www.climatephotography.com

Dawn of America’s Red Morning

Election day morning, before any result was reported by any media outlet about President-elect Donald John Trump having been chosen by electoral college vote to become America’s next President, and while I was feverishly organizing for a Madam President-elect Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, I read a quote published from the legislative newspaper of record for the Colorado legislature, the Colorado Statesman under their “The First Shot” section:

“Elections belong to the people.  It’s their decision.  If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”  -Republican President Abraham Lincoln

Very early this morning, before many of us watching history in the making on many levels from our chosen media outlets even went to sleep, we witnessed Mr. Trump accept the concession of his rival, and become Mr. President-elect Trump.  And the voters have spoken, by electoral college representation vote this coming December 19th, while Secretary Clinton becomes the fourth Presidential candidate to lose the election with the popular vote.  This does raise many continuing discussions about how democracy functions in America, with our electoral college, but let’s accept our current system and move on.

Let’s agree, for now, that Abraham Lincoln’s statement is true and factual, even with over 200,000 votes favoring Clinton with 99% of the reported ballots counted.  America is fundamentally about democracy- the rule of the people.  And today, we awake to not only a red President-Elect, but a red Senate, and a red House of Representatives.  What’s more, the gambit of the Republican Party to risk their political capital on blocking the confirmation of a Democratic President’s Supreme Court nominee simply on the basis that they held the power to do so until their party’s Presidential nominee presumably won the election- paid off, can I say, “bigly.”

Today, we wake to a new era in America, a red America, where all three branches of government are, rather, will become, controlled by a single Republican Party.  The checks and balances written into the Constitution and legislative rules have now been reduced, by this election, to the power of the filibuster, which is already being discussed for fundamental change and even demolition by prominent Republicans because they are not satisfied without, gleefully citing electorate will of the people in this election, complete domination and dictatorial rule, as a political party, by their own admission:

“To me, I think that would really upset the electorate of the people who not only elected Donald Trump and Mike Pence but the people who elected Ron here and elected other members of the House and the Senate. You cannot use, they cannot use inside-the-ballpark Washington procedural reason to justify why things don’t happen. They’ve got to get things done and as I said frequently here in this state and continue to, the best time to do them is early.”  -Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as reported by CNN News affiliate Gant News today.

Because once the then-President Trump nominates his Supreme Court Justice, this person will be appointed by the Republican majority, and President Trump will enjoy party-alignment in both Houses and the Senate with his agenda, and they with theirs in his decisions.  This is what you call a clean sweep, and it does not bode well for the many, many challenges America faces that presidential candidate Trump vowed to obliterate, including America’s modest progress on climate change.

At this point in my review of what has been decided by America yesterday – what will soon happen – I’d like to point out that I am incredibly proud of democracy in America, while at the same time disappointed in the minority (again, by just over 200,000 voters and counting) of Americans who caused this result.  These wildly unexpected (even by the Republican Party itself, if even hoped for in principle) results will be met without military intervention, without political violence among candidates, and without riots or revolution from the people (though there are reports about relatively minor local criminal behavior related to the results).

The United States Presidency has just been delivered a new paradigm of existence, backing a man with bipartisan recognition and revilement of his contemptuous moral and ethical behavior.  People from Van Jones to personal friends today are asking, “what do I tell my children,” and teachers I know are asking, “what do I tell my students” about an America that would elect to our highest office a man who, as The Huffington Post editors wrote in a factually-accurate footnote at the end of every article about Mr. Trump, but ended this morning to give him a new “clean slate” to earn with his Presidency:

“Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

Here is what you tell children, and here is what you tell yourself, because you know you need it, too: in a great democratic country, the rule of law, the “unhackable” process of America’s elections, the checks and balances, the semi-autonomous rule of states, cities, and towns everywhere as incubators of democracy and producers of great leaders, and the righteousness of the Preamble of the United States Constitution…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

…can be used, changed, and wielded for wrong intent, or we can defend and work towards what is right about America and ourselves to fully participate in democracy and organize others “to form a more perfect Union.”

This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” -Secretary Clinton this morning, while conceding to President-elect Trump.

Because the travesty of America’s choice last night will take every one of us to hold a President Trump, a Republican majority Senate and House, and a Republican-controlled Supreme Court accountable for actions that do not serve the People.  America is great because We the People determine our own destiny for America, and I, for one, have never been more resolute in my intent and ability to make a difference with changing hearts and minds among my family, friends, community, state, and nation.

Is this grandiose thinking?  No!  Because I know everyone else who also witnesses every new ding, dent, or cataclysm that damages this new red America’s clean slate will inspire us anew, individually, and collectively, to sow the seeds of change and make a more perfect Union using the same functioning democracy that caused us to burn our behinds in this one!

If the economically-disastrous Presidency of George Walker Bush caused America to overwhelmingly vote for the integrity and stabilizing force of President Barack Hussein Obama, then I truly look forward to the work of organizing a campaign that will produce President Donald John Trump’s successor.  And, perhaps, our sore blisters will hurt so much, so soon, that this successor will arrive in four years from today.

America continues to evolve.  Let’s work together to make sure this morning’s red dawn meets a sky blue day at the next election.  Starting now.  #cantstopwontstop

Witnessing the Birth of a Climate Solution

002_4540-lg

The public, yet somehow photo-banned, turnout facing the PacifiCorp Huntington Power Plant, along Utah Highway 31.

In one 24 hour period in May 2016, across two western states and over 650 miles, I saw three coal-fired power plants, one hydroelectric dam, a massive new solar farm project, and a unique solar plane called the Solar Impulse 2 that was on its way to completing a ’round-the-world trip without fuel for the first time in human history.  And I was driving an extended range electric vehicle, or EREV, the Chevy Volt. Now that’s a whirlwind energy tourism tour.

Granted, I wasn’t stopping to charge my EREV every EPA battery capacity rated 38 miles, but relying on the “extended range” technology that allows gasoline to generate electricity for the batteries.  Driving an electric vehicle across the country is comfortable and fun in a Volt, though I’m hopeful for the day when I’ll be fast-charging instead of refueling the battery.  But whereas some people use the Volt for 100% electric miles and only locally as a commuter car, I use the full design of the vehicle, and drive thousands of miles on single trips, as well as my local daily commute.

I began my day at sunrise at the Huntington coal-fired power plant, near Huntington, Utah, where I was visited by security who was curious about my photography.  This was a marked difference in behavior for security of the power plant, which had been attempting to stop me the previous day from photographing their properties.  Having left all that needless drama behind, I was making my way southwest to reach the Red Hills Renewables Park, near Parowan, UT, which made me feel much more optimistic for my day.

But before reaching my destination, and while stopping for one of those gas station breaks where I needed the food and facilities more than my high mpg car needed the fuel, I checked my email and noticed that one was from the Solar Impulse 2 team, notifying me via broadcast newsletter that they were launching for their next leg from Phoenix, AZ that night!

I calculated my luck, my odds of reaching it in time, and my plans for the day.  Could I drive over 500 miles and still hit my two pre-planned cross-country photo-targets I wanted?  In under 13 hours?  Google maps revealed it was a 10 hour drive.  “Well hell… that gives me three hours of ‘play’ time,” I remember thinking.  I’d have to drive without a wink of sleep, and arrive in the middle of the night, but I’ve put myself through worse driving conditions before.  And it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a history-making event… why not go?!  I definitely felt that I would regret not at least making the effort.  I decided to do the full whirlwind tour: photograph a sea of mid-day solar panels in Parowan, then scream down southeast to Page, AZ to photograph the highly polluting Navajo Generating Station, as well as Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam if I could get there before dark, then bee-line it straight south to the Goodyear Airport in Phoenix to see the Solar Impulse 2.

I was worried I would drive the entire way there, be turned away at the entrance and not get to see the plane take off, so I contacted their media team via email.  Through a back-and-forth over email, I wasn’t given any assurance that I’d be given the required RSVP credentials to enter.  What the hell… go anyway, I told myself.  Once-in-a-lifetime, I told myself.  600 miles and 13 hours of driving and photography to go… sounds like an adventure!

002_4547

Red Hills Renewable Energy Park, Parowan, UT, looking north, just a small portion of the entire 630 acres array.

First stop: at Little Salt Lake, near Parowan, UT, there is a 104 MW photovoltaic (PV) solar array called the Red Hills Renewable Energy Park, owned by Scatec Solar and just six months old, having been completed in December, 2015.  To that point, it was the largest solar panel array I’d seen.  Very impressive at over 600 acres!  I was wishing that I had a drone camera to capture this massive spread across a portion of this valley, but lacking such, decided that the nearby rising hillside might provide a similar effect at a distance.  After abandoning my position fence-side and climbing onto the sides of my car to photograph the array without the fence in my frame, I gained some elevation south of the Park and was again impressed with this project’s size.  Certain lenses, even at this distance, couldn’t capture its breadth!

002_4618

Dr. Frankenstein’s backyard. A vision of 104 MW of electrons funneled from 340,000 solar panels across 630 acres through these wires at the Red Hills Renewable Energy Park, supplying energy for 18,500 households.

I also noticed it had it’s own substation that tied into one of the three cross-continental transmission lines skirting the project’s western edge.  Some of this infrastructure makes for interesting shapes and subjects to photograph.  One piece of the substation looks like a 1950’s vision of futuristic technology as a round sphere with spikes of wires exiting in different directions.  I have no idea what its function is, but it looks big, powerful, and cool.  And dangerous.

Okay… without property access and nobody immediately available to ask, plus a deadline, I decided to scoot (“shoot and scoot” being the theme for this day).  Hitting the road for Page without the ability to stop at a photographer’s whim was kind of painful with all kinds of mountain, canyon, and valley scenery flying-by.  But the payoff was on the approach to Page, across the red rock and desert valley, as the western sun began receding through the layers of Navajo Generating Station smog… everything was turning red… and the red rocks really start glowing when bathed in red light, and I was drenched in photographer’s golden hour awe bliss.

002_4661

The Navajo Generating Station (Salt River Project), near Page, UT. This 2,250 MW power plant provides power across the west, including making water run uphill through the Central Arizona Project. This plant is the single-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in America and currently permitted to run through 2044. Lake Powell, in the foreground, allows flatwater recreation and adds more power through the 1,320 MW Glen Canyon Dam.

But I didn’t have time to scout my locations, prioritize shots, or anything!  Thinking fast, I decided this would have to be a swoop-through shoot.  Stop at a distance on approach for the grand scene… shoot… scoot… get closer for a mid-valley scene at a tourist trap of a rest stop with an elevated view of Lake Powell with the power station in the distance… super-telephoto to pull in that plant in the distance with the water in the foreground, and soaked in red rocks and red sunset at its height… quick lens change for wide-angle to grab the entire scene, and all that wafting smog… scoot… drive to the Glen Canyon Dam… quickly determine I want several angles of shots, and do a couple of shoots on both sides of the bridge as the sunset waned… scoot… no time to drive closer to the power plant… gotta close the gap between Page and Phoenix through the dark… damn… can’t see the gorgeous red rocks along the way on this trip.  The glorious Navajo landscape fades, and I’m left imagining what I’m passing from prior trip memories.

002_4668

Dam blocking the river (rt), reservoir generating methane from decomposition (center, bottom), coal-fired Navajo Generating Station (center) polluting the visible sky with multiple emissions including carbon dioxide in massive amounts, coloring the sky with a technicolor sunset among red rock cliffs and a sagebrush sea. Hauntingly beautiful.  This is a similar vision to “The Scream.”

Stopping in Flagstaff for some much needed food and a break was refreshing.  I needed that, because I was really beginning to feel the miles, the darkness, and my sagging eyelids.  …on the road again… desirous of stopping at certain places for some spectacular astrophotography… damn… next time… fight the head-nodding sleep enemy with some boisterous loud music and road food… but I was also energized for what I was about to witness in a few hours.

I arrived in Phoenix somewhere between midnight and 1 am, and I managed to identify where the party was held at the airport.  I began seeing local T.V. news satellite trucks and people converging on one building as I approached, and upon entering, there was someone checking for tickets haphazardly as people flowed in without lines or order… I said I didn’t have one, and he let me through anyway… whew… glad I took the chance!

The plane was out of the hangar and on full display with the pilot, Bertrand Piccard, in the pilot’s seat already.  I discovered by talking with a few people in the crowd that the speeches were already done (damn, missed that), and they were prepping for take-off.  But I still had a two-hour wait for that to happen.  At this point, I was a bit delirious from so much driving and an early morning rise, but the energy of the crowd and the alertness of the seemingly dozens of workers kept me wakeful.

In hindsight, I wasn’t at the top of my game with regard to making great images in tough photographic conditions: artificial bronze-colored light at night with variable speeds of motion from people and the plane… widest aperture!… increase shutter speed!… who cares about white balance-figure that out later in post!… maximum ISO!… better to have higher noise than to make a bad shot with motion-blur!… test shot… adjust… test shot… my brain was shouting orders to my fingers that didn’t want to follow through with the camera in all cases because several of my shots, upon later inspection, aren’t to my usual exacting standards, and for the flight itself, there was no re-do, meaning planning ahead was necessary while waiting for go-time.  I decided to start with the 50mm for the runway shots during take-off, then switch to the 200-500mm for lofty distance shots.  And, at 3 am, after being awake and driving over 650 miles over 20+ waking hours, I think I even had trouble with making sure I was getting a decent focus.  Or maybe my bleary eyes thought it was focused when later they didn’t all come out as great as I normally want.

So I was a bit disappointed with my photographic results, but I was definitely thrilled with simply having made it there in one piece and not having driven off the road somewhere along the way.  I was witnessing history in the making.

Then, when you would have expected the crowd to shout cheers and a raucous calamity of celebration when the plane lifted off the runway, still at a distance not too short from the starting point, we were all silently transfixed!  Nobody had ever seen such a thing before!  It had the speed of a Wright Brother’s plane!  Incredible.

(Click on images above for full captions and large size view.  Note that these are low-res images, which degrades the image quality.  For higher-resolution images, see www.climatephotography.com.)

The experience of getting to see this experimental plane, lifting off the runway like a breath-lifted feather in the light desert warm air, silently gliding, almost hovering overhead, with a comparatively wide 747 anchored on the runway underneath, I was amazed at this feat.  This plane, carrying a single pilot, with a massively wide wingspan and seemingly heavy by the way multiple people man-handled it while manually taxiing down the runway, was simply floating aloft up there, making slow, wide circles to gain altitude before meandering eastward into the darkness.

Andre Borschberg states “To build an airplane of the size of a 747 with the weight of a car, something which was considered impossible by the aviation industry, we had to develop the right mindset in order to push the limits of the technologies.”  That includes, by the way, propulsion power equivalent to a couple of blow dryers to circumnavigate the globe.  If this is starting to sound a bit like that MacGuyver episode where he built a plane out of bamboo and garbage bags, you wouldn’t be far off from the creativity of these guys.  However, imagine MacGuyver with a massive budget, and access to the entire planet’s best technology to create this plane.

Fully charged, this plane’s batteries stored enough energy to fly at night, making enough room for the electrons to be refilled by the solar cells spread across the back of the massive, slender wings to refill by the next nightfall.  The propellers were very quiet.  In fact, I couldn’t even hear them beating the air.  That must have meant a low-friction, high efficiency.  What I did hear was what you might expect from an electric vehicle… you can even hear it faintly in my EREV/Volt… a faint electric whir.  Unmistakable, I heard it overhead.

This is history I’m witnessing, I thought at the time.  And it was.  A convergence of multiple clean, lightweight technologies and the spirit of human adventure of these two pilots, Bertrand Piccard, flying overhead, and Andre Borschberg, sharing the flying load in back-to-back legs across this planet of ours.  What does the future hold, I wondered?  Will we all be flying in battery-charged, solar planes someday?

This is history in the making in another way… the birth of a climate solution.  What scale in aviation might these technologies achieve?  Next, we’ll see solar unmanned drones by Facebook beaming WiFi to entire continents while staying aloft for months at a time, already in test flights.  Or Airbus’ Zephyr drones.  Or Google’s balloons.  I look forward to the Solar Impulse team’s future projects, already being planned.

This exhibition had completely enchanted the crowd of a couple hundred admirers, from children accompanied by parents, to paparazzi, to grandparents in wheelchairs.   We were all mesmerized at the graceful and vaguely manta ray-esque front profile of this flying wonder’s departure.  Its etherealness was enhanced by the backdrop of a star-studded night sky, twinkling up there, seemingly beckoning this quiet solar wing of humanity’s Icarusian whim and audaciousness.  But whereas Icarus’ wing wax melted and weakened from the sun, the Solar Impulse 2 wings soak in the warm photons and are strengthened.

That flight would end over 18 hours later, as planned, in Tulsa, OK.  Later, the round-the-world journey would end in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on July 26, 2016.

How far we’ve come, from digging out rocks and burning them for heat, to capturing electrons from the sky, and using them to fly.  And yet, I had just witnessed, in a single day, our guarded grip of a trusted and faithful coal-fired legacy, only to be amazed at the birth of new and innovative applications of existing technology.  The #futureisclean.

To view all related galleries for this whirlwind energy technology tour, see the Western States Energy Infrastructure set of galleries at Climate Photography.  Prints and downloads are available.

An Infinite Scream Passing Through Nature

 

002_3397

Smokestacks of the PNM San Juan Generating Station, near Farmington, NM, behind a lattice tower electrical power transmission line that carries electricity generated here to America’s power grid. The San Juan Power Plant, the Four Corners Generating Station, and accompanying coal mines have a long history of pollution and controversy. Although the Republican Party may desire to re-frame the discussion about coal as a “clean” energy fuel (stating such in their latest policy platform without a single question), the facts of the matter say the opposite- coal kills through “dirty” pollution in many ways: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-coal-kills/.

What does it mean to derive electricity that we use, including myself, from fossil fuel deposits?  I’ve often thought about this question.  I’ve thought about it singularly, as in, using fossil fuels alone.  I’ve thought about it comparatively, as in, compared to other, renewable, sources of energy.  I’ve thought about it historically, presently, and futuristically.  I’ve thought about it fatalistically, whimsically, and deterministically.   There are many ways to consider humanity’s love affair with Earth-extracted energy sources.

This time, I’m considering the question artistically.  Now, I’m certainly no art expert, but I enjoy art.  As a photographer, I make artistic decisions constantly in producing an image.  So there come times when artistic comparisons come to mind while photographing or writing, as here, about my photographic subjects.  So while researching the story behind my set of images on the subject of the San Juan Generating Station and the Four Corners Power Plant, on opposing sides of Highway 64 in northwestern New Mexico near Farmington, and knowing of other area fossil fuel problems, the impression that research led to was Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

What led to this disturbing image of a virtually genderless figure writhing in a screaming agony at the edge of nature?  When I read what the artist wrote about his own inspiration for this image, I couldn’t help but feel as if, after my research, I felt the same about the views I’ve seen in these images.  That view? A mental image, or video, if you will, of the “cradle to grave,” or “life-cycle,” of the coal that fires the boilers of these two power plants.  When I read this…

“I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun went down – I felt a gust of melancholy – suddenly the sky turned a bloody red. I stopped, leaned against the railing, tired to death – as the flaming skies hung like blood and sword over the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends went on – I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I felt a vast infinite scream through nature.” –BBC, accessed 7/29/2016.

…a passage from Munch’s diary on 1/22/1892, I, too, felt that vast (great, or other translations exist) infinite scream through modern nature.

And it all begins with us.  “We” start by mining for coal, extract it from the earth, pile it in a series of stages in preparation for transit, load it into a train, drop it at a power plant, shove it onto a conveyor belt, pulverize it, atomize it, and burn it.  But that is not the death of extracted coal.  This was just the scarring cut into nature that becomes a legacy liability, the initial scream of nature’s shock, thundering through a supercritical furnace.

Only after that momentary burn, the split-second flame of the coal particles when we humans derive our intended use of heat from this matter, does the plummeting abyss of an “infinite scream through nature” curdle through the ages.  Coal is matter, made up from star dust, just like you and me, so coal is bound by the law of conservation of mass, whereby the billions of global tons of coal going into power plants come out as equally billions of tons of atmospheric gasses, particles, wastewater, or ash.  Once those atomized coal particles have released their flamed energy as heat, which boiled the water into pressurized steam that turned the turbine generator to create electricity, our centuries-old technology, then the re-organized matter, – ash and gasses – get processed through the coal plant’s regulated inner-workings to separate out the various “waste.”

002_3349

The PNM San Juan Generating Station was partially closed in a December 2015 decision. “Under the final agreement reached last month, two of the plant’s four units will be retrofitted with emission-reduction technology, and the remaining two units will be retired by the end of 2017. Doing so will bring the plant into compliance with a host of federal air standards, including the Clean Power Plan, which targets greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.” -Inside Climate News, accessed 7/29/2016 (https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27012016/new-mexico-coal-plant-partial-shutdown-san-juan-generating-station-pnm).

The scream bellows through the smokestacks of the plant into the sky as carbon dioxide, mercury, sulfur, and many other particles, mixing with other particles in the environment to create carbonic acid, methylmercury, sulfuric acid, and others.  The scream aches through ash piles that are landfilled nearby, with the potential and actual examples of screaming coal ash waste breaking through barriers and laying waste to communities and rivers, if it doesn’t simply whimper a poisonous scream as a toxic leak into the groundwater below where it is stored.  The scream flows out of the plant’s pipelines of hot water into nearby lakes and streams as selenium toxicity, among many other potential poisons.

The infinite scream of coal passing through nature becomes compounded by the screaming echoes of poisons in our environment, from greenhouse gasses from the coal mine methane released during mining, to the carbon dioxide that circles the planet through the atmosphere, and often mirrors the “bloody red” smoggy sky of Munch’s masterpiece.

002_3481 & 002_3494

Sandra Lasso casts her line to fish in Morgan Lake, a reservoir built to supply water to the APS Four Corners Power Plant (background), and a fish already caught and preserved alive on a line in the water. Although a sign at one entrance to the reservoir says “no swimming allowed,” that doesn’t stop people from fishing. Families like Sandra’s, with mother Claudia Westerbeek, Godfather Orlando Flores, and children William and Natalia Montes all having an otherwise nice day at the lake, are completely unaware of the hazards posed by the power plant. “According to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, the Four Corners Steam Electric Station is the fourth-highest producer of toxins in the state.” – “Santa Fe Reporter, accessed 7/29/2016 (http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-11363-saying-no-to-coal.html#sthash.6SELRi4b.dpuf).

The infinite scream of coal poisons pass through water locally, into the biosphere and bio-accumulates, even bio-magnifying through multiple flora and fauna, including you and mewith dire consequences, and continues running downstream into ever-larger bodies of water.  In fact, the infinity symbol itself is closed as the scream of carbon and mercury in the sky are absorbed and deposited into otherwise distant and isolated oceans, lakes, rivers, and forests, and intermingling with the land and water-based screams of pollution saturated from below.  A chorus of infinite screams.  These return again to the sky through warm seas generating hurricanes, or burning forests returning mercury and carbon to the sky.

And the infinite scream also sits there, bottled, in a heap of coal ash, waiting for a barrier weakness to release its wail.  Forever.  Coal has no grave.  Coal is the zombie we created to roam the planet indefinitely in its many burned forms.

No amount of “scrubbers” or “bag houses” can completely muffle this scream through nature, because no current technology muffles all pollution streaming out of a fossil-fueled power plant.  Though, to end the scream, many try using the Judicial system to find an end.  I’ll bet every trembling child, adult, and senior with asthma or other respiratory ailments caused by these power plants feel the “blood and sword” of the “flaming skies” with every wheezing, painful, tired to death, and anxiety-ridden breath.

Munch’s melancholy is our reality, if you pay attention to the screams of coal, or any non-renewable energy source, through nature, through us.  We become the unidentifiable, the afflicted, the forever-changed figure in his masterpiece, if you hear the scream and know your place in what we’re doing to nature 24 hours a day as these coal-fired power plants operate.  Or you could be the ambivalent, un-hearing, oblivious background figures walking along and enjoying a pretty sunset as you play Pokemon Go on your coal-fired cell phone.

 

For the full gallery of images from the Farmington, NM area power plants and coal mines, go to Climate Photography.