A red deer stag peers out from behind the trees of a pine forest during a snow blizzard in the Cairngorms; a flock of northern gannets and a pod of killer whales feed in the wake of a trawler off the Shetland Islands; a seal pup rests on a sandbank during a sandstorm at Donna Nook nature reserve, Lincs.
These are just a few of the stunning images of natural Britain featured in a new exhibition that documents the best of the 2020VISIONwildlife photography project.
The exhibition will run throughout May on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, and features the work of some of Britain’s top wildlife photographers.
The images were taken at different conservation projects across the country. Organisers believe the exhibition tells an “inspirational” story about some of the UK’s most vital ecosystems.
The images include stunning shots of some of the country’s rarest air, sea, and land animals, as well as national parks, nature reserves and mountain ranges.
A red deer stag in a pine forest in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands, during a snow blizzard. The image is part of the 2020VISION photography project
A jetty reaching out over Derwent Water in the Lake District at dawn. The image is part of a new outdoor exhibition on the South Bank of the River Thames
A flock of northern gannets and a small pod of killer whales feeding in the wake of the pelagic trawler ‘Charisma’ in evening light, off the Shetland Islands
A seal pup resting on a sandbank during a sandstorm, in Donna Nook, Lincs. The seal population return to the area breed from October to December every year
A view of cliffs along the Trotternish landslip, on the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides. The exhibition will run throughout May on the South Bank of the River Thames
Another image from the exhibition shows a short-eared owl hunting over farmland with Burnham-on-Crouch in the background on Wallasea Island, Essex
A silhouette of a short-eared owl in flight at dusk at Worlaby Carrs, in Worlaby, Lincs. The exhibition features some of Britain’s top wildlife photographers
A basking shark feeding while being watched by a snorkeller off the coast of Cornwall. The exhibition documents the best of the 2020VISION wildlife photography project
A red squirrel jumps with a nut in its mouth, in Cairngorms National Park (left) and a barn swallow swoops down to feed a fledgling on a wire, in Perthshire,
Highland cattle put on fenland to graze the marsh at Woodwalton Fen nature reserve – a Special Area of Conservation in Cambridgeshire
A portrait of a European river otter in Wales, part of the 2020VISION wildlife photography project
Sunrise over chalk downland viewed from Wilmington Hill, IN Wilmington, South Downs National Park, East Sussex
A female wild boar female in woodland undergrowth (left), and a wild boar piglet (right), in the Forest of Dean, Glos
This photograph of a grey seal swimming beneath the cliffs of Lundy Island, in Devon will feature in the 2020VISION exhibition in London
A view from the summit of the Sgorr Tuath sandstone pinnacles, in the Assynt mountains, Scottish Highlands
An adult female hen harrier diving towards a nest site on the Glen Tanar Estate, in Grampian, Scotland
Suilven mountain in early morning light, in the Coigach and Assynt area of the Scottish Highlands – part of the 2020VISION exhibition
A red squirrel at a woodland pool, feeding on nut, in Scotland (left) and a portrait of a young Grey seal, in the Farne Islands, Northumberland (right)
May 16, 2013
From the national Geographic pics of 2012. Gorgeous, isn’t it ?
Photograph by Doug Perrine, Alamy
Pinpricks of light on the shore seem to mirror stars on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives.
The biological light, or bioluminescence, in the waves is the product of tiny marine life-forms called phytoplankton—and now scientists think they know how some of these sea beasts create their brilliant blue glow, we reported in March.
Various species of phytoplankton are known to bioluminesce, and their lights can be seen in oceans all around the world, said marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Woodland Hastings of Harvard University. (Also see “Glowing Sea Beasts: Photos Shed Light on Bioluminescence.”)
“Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. Each particle is a microcosm, and faithfully renders the likeness of the world.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
From and with kind permission from Creative Systems Thinking
“If you look around yourself carefully, you may notice that our Universe consists of a unified network of systems nestled within systems. Your physical body is composed of various organ systems, each maintained by groups of cells, molecules and atoms. Our families and social communities are embedded in ecosystems, the biosphere, the solar system, our galaxy and the universe. From this perspective, human beings are as much a part of nature as the oceans, trees, and stars. What’s more, there seem to be certain patterns and processes which occur in natural systems everywhere, guiding the development of individuals and galaxies alike. The ideas in systems theory are based on careful observations of natural phenomena. They tell us how nature works, how all things fit together into larger systems and communities. Its concepts refer as much to cells and solar systems as to nations, corporations and basketball teams. While many of the words and concepts of systems theory are new, systems thinking is not. Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world ecologically and holistically, where one focuses on patterns, connections and processes, and how seemingly separate things form coherent wholes. Systems thinkers have been with us since ancient times, providing wisdom and guidance in all cultures and every area of human activity. Some of the ideas presented here have their roots in ancient Greece, or in Eastern systems of thought, such as Taoism or Zen.
Many indigenous communities have long had an awareness of the way nature’s systems worked. They observed their environments carefully, watching the ways animals lived, how the natural world moved in cycles and patterns. Elaborate myths and rituals have helped native people to align themselves with the rhythms and processes of nature, to feel a part of their local worlds.
On the other hand, many civilized societies have moved away from a feeling of connectedness with nature, and an understanding of nature’s ways. In the West, we have developed more dualistic ways of thinking, classifying and categorizing everything in the world. Our cities and communities both reflect and influence this thinking. Ours is a world of walls, boxes, and roads, of separation and specialization. Our social institutions are organized by a more mechanistic and linear paradigm, a less organic beat.
As the industrial revolution took hold in communities across the globe we have used this paradigm to organize all areas of our lives. In our educational institutions we have removed children from their families and natural surroundings. We have put them together in rooms and then asked a single adult to provide them with disconnected facsimiles of the world, to divide external reality into separate fields such as art, science, language, and history. What is often ignored in this approach is the way these different phenomena are related, how things often flow together and influence one another.
In a field like science the natural world has been further divided into pieces. When we were young we studied biology, chemistry, physics, and geology– as if each field existed separately from the others. We never received a coherent picture of the world that reflected the way nature actually organizes things, how these phenomena are related to one another and play a role in each individual’s life.
Lacking a unified understanding of nature, our scientists and educators have often used very misleading metaphorical language in order to describe the world. Over the last few hundred years, leading Western scientists have talked about nature as if she were a woman to be dominated, a mindless machine, a struggle for survival, or (at best) a “glorious accident.” These metaphors have influenced the way modern nations have dealt with internal social problems, other communities, and the natural world.
Our beliefs and metaphors for reality are conceptual tools. They help us create images and representations in our mind that we hope will reflect the way the world is actually organized. While these metaphors help to focus our attention on certain things they can also screen out and ignore a lot of information that is important. Over time our thinking has become increasingly rigid and reductionistic, frequently separating phenomena into fixed categories such as “us and them,” or “smart and dumb.”
In the United States, social or physical problems have often been viewed as adversaries people must struggle with or declare war upon. This dualistic thinking underlies the approaches we’ve taken toward poverty, drug abuse, cancer, and crime. It has sent missles firing into Viet Nam, Lebanon, Panama, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In most cases our wars have been ineffective, created new problems, or simply ignored the resulting violence and suffering caused.
Yet, while this hard-edged thinking may be out of touch with the organic complexities of natural phenomena, it has provided the key to the development of sophisticated tools, mathematics, and machines. New inventions (like the microscope, the camera, the steam engine and the computer) pushed change and shaped the unfolding patterns of mechanistic civilizations. They also allowed scientists to observe the rhythmic functioning of atoms, organs, and cells; to glimpse the history of our planets and the stars.
It is in this careful and methodical examination of the natural world that modern systems theory developed. Today we have detailed information about almost everything in the observable universe. We also have a large body of words, concepts and theories that describe how all these things fit together, how these systems provide evidence of certain recurring processes and patterns in the natural world. Setting out initially to classify and categorize nature, science has now brought us full circle, rediscovering Nature’s Paradigm.
Creative Systems Thinking
Art work by Sam Brown
- Ecological Systems Theory and Practice: Visualizing Human Systems (socialworkhelper.com)
- Becoming Wiser as a Species (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Spirituality and environment go and-in-hand together (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- System theory (hhdalal.wordpress.com)
Experience what it is like to be in the Sacred Forest of Damanhur and listen to the singing plants. It will change your perception of life.
I have to wonder what cannabis plants would sound like ?
12 May 2013
A 29ft wall of ice from a lake in Canada has destroyed at least 12 homes and damaged many others.
The community of Ochre Beach in Manitoba, Canada were confronted with the approaching wall of ice from Dauphin Lake after strong winds of 55mph during the night.
Homeowner Dennis Stykalo said that the damage to properties was done “within ten minutes”.
A state of emergency was declared but no injuries were reported.
- Massive wall of ice destroys Canadian lakeside homes (sott.net)
- Creeping Wall Of Ice Destroys Homes In Canada (news.sky.com)
- Wall of ice destroys Ochre Beach homes, cottages (cbc.ca)
What Makes Rain Smell So Good?
Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.
If you’ve ever noticed this mysterious scent and wondered what’s responsible for it, you’re not alone.
Back in 1964, a pair of Australian scientists (Isabel Joy Bear and R. G. Thomas) began the scientific study of rain’s aroma in earnest with an article in Nature titled “Nature of Agrillaceous Odor.” In it, they coined the term petrichor to help explain the phenomenon, combining a pair of Greek roots: petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of gods in ancient myth).
In that study and subsequent research, they determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by some plants during arid periods. When a rainstorm comes after a drought, compounds from the oils—which accumulate over time in dry rocks and soil—are mixed and released into the air. The duo also observed that the oils inhibit seed germination, and speculated that plants produce them to limit competition for scarce water supplies during dry times.
These airborne oils combine with other compounds to produce the smell. In moist, forested areas in particular, a common substance is geosmin, a chemical produced by a soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes. The bacteria secrete the compound when they produce spores, then the force of rain landing on the ground sends these spores up into the air, and the moist air conveys the chemical into our noses.
April 2, 2013
Plants have scientifically been show to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through “nanomechanical oscillations” vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication.
Members of Professor Dr. Olaf Kruse’s biological research team have previously shown that green algae not only engages in photosynthesis, but also has an alternative source of energy: it can draw it from other plants. His research findings were released in the online journal Nature Communications.
Other research published last year, showed that young corn roots made clicking sounds, and that when suspended in water they would lean towards sounds made in the same frequency range (about 220 Hz). So it seemed that plants do emit and react to sound, and the researchers wanted to delve into this idea further.
Working with chili plants in their most recent study, specificallyCapsicum annuum, they first grew chili seeds on their own and then in the presence of other chili plants, basil and fennel, and recorded their rates of germination and growth. Fennel is considered an aggressive plant that hinders the germination of other plants around it, while basil is generally considered to be a beneficial plant for gardening and an ideal companion for chili plants.
Germination rates were fairly low when the seeds were grown on their own, lower when grown in the presence of fennel (as expected). Germination rates were better with other chili plants around, and even better with basil.
Since plants are already known to ‘talk’ through chemical signals and to react to light, the researchers separated newly planted seeds from the other plants using black plastic, to block any other kind of ‘signaling’ other than through sound. When fennel was on the other side of the plastic, the chemical effects of its presence, which would have inhibited germination of the chili seeds, were blocked. The chili seeds grew much quicker than normal though, possibly because they still ‘knew’ the fennel was there, ‘knew’ it had the potential to have a negative effect on their germination, and so they quickly got past the stage where they were vulnerable.
If even bacteria can signal one another with vibrations, why not plants, said Monica Gagliano, a plant physiologist at the University of Western Australia in Crawley.
Gagliano imagines that root-to-root alerts could transform a forest into an organic switchboard. “Considering that entire forests are all interconnected by networks of fungi, maybe plants are using fungi the way we use the Internet and sending acoustic signals through this Web. From here, who knows,” she said.
As with other life, if plants do send messages with sound, it is one of many communication tools. More work is needed to bear out Gagliano’s claims, but there are many ways that listening to plants already bears fruit.
According to the study: “This demonstrated that plants were able to sense their neighbours even when all known communication channels are blocked (i.e. light, chemicals and touch) and most importantly, recognize the potential for the interfering presence of a ‘bad neighbour’ and modify their growth accordingly.”
Then, to test if they could see similar effects with a ‘good neighbour’, they tried the same experiment with other chili plants and then with basil. When there were fully-grown chili plants in their presence blocked by the plastic, the seeds showed some improved germination (“partial response”). When basil was on the other side of the plastic, they found that the seeds grew just as well as when the plastic wasn’t there.
“Our results show that plants are able to positively influence growth of seeds by some as yet unknown mechanism,” said Dr. Monica Gagliano, an evolutionary biologist at UWA and co-author of the study, according toBioMed Central. “Bad neighbors, such as fennel, prevent chili seed germination in the same way. We believe that the answer may involve acoustic signals generated using nanomechanical oscillations from inside the cell which allow rapid communication between nearby plants.”
What Can Humans Learn?
Flowers need water and light to grow and people are no different. Our physical bodies are like sponges, soaking up the environment. “This is exactly why there are certain people who feel uncomfortable in specific group settings where there is a mix of energy and emotions,” said psychologist and energy healer Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee.
“When energy studies become more advanced in the coming years, we will eventually see this translated to human beings as well,” stated Bader-Lee. “The human organism is very much like a plant, it draws needed energy to feed emotional states and this can essentially energize cells or cause increases in cortisol and catabolize cells depending on the emotional trigger.”
Bader-Lee suggests that the field of bioenergy is now ever evolving and that studies on the plant and animal world will soon translate and demonstrate what energy metaphysicians have known all along — that humans can heal each other simply through energy transfer just as plants do. “Human can absorb and heal through other humans, animals, and any part of nature. That’s why being around nature is often uplifting and energizing for so many people,” she concluded.
About the Author
Michael Forrester is a spiritual counselor and is a practicing motivational speaker for corporations in Japan, Canada and the United States.
A grisly carcass discovered last week on a New Zealand beach looks like the stuff of nightmares