni, July 12, 2011,

Photos by Anthony F. Chiffolo

Comparative Prices

U.S. Gasoline Prices ( ):
--Low: $3.579/gallon--Mississippi and South Carolina
--High: $4.325/gallon--Hawai'i

U.S. Milk Prices ( ):
$3.428/gallon U.S. average in July 2012

Photos by Anthony F. Chiffolo

There Is No "Easy" Button

"The hard facts are these: If we sum up the easy, cost-effective, eco-efficiency measures we should all embrace, the best we get is a slowing of the growth of environmental damage ... Obsessing over recycling and installing a few special light bulbs won't cut it. We need to be looking at fundamental change in our energy, transportation and agricultural systems rather than technological tweaking on the margins, and this means changes and costs that our current and would-be leaders seem afraid to discuss. Which is a pity, since Americans are at their best when they're struggling together, and sometimes with one another, toward difficult goals ... Surely we must do the easy things: They slow the damage and themselves become enabling symbols of empathy for future generations. But we cannot permit our leaders to sell us short. To stop at 'easy' is to say that the best we can do is accept an uninspired politics of guilt around a parade of uncoordinated individual action."

--Michael Maniates, Professor of Political Science and Environmental Science, Allegheny College

Photos by Anthony F. Chiffolo

"It's Not Easy Being Green"

"For starters, let's remember what we're trying to do: We're trying to change the climate system--to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable! We are trying to affect how much the rain falls, how strong the winds blow, how fast the ice melts. In addition to all that, we're trying to preserve and restore the world's rapidly depleting ecosystems--our forests, rivers, savannahs, oceans, and the cornucopia of plant and animal species they contain. Finally, we are trying to break a collective addiction to gasoline that is having not only profound climate effects, but also geopolitical ones. It doesn't get any bigger than this. This is not something you do as a hobby, and the adjective 'easy' should never--ever, ever--acompany this task.

"The truth is: Not only are there not 205 easy ways to really go green, there isn't one easy way to really go green! If we can pull this off, it will be the biggest single peacetime project humankind will have ever undertaken. Rare is the political leader anywhere in the world who will talk straight about the true size of this challenge."

--Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

Photos by Anthony F. Chiffolo


"Indonesia is the second-richest country in the world in terms of terrestrial biodiversity, after Brazil, and first in terms of marine biodiversity. Though covering only 1.3 percent of the earth's land surface, Indonesia's forests represent 10 percent of all the world's tropical forest cover and are home to 20 percent of all the world's species of flora and fauna, 17 percent of the world's bird species, and more than 25 percent of the world's fish species. Just ten hectares in the Indonesian island of Borneo contains more different tree species than are found in all of North America--not to mention a raft of plants, insects, and animals that don't exist anywhere else on earth. In fact, little Borneo, with less than 1 percent of the earth's land surface, reportedly holds 6 percent of the world's total bird species, mammal species, and flowering plant species. The whole Caribbean has only about one-tenth the marine biodiversity of Indonesia, which sits at the confluence of the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, and is nourished by all three."

--Thomas L. Friedman, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

Photos by Anthony F. Chiffolo

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Peonies

I'll make it
my bed in the next world
this peony

Visit to the Hermit Chui
Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers;
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.
– Qian Qi (Tang Dynasty)

One poem
per blossom is not enough
for a peony

"It's this big!"
Tiny stretching arms
Form her peony. 
--Issa (trans. Joy Norton)

Peonies bloom
and the world is full
of liars.

Peonies at Jixing Temple
Springtime radiance, gradually, gradually where does it go?
Again before a wine jar, we take up a goblet.
All day we’ve questioned the flowers, but the flowers do not speak.
For whom do they shed their petals and leaves, for whom do they bloom?
–Emperor Yang (Sui Dynasty)

Bow low
if you really want to see
the peony

Drinking with Friends Amongst the Blooming Peonies
We had a drinking party to admire the peonies.
I drank cup after cup till I was drunk.
Then to my shame I heard the flowers whisper,
“What are we doing, blooming for these old alcoholics?”
–Ling Huchu (Tang Dynasty)

Matching Premier Linghu’s “Taking Leave of the Peonies”
In my official mansion, a balustrade of flowers.
But when it’s time for them to bloom, I’m always away from home!
Do not say the Twin Capitals are not far distant parted.
The springtime brilliance beyond my gate is the very abyss of Heaven.
–Liu Yushi (Tang Dynasty)

Peonies blooming,
the last cherries might as well
not exist