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Friday, September 6, 2019

Weekly Post, "Fish Farms: Forming My World View Through Aquaculture in 1977" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Fish Farms:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1977, I was commissioned by Elisabeth Mann Borgese to help do research, interviews, and take photographs for a book she was writing about worldwide aquaculture. It would be published by Harry N. Abrams, one of the world’s premier publishing houses, famous for their beautiful books. It would also involve around-the-world travel to 8 countries, and some of the most remarkable places I would ever visit. SEAFARM: The Story of Aquaculture was a very successful publication featuring over 100 of my images, and an exhibit I assembled with support from Nikon, became a Smithsonian traveling exhibition for 6-yrs., viewed by over 6-million people.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Friday, August 30, 2019

FISHFARMS:  Forming My World View through Aquaculture in 1977, #71:
Fish Farms #71:  As Elisabeth, our host/guides, and I, begin our return to Bangkok, we intend to do in one day downriver, what took several days as we came upriver. This run starts early in the day, and it is actually very nice to be out on the Chao Phraya in the cool air of the morning. Also, we are traveling at a greater speed heading back, because we are not “sight-seeing” any longer. Although I try not to spend too much film on things unrelated to our aquaculture research, there are no further pictures to be offered regarding fish, so I enjoy just observing the diverse river life, as we pass quickly by. Like most things you experience for a second time, I begin notice further conditions of life around the river, that I did not see when we first passed through. Most of these families along the shore, live OVER the water, and do not possess actual land. It makes them extremely vulnerable to flooding, and it exposes them to pollution in the water, that grows more apparent the closer we get to Bangkok. In the above image, the clothes being hung up to dry have just been washed in the river, and the women hanging them up, also bathed in it.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Weekly Post, "My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin" by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My NEA Funded Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

In 1988, I was awarded an Artist-in-Residency at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. This was a small body of work created over three years, and eventually exhibited once at the university. Some images have been printed, but most have never been seen. I hope you enjoy these photographs. I think they are among some of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  ~Robert Glenn Ketchum

Thursday, August 22, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #43:
Wisconsin #43:  In the last post, I have worked my way to the creek that crosses the UWisconsin field station property to see last light on a clear fall day. I have visited this location many times during the multiple visits of my Artist-in-Residence, and I have made some of my best images in this particular part of the habitat (posts #7, #10, #23, #24). This evening I have bush-wacked to any area of large, overhanging trees, and as you can see (last post), the sun is behind the leaves, and the creek is barely visible. I am up a small embankment, so I thought to change my POV, I would go down next to the creek, walk under the tree branches, and shoot the the leaves illuminated in the opposite direction. “An Ecstasy of Contrasts” is one of my favorite of all of those images I made during my residency, and it has been one of my best selling prints. I thought it a great closing post for this blog. I would like to thank Marlin Johnson for getting me involved with this project, and being my congenial host and advisor while I “worked in the fields.” I would also like to thank the University of Wisconsin-Waukhesha and the NEA for providing the support for my Artist-in-Residence. I hope many have enjoyed the rich beauty of the Kettle Moraine (and all of its weeds - LOL), that I have tried to interpret here.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #42:
Wisconsin #42:  For the last two images of this blog, I give you a place much visited, and a moment of seeing it as never before. During my NEA-funded Artist-in-Residence at the UWisconsin biological field station in the Kettle Moraine, the property I have been photographing has an array of micro-niche habitats, each of which I visit and re-visit over the course of my stays. At the “high” end of the terrain are the tallgrass-oak savanna and surrounding forests, the latter of which are at the edge of this property. At the “low” end of this landscape a stream flows through in passage to the nearby lake. It is down in the lower part of the property where the presence of the water has made it more diverse, jungle-like, and hard to get around and through. For me it is that complex diversity that adds to the visual beauty, and offers layers of both color AND texture (posts #7, #10, #23, #24). For reasons of alignment, in the fall season, the trees and meadows around creekside are often bathed in the last light of the day, which provides for further visual theatrics, so I always make it a point to check in as the sun sets. Throughout all of my blogs, I repeatedly mention how the Point-of-View (POV) can dynamically, and dramatically, change a photograph, so never assume to have the shot without looking around a bit, and taking a few more images from other positions.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #41:
Wisconsin #41:  Some of the oaks on the UWisconsin property stand out because they stand alone from others in the tallgrass. Others do it with their sheer size, having crowns and arching branches that cover hundreds of feet. ALL of them, however, stand out, quite literally, with their fall color show. As fall days grow more prone to rainy weather, storms that pass through with minimal winds and gentle, long rains, do not strip leaves from the trees, or flatten the grasses, and it turns the terrain of the field station into a spectacle of saturated colors, and textures. Besides being among the most brilliantly colorful, the oaks serve themselves in a different way to make their flame even more radiant. In the enduring rains that last long enough to truly soak things, the oak trunks turn so dark, as to appear black, providing a perfect foil against which the leaves glow. When all of this flows in graceful waves during a gentle breeze, it is pretty transcendent.

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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Thursday, August 01, 2019

University of Wisconsin: Artist In Residence, #40:
Wisconsin #40:  This image expresses for me the richness and beauty of the oak - tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Snow has not yet come to the UWisconsin field station where I am an NEA-funded Artist-in-Residence. As a consequence, the dried remnants of the summer’s tallgrass prairie bloom are still standing tall, and I have to climb a small mound to get a POV above them. Although it is not raining at the moment, it has been doing so for several hours, very lightly. This has left me with perfect conditions - a bright overcast with little wind, and a lot of water saturated vegetation that has not been beaten down. In particular, although the tallgrass is not as dramatically colorful as the oak, the subtlety of the color tones in it, brought about by the rain, are spectacular, and provide a perfect foil to the flaming oak. It is a nice day for a walk in the drizzle, especially if you can see above the grass (this is one of the reasons Native Americans in the plains found horses to be of advantage). Tetonka!

photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2019, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd

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NRDC: Pebble Mine Environmental Review Falls Flat by Joel Reynolds

Pebble Mine Environmental Review Falls Flat

August 21, 2019
by Joel Reynolds, Western Director, Senior Attorney, Marine Mammals, Oceans Division, Nature Program
NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council

Pebble CEO’s enthusiastic spin fails to mask widespread criticism of data gaps, unsupported conclusions, and failure to meet industry standard practice.

When Tom Collier talks, it’s sensible to be skeptical.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Trustees for Alaska Needs Our Help

The Arctic got hot early this year. Klawock hit 70 degrees Fahrenheit in March, the earliest 70-degree day ever recorded in Alaska.

Arctic sea ice has hit a record low. Temperatures surged 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above average across the Arctic Ocean. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 415 parts per million for the first time in human history last weekend--the highest level in at least 800,000 years, and probably over 3 million.

We face a time of crisis, yet live in an age of distraction. We need to focus on how to make the changes we need to survive, yet we bounce from tweet to insult to faux pas to disinformation to GIF to tweet again.

The internet peddles in distraction, according to Nicholas Carr in his book, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains." It's not just that the online world distracts us, but that it alters how we think so that we remain in the shallows of thought.

Distraction is now the tool, the method, the tactic, the commodity, and the ultimate goal. The business of distraction seeks your attention, not depth of content or deep thinking.

The same goes for our political and social systems. Those with and in power have latched onto distraction as the means to holding power. They bump and derail thoughts and conversations like pick pockets exploiting a crowded street. They throw shade on people whose ideas and solutions threaten their power. They fund disturbance to keep people from unifying around their connections, common purposes and goals.

But we need deep solutions, not shallow ones.

The culture of distraction may alter our brains, but we have the choice to not let our brains be duped. Each of us chooses what we want to spend our time absorbing and lifting up. Each of us can turn our attention to where our values lie.

My values do not align with the Trump administration's, so I don't need to put attention on his tweets. There is very little that's meaningful in his 280-character blasts anyway--they're driven by his need for attention and to distract from his misdeeds and what's important.

We need to be mindful of how we spend our time and energy. We need to set time aside to turn off the chatter. We need to concentrate on the climate crisis and all the interconnected challenges on our doorstep. The question isn't whether we should reduce emissions, stop the burning of fossil fuels, invest in sustainable energy, and support those on the front lines of violent storms, erosion, floods and droughts.

Those things are no-brainers. We must think deeply and act quickly to address climate change. Take a break from your online world and demands to focus on solutions. Mother Earth needs you!!

Vicki Clark
Executive Director
Trustees of Alaska
PS: Your support of Trustees for Alaska is critical now more than ever.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction

The 40th Anniversary of Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auction will be held on Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Google Los Angeles.

"Say No To The Pebble Mine"
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
26” x 36”
photograph, LexJet Metallic photographic print, face-mounted on 1/4” plexiglass to hang as is, 2019

This annual event brings thousands of artists, art enthusiasts and collectors together to help raise over $850,000 to help provide high-quality comprehensive health care to 27,000 low-income, homeless, undocumented, and otherwise uninsured people. Nearly fifty years ago, we started with one clinic in Venice. Thanks to our dedicated artists and patrons, the clinic has now expanded to 12 sites in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Inglewood, and Culver City – as well as street outreach to homeless populations from the Westside of Los Angeles to Downtown LA.

Monday, May 6, 2019

NRDC to World Bank: “Location, Community, and Climate-Smart”

May 06, 2019

by Joel Reynolds,
Western Director, Senior Attorney, Marine Mammals, Oceans Division, Nature Program

At last week’s launch of World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Facility, NRDC elevates importance of place and community, citing reckless Pebble Mine as poster child for “wrong mine, wrong place.” Last Wednesday in Washington, D.C., I was pleased to attend a gathering at the World Bank accompanying the launch of its climate-smart mining initiative—a public-private initiative based on the imperative that the realities of climate change and the accelerating transition to a green energy economy must become a central focus of present and future decision-making in the global mining sector.

Monday, April 22, 2019

HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine by Joel Reynolds, NRDC

HELP WANTED: Hypothetical Partner for the Pebble Mine

April 22, 2019

Joel Reynolds, Natural Resources Defense Council

Canadian owner of widely condemned Bristol Bay mine desperately seeks new partner with a few billion to spare. Financial, social, and environmental indifference required. No need to apply if you’re fazed by economic infeasibility, relentless local opposition, pervasive risk, and potentially catastrophic social and environmental impacts.

It’s no secret that Northern Dynasty Minerals (aka the Pebble Partnership)—the sole remaining partner in the embattled Pebble Mine proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay—is in urgent need of a new financial partner. To be sure, after four of the world’s major mining companies (Mitsubishi Corporation, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and First Quantum Minerals) have walked away from the project since 2011, it’s a tough sell.

At last year’s general meeting of shareholders, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen expressed confidence they can make a deal. The only question, he told me, is “what deal”—that is, what terms will be required to entice a buy-out or at least a new major partner. With the company’s history of failed partnerships in mind, I began to speculate about what the profile of such a partner, if indeed there is one to be found, might look like.

Here, in no particular order, are some essential characteristics:

(1) Unconcerned by financial risk
Contrary to industry practice—and despite repeated requests—Pebble has refused to release an economic feasibility analysis for its latest mine plan, now under permit review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When asked by the Army Corps’ consultant AECOM to produce information on Pebble’s “cost/feasibility,” the company refused, citing a Canadian securities regulation whose purpose is to prevent securities fraud relating to mining properties. When pressed by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (“BBNC”) last December, Pebble’s CEO Tom Collier, too, declined, explaining that such an analysis “remains on our to-do list.” Just this month, pressed by E&E News, he demurred once again because “an economic analysis is not a required piece of the permitting puzzle.”

But there is a more likely, more compelling explanation:

Based on publicly available information and Northern Dynasty’s own assumptions in a 2011 feasibility analysis of potential mine scenarios, a former longtime Rio Tinto mining expert submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers his own analysis of the project’s economics, concluding that the project is “almost certainly not economically feasible,” with a strongly negative net present value of -$3 billion.

(2) Unconcerned by relentless opposition in Alaska
As each of the major mining companies that abandoned the project learned the hard way, the people who live in the region don’t want the Pebble Mine. There is overwhelming local opposition, registered for years, by Yup’ik, Dena’ina , Alutiiq and other indigenous peoples, and a survey released by BBNC found that 81 percent of its native shareholders strongly oppose the mine. In addition, more than 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents and 85 percent of commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay oppose the mine.

In addition to tribal governments, the list of regional organizations actively opposing the mine includes BBNC (a multi-billion dollar native-owned development corporation representing more than 10,000 native shareholders), the Bristol Bay Native Association (representing all 31 tribes in Bristol Bay), the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay, the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, Salmon State, Katmai Service Providers, and many more.

The latest state-wide poll, undertaken by the Alaska State Senate, found continuing state opposition at 61 percent, following closely the 65 percent statewide opposition reflected by support for the 2014 Bristol Bay Forever Initiative.

(3) Unconcerned by harm to the greatest wild salmon fishery on Earth and the region’s economic engine
After three years of twice peer-reviewed scientific study, as well as public comment that supported EPA’s process by a staggering 98 percent (and 84 percent from Alaskans state-wide), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) concluded in 2014 that the proposed mine would result in “significant and unacceptable adverse effects” to important fishery areas in the Bristol Bay watershed, that the Pebble Mine would have "significant" impacts on fish populations and streams surrounding the mine site, and that a tailings dam failure would have "catastrophic" effects on the region.

Against this scientific record and all common sense, Pebble disagrees, suggesting to its captured investors and credulous federal regulator that gouging a massive open pit mine into the tundra at the top of Bristol Bay’s watershed may be good for the fishery (from Pebble’s Collier to BBNC in December—citing “our sophisticated models”—the project will have a “potentially positive impact on fish habitat . . .”; and from Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen at last year’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders, the value of the Bristol Bay fishery will “actually be enhanced” by development of the Pebble Mine).

(4) Unconcerned by political risk that Trump Administration approval would be reversed by a future Administration
It is undeniable that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt threw the Pebble Mine a life-line when, in May 2017, after a one hour meeting with the project’s CEO, he announced, in disregard of the multi-year scientific process described above, that the agency would abandon its efforts to limit the size, scope, and risk associated with the Pebble Mine. Science and advice from agency technical staff had nothing to do with his decision, since he apparently consulted neither.

By contrast, in December 2017, former EPA Administrators for Presidents Nixon, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush joined with former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in condemning the Pebble Mine as “fundamentally flawed” and the “wrong mine in the wrong place.”

The previous year, in September 2016, the World Conservation Congress, including representatives from over 120 nations, virtually unanimously urged the U.S. government to deny a permit for the Pebble Mine.

(5) Unconcerned by partnering with a company that has a long history of failed partnerships
Northern Dynasty was created to develop the Pebble Mine, and it has no other assets. In 2010, it had a formidable list of partners and major mining company investors. All have left the project—Mitsubishi in 2011, Anglo American in 2013, Rio Tinto in 2014, and First Quantum Minerals in 2018. Since 2011, Northern Dynasty has itself been trying unsuccessfully to sell its own interest in the project.

(6) Unconcerned by generous compensation levels of Pebble’s corporate leadership despite consistently poor corporate performance
While Northern Dynasty’s stock has declined steadily in value from over $21.00 per share in 2011 to less than $0.60 per share today, Pebble’s corporate leadership continues to be very well compensated, especially Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier. In 2017, for example, Collier received total compensation of CAN $2,357,744 and stands to gain a US $12.5 million bonus upon early completion of the Army Corps permitting process. That same year, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen received total compensation of CAN $2,118,486, and the company’s Chairman of the Board Robert Dickinson was compensated CAN $339,570.

(7) Unconcerned by a wide range of significant reputational and other risks, including the risk of protracted litigation
For over a decade, the Pebble Mine has been the focus of relentless opposition led by the people of Bristol Bay, supported by a wide range of state-wide, national, and even international stakeholders that includes the commercial and sport fishing industries, conservation groups, sportsmen, hunters, and businesses.

This diverse opposition has steadily increased public awareness and state, national, and international condemnation of Pebble, and it has committed to pursue all administrative and legal challenges for as long as it takes to defeat this uniquely reckless and irresponsible mining project.

(8) Unconcerned by operational risks and remediation costs
The multi-billion-dollar cost to construct the massive open pit and operate the mine – still undefined by Pebble for its current mine plan – has almost certainly been underestimated. But without question the technical challenges of construction and operation in the remote, hydrologically complex, and seismically active upper Bristol Bay watershed would be enormous.

In addition, to transport gold and copper from the mine site to market, Pebble will have to construct and operate massive infrastructure, including a marine terminal in Cook Inlet, roads, pipelines and even infrastructure in Lake Iliamna to support a preposterous southern all-season ferry route across the lake through pristine wilderness to Amakdedori Beach on Kamishak Bay in Cook Inlet. To construct roads, Northern Dynasty Minerals must acquire access rights from area landowners—access rights that some of these very landowners have vowed to oppose, including BBNC.

The list could go on. But the range of significant obstacles to, and risks of association with, the Pebble Mine is unprecedented – financial, social, environmental, political, reputational, regulatory, legal, and operational.

And while, as Northern Dynasty’s Thiessen has said, there may indeed be a financial “deal” to be made to perpetuate this international pariah of a mining project, there can be no doubt that any new partner or major investor will inevitably and deservedly be tarred with the global condemnation that, more than any other mining project anywhere, has justifiably been focused on the Pebble Mine.

We will never relent in our support for the people of Bristol Bay in defense of their way of life, their children, and their future.

Take action now.

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