Boy with fish - bruce witzel photo


We must teach our children and remind ourselves three simple life lessons:

Tell the truth. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t be afraid.


 From Harriet Shugarman – executive director of ClimateMama





There is no longer any room for denial around climate change.

We humans are causing climate to change.

End of story.


2015 C02 Levels




We must acknowledge and recognize that there is no bridge to a carbon-free future.

We will need to step bravely into the abyss, trust in science and the evidence and make the leap to a renewable energy future, through our actions now – individual and collective.

This will put people to work, grow the economy, and begin to heal the planet.


Observation deck on the Grand Canyon - bruce witzel photo




We must look “truth” squarely in the eye and not be afraid.

Scientists are telling us and our planet is showing us we need to act…

We need to move quickly and boldly forward to reclaim a liveable future.


Harriet Shugarman







Please read Five Renewable Energy Facts for Earth Day at ClimateMama, which is about rapidly growing U.S.A. solar installations as well as the non-profit Solar Electric Light Fund, whose goal is to assist 1.5 billion people poor people throughout the earth.


Mono Lake California Parks Center - bruce witzel photo


The photo below shows ingenious technology, a cardboard solar box cooker, built in Oaxaca Mexico in 1992. Corn husks insulate the box, solar energy is trapped (via the greenhouse effect) and voila, the food cooks!


A simple cardboard solar oven in Oaxaca Mexico, circa 1992 - bruce witzel photo


Imagine what we can do together by 2032?


Cheers ~ Bruce


“Change that is required is a change of consciousness.” 

Johnny Seed


Modern civilization has largely fallen into a dualism that seems to put ecology and economy as two opposing forces. In reality, the two are interrelated.


3)Trans Canada Highway in Banff National Park Oct 27, 2014 - Bruce witzel photo


The root of both words, eco-logy and eco-nomy, comes from the Greek oikos, meaning household, dwelling place, or habitat.


Lions Gate Bridge and North Vancouver - photo and painted effect by bruce witzel

Ecology is about interactions of natural communities. It is the story of where we live (the earth). Economy is about household management. It means thrift and sound management of our personal and communal resources. In today’s modern economy, however, waste, blunder and negligence are the norm.

There are so many ways people can do things differently.  

Recently I was inspired by a few paragraphs from Global Chorus, 365 voices for the Future of the Planet…


IMG_4513painting effect by bruce witzel


Along with these images, I share with you the voice of Osvald Bjelland…


We need to break the link between the pursuit of human ambition and the depletion of the natural environment. To move people and goods without warming the climate.


Portland Oregon - bruce witzel photo


To transform waste into a resource.


Homebuilt attached greenhouse (Aunt Anna's)  bruce Witzel photo


To redirect consumption away from the accumulation of stuff.


A monarch butterfly @ Pismo Beach California Nov. 2012


To power ourselves – heat our homes, preserve our food and light our lamps – without making our air unbreathable.


Solar Home in New Denver, British Columbia - Bruce Witzel photo


In short, we need to reinvent growth.

It is all too easy too dismiss these aims as lofty dreams. Yet they are no more loftier than the telephone was during the last days of the telegram, nor any more improbable than the internal combustion engine was when the preferred mode of transportation was the horse-drawn carriage.

In fact, I would argue that it is those who call change impractical who are the impractical ones…


Sunset on Lake Manitou, Saskatchewan - bruce witzel photo

I believe in human ingenuity, and that by working together… the balance between our natural and human resources can be restored.


Osvald Bjelland

founder of the Global leadership and Technology Exchange Partnership.


 GoSun Solar oven - photo source unknown



Cheers to the solar age that’s dawning


~ Bruce ~

Cover Reveal–Chasing Down the Night

bruce thomas witzel:

My wife Francis’ work as an educator, researcher and trauma counselor has lead her to creating the third novel of the Crater Lake Series , due to be released in mid May. Not to give away the storyline, a cougar plays a key role. The cover of Chasing Down the Night is a composite of two images. Believe it or not, the background image is of the forest that surrounds our driveway. The more amazing and prominent image of the cougar was taken by Charles Brandt just outside the porch of his hermitage. Father Charles is a Catholic hermit priest, a deep ecologist and a world renowned book and art conservator.
Please head over to Fran’s blog, Disappearing in Plain Sight, to give her a boost and a thumbs up.

Originally posted on disappearinginplainsight:

Here we go, folks. With a flourish and a bow, a drumroll and a trumpet blast, I give you the cover for the third book of the Crater Lake Series – Chasing Down the Night.

CDN ebook cover A

Back of the Book Synopsis

One might be excused for assuming that an idyllic life unfolds for those who have chosen to live and work near the shores of Crater Lake. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Long-time resident, Izzy Montgomery juggles the stress of a new job with her burgeoning home life. Family dynamics go into overdrive when Alexander and Cynthia launch plans to build a home nearby and Liam’s sister, Fiona shows up to do an internship with the local doctor. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and sparks fly. While crusty, old Reg keeps sawmill production booming, Beulah runs the organic bakery and plans the First Annual Caleb Jenkins…

View original 100 more words

AFLOAT IN THE ATMOSPHERE – part 2, and more (CO2)

I'm flying over North America - bruce witzel photo


2015 C02 Levels 


I'm flying over Phoenix - bruce witzel photo


On average, each person in Canada, Australia, and the United States creates the worlds highest global greenhouse gas emissions.

If you look  historically over the past 100 hundred years, the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions have been created by the world’s wealthiest countries. 

This graph shows total overall annual emissions for different countries in 2013…




Poor people are the most vulnerable to climate change events like extreme drought, more severe typhoons and heavy floods.

They have done the least to create global climate change.





The Channel Islands National Park is afloat amidst the haze of Southern California… 


Looking towards the Channel Islands off the California coast- bruce witzel photo


Clouds are also afloat over the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Seattle (below). The worlds fragile biosphere and ecosystems are being harmed by more and more Canadian exports of fossil fuel.

A few days ago, April 15th, an oil spill occurred in Vancouver’s English Bay. Although it is relatively small (2,700 litres), the spill underlines the environmental threats due to our increasing energy dependencies.


Sunrise over Georgia Strait and Gabriola Island - bruce witzel photo


Canada’s Parliament led by Prime Minister Steven Harper supports further tar sands extraction and more oil & gas pipelines. He and his government are opposed to any real or meaningful reductions of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 1880, global emissions have caused an average temperature increase of 1.4 degree Celsius to the planet. Although this doesn’t seem like much, overall this increase is creating havoc with the air steams and ocean currents that create weather.

This Tuesday, April 14th, Canada’s Premiers (without Harper) are meeting in Quebec City to discuss plans for climate action…



Meanwhile at the federal level in Ottawa (across the river, below)

the clouds hang low over Harper…


Canada's parliament in Ottawa - bruce witzel photo


The Scientific Consensus:

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.


“On the one hand, you have the entire scientific community, and on the other you have a handful of people, most of them crackpots.”

Lord Robert May, former President of the Royal Society

Climate change is real



Victoria Harbour protest against Nuclear Weapons - late 1980's - burce witzel photo

THE COSMIC CHRIST & CLIMATE CHANGE (for doubting Thomas’s)

  “We are the ones we have been waiting for” 

~ Hopi Saying ~  

  The Sacred Black Hills of the Dakota - bruce witzel photo


“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all… living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”

Thomas Merton (from his final address)



203_co2-graph-1280x800 Source; Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.


These days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we?

~ Pope Francis ~


Saint Joseph's Oratory, the Basilica of Mount Royal, Montreal - bruce witzel photo



  The Cosmic Christ by Sr. Nancy Earl , Center for Action and Contemplation archive

  The Cosmic Christ

~ Painting by Sr. Nancy Earl, Center for Action and Contemplation ~



photo of a photo by b. witzel


~ Peace ~


Waterfall in the forest (time exposure zoomed) - bruce witzel photo

Photography has been a hobby since I was fifteen years old when I took a wonderful course on it with my father. My first camera was a kodak instamatic.


Here I am aged eighteen, pre-digital days – no I don’t have a twin…

double exposure, from a 1976 slide  - keith launer photo

Here is how I did it:

Back in 1976 with my brand new Olympus OM-1 single lens reflex camera set on a tripod,  my friend Keith depressed the shutter taking  the first shot. Returning to the camera I carefully disengaged the film as if I were rewinding it for processing, then cocked the film advance lever, and re-engaged the film.   I stood in a different location as my friend snapped  the second shot.  Voila – a double exposure. Notice how the camera turned on the tripod slightly, creating a blur.  Taking such a picture was chancy, considering I was on a student budget and the cost of film and processing was about a dollar per photo, or in today’s 2015 dollars worth $4.23 (according to this inflation calculator). Now photographers can use sophisticated digital no risk layering techniques.


scanned photos0122 - bruce witzel photo

Back in the day, I also shot and edited super 8 movie “shorts”. Set to music in a Charlie Chaplin style, one particular film documents my “back to the land” days, while building the off-grid home (above) that Fran and myself presently enjoy. Known as “the cabin film” it was always a must see for family and friends. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll digitize it and share it with you.


Below is an image similar to the first. Set on a tripod with an open shutter of 1/4 second, I rapidly zoomed out my camera lens. Not so incidentally to the grand scheme of things, this stream supplies all our domestic water needs and a good portion of our electricity for eight months of the year, via a hydro turbine.


Waterfall in the forest, Dec. 31, 2013 time exposure zoomed  - bruce witzel photo ,


Another image demonstrating “blur”.

Waterfall with painted effect - by bruce witzel


And a final abstract shot


“Waterfall in the Forest”


Waterfall abstract - bruce witzel photo



Let us love and be grateful for earth, water and light that sustain us.


Cheers ~ Bruce

THOMAS MERTON (on faith and violence) – Part Three

The earth, crucified - bruce witzel photo


The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin,

but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.           

Thomas Merton



A spiritual reflection


~ Part 3 ~


by bruce thomas witzel


In my previous reflection about the monk Thomas Merton (click here) I left off with the United States in the midst of Vietnam War and the emerging consciousness about ecological destruction.

By 1968 Merton’s book Faith and Violence had been published.


Faith and Violence - a book by Thomas Merton


In it he writes:

“The population of the affluent world is nourished by a steady diet of brutal mythology and hallucination, kept at a constant pitch of high tension by a life that is intrinsically violent in that it forces a large part of the population to submit to an existence which is humanly intolerable… Crime that breaks out of the ghetto is only the fruit of a greater and more pervasive violence: the injustice which forces people to live in the ghetto in the first place.”


Bruce Witzel photo - original location, unknown

Merton continues:

“Violence today, is white-collar violence, the systemically organized bureaucratic and technological destruction… The theology of violence must not lose sight of the real problem, which is not the individual with a revolver but death and even genocide as big business.”


Photo of a photo - original photographer unknown



Church in Montreal - bruce witzel photo


During the 60’s, protest and change had also come to the Catholic Church, partly as a result of the the 2nd Vatican Council. The churches slowly began to crack open their windows and doors for a breath of fresh air.

By 1968 Thomas Merton was permitted to leave the Abbey of Gethesemani in Kentucky for extended periods of time.


Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama


His final journey was to South East Asia where he met with other contemplatives, including Buddhists and Hindus.

The Dalai Lama later said about his meetings with Merton in Dharamsala, India, “I could see that he was a truly humble and deeply spiritual man. This was the first time I had been struck by such a feeling of spirituality by anyone who professed Christianity.”


Thomas Merton on Unity

Not long before Thomas Merton had departed to Asia he had also written an article about the emerging awareness of ecological destruction. It was published by the Catholic Worker, a group that helps disadvantaged people in numerous American inner city neighbourhoods.

In part it reads:

“The ecological conscience is essentially a peace making conscience. A country (America) that seems more and more to hot and cold war making does not give much promise to developing one. But perhaps the very character of the war in Vietnam – with crop poisoning, the defoliation of forest trees, the incineration of villages and inhabitants with napalm – presents enough of a stark and critical example to remind us this most urgent moral need. Catholic theology ought to take note of the ecological conscience and do it fast.”


Thomas Merton Centenary Icon painted by John Giuliani Thomas Merton Centenary Icon painted by John Giuliana


Merton was concluding his tour with a monastic conference in Bangkok. He had intended to write a book about his insights and experiences and on the day of his death, Dec 10th, 1968 and he told fellow priest Basil Loftus “The Holy Office has already condemned me before I have written it.”


Downtown Montreal - bruce witzel photo


After speaking at the conference Merton went back to his room to cool off. As he stepped out of the shower he was electrocuted by a faulty fan. His body was taken back to the United States in a B-52 bomber en route from Vietnam, sadly loaded with his fellow dead Americans, the soldiers.


Living Memorial Sculpture Garden - created by Vietnam veteran and sculptural artist Denis Smith - photo by Bruce Witzel2b


“Modern technological mass murder is not directly visible, like individual murder. It is abstract, corporate, businesslike, cool, free of guilt-feelings and therefore a thousand times more deadly and effective than the eruption of violence out of individual hate. It is this polite, massively organized white-collar murder machine that threatens the world with destruction, not the violence of a few desperate teen-agers in a slum. But our antiquated theology myopically focused on individual violence alone fails to see this.”

Thomas Merton  (1915 –1968)


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