Archive for ‘Photographs’

October 2, 2018

Seeds of Summer

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September 1, 2018

Under the Maples

Under a bridge of Maples

Bemidji Maples

It was a few years ago that my good friend and I traveled to Bemidji State Park.   It was here that we witnessed what was one of the most beautiful fall scenes in my lifetime.  As we hiked through the forest she stopped to take this picture of two maples that had met making an archway over our path covered with maple saplings.  She was a lover of trees.

As we hiked further there was a child running down this same path with such joy that it was hard not to get caught up in the moment, on what would normally have been good occasion for another photo.  That experience continues to be a poignant reminder of the importance of these moments and being present in every one.

My dear friend is gone now but not her memory, and the love that she brought to those around her.  She lived into her 98th year and made the best of every day in joy tempered with the wisdom of someone who had known life and its losses as well.  May we all find the courage to live our lives as thoughtfully.

August 30, 2018

AMENDMENT V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Is our criminal and civil justice system standing true to the intent and meaning of the fifth amendment?

Consider that it did not discriminate between citizen and non-citizen, immigrant and undocumented immigrant, nor did it dilineate race or creed, male or female, young or old.

Though our forefathers were imperfect, white, privileged, male and of a time and mind that swayed their preferences, they wrote the cornerstone of our democracy and the Constitution of the United States in our Bill  of Rights. It stands to reason then that for the foundation of this democracy to continue to sanctify our rights, we must be involved at all levels, levels that work naturally for each of us in individual ways that are accepting and real, inclusive and life-affirming.

As Washington wrote:

Vindicate our rights with firmness  and cultivate peace with  sincerity.

We may not agree with others, but it is another’s actions or ideas that are debatable, not their personage, not their rights to disagree or be true to themselves in ways that are also non-violent.  Respect in all  scenarios is essential for peace and understanding, so that we can move to vindicate rights for all.

In order to affirm these rights for one, they must be affirmed for all or this cannot be called, in truth, a democracy.

August 12, 2018

Old Elm on Xerxes Avenue

There have been some beautiful old trees taken to make room for new construction in our neighborhoods while, at the same time, old ones are dying of natural causes.  Does it make sense to take a tree before it is diseased because it might get a disease or suffer pestilence, or choose sites or routes for new construction where old growth trees are thriving? Will we ever learn to make better decisions concerning our environment and our long term welfare?

When we could choose to live humbly and sustainably but don’t, what does this say about our priorities and our long term chance of survival?

July 3, 2018

Old Crabapple in Summer

July 3, 2018

Water Lilies

June 29, 2018

Old Bones

June 29, 2018

Rose Blooming

June 29, 2018

Pond Cypress

May 8, 2018

Two Sculptures at the Minnesota Arboretum

May 8, 2018

Cafesjian’s Carousel / Como Park Zoo

 

May 8, 2018

The Indian Hunter and His Dog 1926 by Paul Manship

As photographed in Como Park before renovation and return to Cochran Park

May 1, 2018

Olympic National Park Beach

May 1, 2018

Little Red Tree

Little Red Tree North Shore MN

May 1, 2018

Duluth in the 1970’s

April 30, 2018

Will respect for women come when mothers have opportunity enough to respect themselves?

As a woman and a mother I’ve made my mistakes and I have blamed myself perpetually for these and more as a result of some early training.  It had always been my duty to know better, to do better, to be there and to take whatever came without expecting much appreciation, affection or attention. Through much protest, not a willing candidate, I was responsible, nevertheless, without the experience or understanding, as an eldest child of four girls.  The details of this kind of training vary with the multitude of situations women find themselves in; but the result seems to be the same, a lack of self worth, though we all manage this reality in different ways.

Our environments, those in our family, school, social groups, worship … echo the whole of a societal belief system and cannot be missed, no matter how we try to ignore the messaging.  If you hold your head a little too high wearing the wrong sex or skin color, speaking a foreign language, dressing “inappropriately” … there’s a punishment to suit each infraction.  It takes an “elephant hide” to bear the burden of living independently and well.  What courage and what truths must be spoken to get us past the petty charade we live today, where race, sex and origin of birth dehumanize those no less human than the rest?

On this journey as a woman, my biggest  blunder was not showing respect for myself in front of my own children.  I talked about respect, love and kindness, fought for my rights and then just as quickly disregarded my own best interests. How does a daughter learn to respect herself if her own mother failed in that aspect?  How does a son fully realize his own potential for love when his mother failed in hers?

Our environments are what we make them, it is said; but which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  How do we create better environments unless we are willing to change ourselves?  My revelations came much too late.  My children have managed; but not as well as they might have with a mother aware of her own potential, not as a woman but as an individual.

When will we stop categorizing and cataloging people by the color of their skin, their sex, their body type, their socio-economic status, and start looking at each one as an individual with his or her own set of potentials.  What might we discover?  How much better to have all working together pushing and pulling this taffy of a world to better shape it for the future?  When will we stop trying to sterilize and restrict what creation has given as a challenge?  Why do we seem set on tweaking the rules to suit a handful of people who are not up to the whole of it?

A woman should have as much to say in her environment as any, given that creation has chosen her to carry the next generation.  What kind of a world might we have when each and every mother has opportunity enough to demonstrate a healthy respect for herself in the life she shares with her children?

Perhaps this is just a beautiful dream; but I cannot help but wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

April 25, 2018

A garden to remember

April 19, 2018

Hallowed Halls

 

April 17, 2018

With small steps we change

The Vietnam war was raging and boys were being drafted into a war that was, for the first time, coming into the living rooms of Americans via television.  So many men who fought have come home from wars in the past wondering if the war portrayed in the media was the same war they knew.  This was said after WWII and so many before; but Vietnam was different … different because our eyes beheld in real time what our hearts knew to be the awful truth.  The draft forced a moral imperative on so many, for survival.

From 1967 to 1968, I worked as a VISTA volunteer in South Dakota, after one year in college.  That year  saw the assassinations of both Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King while President Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war provoked more  and more protests.  There was a great deal of hope that these protests would change the course of the war, that love would rule and the world would be better for it.

I found a place helping establish resources in poor communities around Rapid City, Head Start and the like.  There was a sense that with the necessary information and with good will anything could be accomplished.  It seemed obvious to me that kindness and a willingness to see beyond our own immediate dilemmas, not war, would yield better societies.  Was I naive?  Were we?

After all the protests and the dreams, the broken promises and the lies, we have more wars, more weapons, more death and destruction at a time of major scientific achievement.  We claim to have a democracy when money buys our politicians and the will of the people waits a beggar at the door.  Major climactic events destroy our coastlines and inner sanctuaries, flooding islands and threatening our homes and our ways of living.  Even so, moneyed interests trump all else.

It doesn’t seem to matter to the power elite that the pollution of our water, our air, our land will eventually affect us all for generations to come.  The rich and the poor are born of the same well.  Whispers in the corridors and between the lines seem to point to the “must never say” problem of too many people.

Reproduction, after all, is a necessity for survival of the species; and the healthiest among us, rich or poor, smart or not, know the playbook well.  The only problem with the prospect of limiting our numbers is that no one knows the magic bullet.  Blind with our own tribalistic views we cannot seem to see beyond ourselves to a greater view.   Our solutions often seem nihilistic and narrow or much too broad to be practical.

So much to do and so little time.  In spite of this, panic is not an option.  We need to think meditatively and peacefully to awaken a sense of pragmatism and one that will bridge the divide between our tribal natures and the unlimited well of our conscious and subconscious minds.  Where to start?  It seems that baby steps might be the wisest as we move fluidly into our best solution.

I remember the New Orleans teacher who told our class that Kenner Park would soon be integrated.  He was denegrating the whole proposal and blacks to boot as he swung his richly, black leathered-feet back and forth with his every word.   I could look no higher than his shoes out of disgust.  It was obvious that the opportunities were unequal, every lunch period when I would sit on the curb across from the one room bungalow that served black children through many grades. The crisis that was integration raged on for a while in New Orleans for quite some time.

It was not the first time I saw the injustice as a child.  In Caracas and in Maracaibo, Venezuela had its share of poverty and racial disparity.  While the rich lived behind barred windows and doors, the poor lived in barios and on the streets with little to eat and even less opportunity.  Education was always a tool to raise the few up over the many and the price too dear for the many poor.  Children with swollen bellies too often looking in on our play through cyclone fences and barbed wire.  Old men eating out of cans for their meals.  Meat hanging from hooks surrounded with flies and dogs running wild in the streets only to be killed for a meal.

Even today as I look on schools in our richer areas of Minneapolis, I see the disparity still after over six decades of integration and almost that many of busing.  White children given the opportunity in the best public schools over the poorer schools, reserved for people of color and the poor.  Education it seems is still too dear for the many poor and the power elite have yet to understand that what we do to these our poorest we do to ourselves.  We are all family and the human species will be the worse for this kind of shortsightedness.

How many of these young people have the potential to find a solution that others might miss?  How much better a world of diversity?  What would we be without it?  I, for one, would be bored to tears.

With small steps we change and with small steps we will be more able to see the potential before us.  Giving every child the opportunity to thrive and to grow in awareness one by one, we make a species that is more resilient to change and more conducive to sustainable communities; and war, no longer the tool it has become.

 

April 17, 2018

Milkweed

April 10, 2018

A Winter’s Walk

winters_walk

March 31, 2018

Gardens of Trees

 

March 31, 2018

A Family of Penguins

March 31, 2018

Sentry

March 31, 2018

Snow Monkeys

March 31, 2018

Mountain Gorillas

 

March 31, 2018

Sea Creatures

March 31, 2018

Prairie Dogs

March 31, 2018

Cousin

March 31, 2018

Ostrich Smile

February 8, 2018

NorthMet permits update

Information on comments and the process for Polymet’s NorthMet mining permits is located at the MPCA and DNR links below:

MPCA’s NorthMet Project Webpage

DNR’s NorthMet Comment Portal

Links to four permits open to comment and deadlines for comments:

DNR Permit to Mine … open until March 6, 2018

MPCA NorthMet Air Quality Permit … open until March 16, 2018

MPCA NorthMet Water Quality Permit … open until March 16, 2018

MPCA NorthMet Draft 401 Certification (wetlands) … open until March 16, 2018

 

As I posted on August 20, 2017:

“A copper sulfide mine in the Arrowhead of Minnesota will change the meaning of “north woods” as we know it.”

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Over a century’s toll of mining iron ore in the uplands of the Laurentian Divide:

For the sake of our waters and the northern ecology of this priceless watershed, please send your comments.

January 16, 2018

Footprints

Our steps take us many places in our short, fairly eventful lives.  We brave the elements and the various courses essentially as though we have a choice.

I have spent most of my life believing that I had a choice, that each course before me was created anew by that choice and my will to make it happen.  I never gave much credence to some grand plan or destiny,  ordained by the stars, by God, by a greater power.  Life seemed a grand frontier, an open plain waiting for each one of us, depending upon our will.

Silly me.  We can see but not understand.  We can be made to look away or excuse what we see.  The truth is often hidden from our innocent eyes.  In my young life, there was poverty before me, all around in the city streets of New Orleans, Maracaibo, Caracas, South Dakota, Houston, and in towns around California, especially visible closer to the border … and now in Minneapolis, where I have spent almost fifty years.

What happens to young children when they have only their wills to get them through a life of poverty, a life without good education or opportunities to lift up and broaden their perspectives, their choices?  What is the greater part of society missing when this happens?  We all suffer.

Does a child in this kind of situation have a choice?  Do any of us have a choice?  Our environments set our choices for us much of our lives.  It is easy for a man or woman of means to say we have choices.  It seems so obvious to someone who has options, opportunities and a hand up in life, all of one’s life … someone with money, with time and people who love and support them.  It’s not a given to those without.

The will to survive is a powerful and necessary ingredient in our lives.  It can make us saints or criminals, and most often it makes us products of our environment.  What else could be expected?

When women and men enter lives of prostitution, for instance, are they not products of their environment?  Why does anyone enter “the life” selling that most precious of commodities, their spirit, their bodies to be used and abused by others?  What has been done to a man who would buy or sell another human for profit or pleasure?  What kind of choice is this?  It is not the person, but the environment, that needs profound change.

I finally understood that so much in our lives is determined for us by our environments, and that understanding is necessary to change society for the better.  We need to understand that many people have few options and therefore enter lives that they would rather not, if only they were given a better playing field.  Treating the symptoms will never cure the dis-ease.

I found that my own choices were determined not only by my own potential, but initially and essentially by my environment.  I was lucky in many ways, had the education, the mother and father who loved me so perfectly imperfectly, the experiences that broadened my perspectives and gave me an understanding of the life before me.

How many children are we losing every day, how many lost opportunities for a better world?  How many beauties are being lost to a world with no vision?  When will this change?  When will we open our eyes wide open and understand that every child deserves to be loved; and put that understanding in action providing the best educational opportunities we can give them and lives with options.

Things need to change holistically.  Love needs to be our profound all-encompassing business for the betterment of all society and the love of beauty as we take our steps through this life.

January 10, 2018

What would be a particularly bad place for a highly toxic copper sulfide mine?

If we were to search the entire globe for a place that would result in more devastation to the natural world and to world class water systems, we might be hard pressed to find a more damaging prospect than the Arrowhead of Minnesota.  This region is located:

  1. At a recharge area in a diverse and complex geological formation where toxins from a mine could discharge at unknown places anywhere from a mile to 100 miles from the source in any direction.
  2.  In an aquifer that feeds one of three of the greatest river systems on the North American continent at the extreme headwaters of the St Lawrence Seaway.
  3.  On the doorstep of the world’s most pristine wildernesses, the combined lands and waters of the BWCA and Quetico in the heart of the Rainy River Watershed.
  4. In a community where tourism depends on wilderness.
  5. Upstream from communities that depend upon wild rice, game and recreation, which are all dependent upon clean water, air and an ecosystem without precedent.
  6.  In one of the richest and most ecologically diverse areas in the world.
  7.  At the heart of the Arrowhead in Minnesota’s Great Lakes and Mississippi River flyways where thousands of migrating birds depend annually on the area’s wilderness waters and lands.

In spite of these attributes and many others, this is exactly where the DNR proposes to permit a copper sulfide mine, a mine, which will leave pollution for a minimum of 500 years and may reach the dimensions of the Hull Rust Mine in Hibbing if precedent follows.

Could dimensions of copper-sulfide mining reach the proportions of the Hull Rust Mine in Hibbing Minnesota? Babbitt, a doorway to the BWCA at Birch Lake and the location of the proposed NorthMet copper mine, is located in the Laurentian Uplands, a recharge area for three of the greatest river systems in North America.

The guarantees are many:

  • We need water to survive in its natural state for maximum health .
  • The NorthMet Project and copper mining will pollute the water and land.
  • Filters used in the mining process will change the water’s composition and these filters will also need disposal.
  • Tailings will be stored in an aging earthen “containment” pond, which leaks and leaches and will continue to do so.
  • Waste piles will leach and leak, as well, into the unforeseeable future.
  • Release of toxins into the environment is inevitable through natural processes and accidents.
  • Waste piles and ponds are subject to natural disasters, which cannot be planned for and which have not been fully accounted for in the permitting process.
  • Wetlands will be destroyed through mining processes directly and indirectly.
  • Habitat for wildlife will be degraded.
  • Transportation corridors will spread the toxic effects beyond the mine’s footprint.
  • As water seeks its level, pits will fill with water continuously as long as the pits are in use, thereby mining water as well as rock.
  • Since mining will occur in the Laurentian Highlands, a recharge area for three major watersheds on the North American continent, the risk of water pollution, the risk of damage to artesian wells (contained aquifers) through depressurization, and the risk to more than one watershed is possible.
  • Because the area has multiple substrata at complex, varying depths with bedrock fractures and diverse materials, unknown factors will ultimately determine pathways for copper sulfide mining pollution and these could appear in unexpected places.

  • Damage to these waters will reach in and out of state, and in and out of this country.
  •  The profits will move out of state and out of this country.
  • The jobs will last a relatively short time compared to the 500 years of pollution left behind.
  • As the wilderness goes, so will the wilderness tourism.
  • The responsibility for clean-up will most likely remain in Minnesota as a burden to the taxpayer when the mine is closed and the company dissolved.  Since no corporation can guarantee solvency for 500 years or stay in business for long on charity, what other outcome could be expected?
  • In spite of any guarantees to the contrary, no amount of money will return this unique wilderness to the citizens of Minnesota.
  • The meaning of North Country will be changed forever.

For all of these reasons and more, I object to the NorthMet Project and a copper mine in the Arrowhead of Minnesota.

 

The comment portal is open on Polymet’s permit to mine application until March 6, 2018 at:

https://survey.mn.gov/s.asp?k=151336679796

Text links to the draft permit and outlines as well as information on how to make comments and submissions are located at:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/polymet/permitting/ptm.html

 Please make your comments or objections by March 6, 2018.

For the sake of our wilderness and our water.  Anita

 

 

November 18, 2017

Tundra Swan (Whistler) Migration

November 18, 2017

The Color Was Pink

pink_rose_1937b

November 18, 2017

Yellow Rose

November 14, 2017

Fall Color in Minnesota

November 2, 2017

An Open Letter to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The watersheds of the Mississippi, the Rainy River and the Great Lakes have their source in northern Minnesota, particularly in the Laurentian highlands of the Arrowhead, a wilderness that knows few equals in this regard.  Minnesota citizens, then, have a global responsibility to preserve this vital, rare and important aquifer from exploitation.

For over one hundred years, the state of Minnesota has condoned mining in the Laurentian Divide.  For over one hundred years the Missississippi and the St Louis Rivers, the Great Lakes and the Rainy River watershed have suffered from our failure to see the significance of these waters.  Elevated levels of lead and mercury … not including acid rain from the coal-fired plants supporting mining operations, smelters and other correlated equipment have done their part to interfere with vital natural processes.  Have we learned from our past mistakes?

In spite of this over one-hundred year history of mining in Minnesota and the correlated air and water pollution, failed infrastructure and inadequate protections, the state continues to promote mining activity.  Desperate measures to sustain an industry that will fail, that will pollute vital water reserves, where there can be no adequate protections in this water rich area, in an ecology that has no precedent on Earth, will serve no one in the long term.

Copper mining will destroy our water resources and our one of a kind wilderness in Northern Minnesota.  I was disappointed to have read that you support the NorthMet Project.

Sincerely,

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

 

aquifers surrounding the Babbitt area where Poymet wants to build a copper mine

aquifers surrounding the Babbitt area where Poymet wants to build a copper mine

October 16, 2017

A Touch of Red

October 16, 2017

What would Sigurd say?

 

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Sigurd F Olson believed that beauty could be destroyed by a sound or a thought.  He spent his life championing protection of all wilderness, in particular the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area.  He lived in Ely, Minnesota and built a cabin on Burntside Lake where he meditated and found peace.  He knew that the appreciation of beauty was love at its essence, a profound appreciation of wilderness; and beauty, a necessity for our survival.

In northern Minnesota spans the wilderness he held so dear; and he lived his life in appreciation of wilderness through his writings and his advocacy.  He helped spare the BWCA from an onslaught of interests that would have destroyed it through the construction of roads, permits for motor boats, planes and eventual development. Would he have failed to stand up to copper mining interests?

As Minnesotans and stewards of the Arrowhead, at heart of three of the greatest river systems in North America, we are on a precipice.  What greater security is there than wilderness, clean water and air, the beauty and the silence of untouched wild areas?  International interests, determined to mine copper in the big Stoney, the great Minnesota Arrowhead, seek permission to do so.  Should we open this Pandora’s Box at any price?

Once copper sulfide mining has begun, the entire region, by precedent, will succumb to other like-mines in and surrounding the BWCAW, which lies on this prospect, that of the Duluth Gabbro Complex or the big Stoney.  There are already over a thousand prospecting holes, which have been drilled at the boundary of the BWCAW and along Kawishiwi River and Birch Lake to date.

Estimations through computer modeling have determined that 20 years of the proposed Polymet mine would destroy at minimum 912.5 acres of irreplaceable wetlands at the mining site alone, and as a consequence flora and fauna dependent on these waters, leaving a toxic environment for hundreds of years, perhaps into perpetuity.  The boundaries unknown.

Consider that the St Louis watershed consists of 3,696 square miles of mostly open wetlands and high quality habitat for plants and animals… including, as an example, the home of “100 Mile Swamp” between the two watersheds of Embarrass and Partridge rivers .  St Louis River’s headwaters are located at Seven Beavers Lake near the proposed Hoyt Lakes processing plant and a few miles south of the mining site in corporate Babbitt.  It’s headwaters flow for 179 miles before becoming a 12,000-acre freshwater estuary near Lake Superior, where it enters the body of the Great Lakes.

The mine site will be located in Babbitt, which hosts both the St Louis River watershed and the Rainy River watershed.  Can we be assured that the water in contact with waste rock there and therefore, discharge of sulfuric acid and other contaminants will not be shed into the Rainy River Basin which contains the BWCAW, Voyageurs National Park, Vermilion Lake and River, Crane Lake and others?

The processing center, also, is located in a complicated geological area of the Laurentian Divide at Hoyt Lakes.  The Embarrass River and the Partridge River on either side of this Divide will be affected.  In addition, the Vermilion River watershed is adjacent to the Embarrass River watershed on the north.  What long term effects will be seen here as well?  This is one of many unknowns.

I feel certain that Sigurd Olson would have stood up to copper mining interests.  He would have stood up to interests that threaten to destroy the wilderness of northern Minnesota.  He spoke plainly and with an understanding that the battle goes on forever and that we must all have a hand in protecting wilderness.

Through blasting, transportation corridors, energy needs like the coal fired plant in Silver Bay, water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution … what will be left of this wilderness that we now know as the north woods of Minnesota?  The smallest creatures, insects, fungus, flora, fauna will be poisoned by these mines and this will affect the larger creatures that depend upon them, like birds, deer, wolves, lynx, creatures great and small.

Polymet alone will be applying for over 20 permits.  Included in these are “water appropriation permits”, which is a benign way of saying water mining permits, dam safety permitting, permits for taking endangered species and others needed to make this mine palatable.

For our national security, for the health of this planet, big Stoney of the “mother of waters”, Lake Superior, should be considered of far greater importance than any short term gains that may be had through mining this precious and priceless natural resource.  Please let the National Forest Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Bureau of Land Management know that you do not want the St Louis River watershed and the Great Lakes to serve as a conduit for wastewater from a copper sulfide mine in the Arrowhead.

There are no guarantees but this, that water will find its way to the sea through our Great Lakes from these proposed mining operations.  Are we prepared for the consequences? The health of this planet may be determined by our will to continue the fight.

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2017

Will we trade the infinite for private profit?

hull_rust_mine

Could dimensions of copper-sulfide mining reach the proportions of the Hull Rust Mine in Hibbing Minnesota? Babbitt, a doorway to the BWCA at Birch Lake and the location of the proposed NorthMet copper mine, is located in the Laurentian Uplands, a recharge area for three of the greatest river systems in North America.

Comments submitted to the DNR on September 7, 2017

RE: “NorthMet Water Appropriation”

The guarantees are clear.  The proposed North Met Project will mine tens of millions to over a billion gallons of water every year sent downstream, 10 percent of this untreated, to the Lake Superior Basin.  This permit will allow the mine to pump billions of gallons of water from its site into streams in the St Louis watershed at the extreme headwaters of the St Lawrence Seaway in the Lake Superior Basin.

Even after closure, for an undetermined amount of time, the amount of water released from the mine naturally and otherwise will be in the millions of gallons annually, treated and untreated. Filters from “treated” water will be concentrated into a toxic sludge left behind in tailings ponds; and the water from this proposed copper-sulfide mine will need ongoing treatment perhaps forever.  Effects from this toxic pollution will span centuries if not thousands of years.

Average annual water required for mine operations has been estimated at 275 gpm, or between 20-810 gpm (SDEIS report), which translates from 10,512,000 gallons of water per year to as much as 425,736,000 annually.  This has been revised into the billions since then, for this permit. Greater than 90% of this water would be captured and treated using reverse osmosis, a process that poses its own risks, including demineralization (2006 by the World Health Organization’s report in Geneva, Nutrients in Drinking Water, Chapter 12), leaving anywhere from 1,0512,000 gallons to over 42.5 million gallons of untreated water that will be sent downstream from the plant (each year).  This water appropriation permit will allow even more.

The Uplands in the Arrowhead of Northern Minnesota include varied and complex aquifers connected along pathways underground that have not been charted and cannot be known.  This fact, coupled with the extreme weather variables of our times, should give anyone pause.  For instance, there can be no guarantee that the earthen tailings ponds holding toxic waste sludge from Polymet’s proposed copper mine could withstand a 1000-year flood of the sort that inundated Houston Texas this year, in August 2017.

What cleanup would be possible of toxic buildup in streambeds and the inevitable contamination of flora, fauna and fungus over hundreds of years resulting from copper mining in this water-dependent, varied and complex ecosystem of the Arrowhead?  The St Louis watershed is uniquely positioned and vulnerable to the toxic effects of a copper sulfide mine.

Water, one of the greatest solvents, can be guaranteed to seek its level through paths of least resistance, many unknown. The water in the St Louis watershed of the Laurentian Divide has been seeking its level over tens of thousands of years to the Hudson Bay Basin, the Mississippi River Basin and the Lake Superior Basin of the Great Lakes, through glacial waters of Lake Agassiz, other glacial lakes and the Laurentide Ice Shield.  Just as naturally, the waste rock and toxic waste ponds from this proposed open pit mine will leach into the ground water; and through rains, ground water seepage, and faults in the bedrock find its way downstream, a guaranteed outcome that cannot be controlled or predicted accurately.

Polymet, admittedly, needs a water permit in order to pollute and mine these vital waters; but loss and degradation of these waters will only be the beginning.  Since the proposed mine site is an important and complex recharge area, artesian wells could be depressurized and other ground water resources diverted or diminished unexpectedly.  Tourism will suffer from the related activities of a large mining operation near the BWCA in Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes where blasting, processing, transportation of products and supplies, road construction and repair will be ongoing while the mine operates.  Wetlands like the 100-Mile Swamp between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes will ultimately be lost.

A copper mine, then, will change the surrounding landscape, since mining activities know no boundaries.  The dimensions of this mine could change as deposits are discovered and, through precedent, threaten one of the most pristine water-dependent ecosystems, one of the wildest and most beautiful places in the world, the BWCA. There will be no end, once begun, and this will change the meaning of “north woods” as we know it. The Rainy River Watershed and throughout the big stony of the Arrowhead, where copper leases abound, the whole of St Louis, Cook and Lake counties could essentially be affected.

On a balance sheet, what is the price of real wealth, clean water, air, naturally fertile soil, insects, birds, mammals and all manner of life that support the health of this planet?  What price freshwater? Are there truly any acceptable limits to the pollution and draining of the St Louis watershed?

Who, essentially, will profit in the long term by putting these freshwater resources at risk in order to permit this private for-profit enterprise, the NorthMet Project?  It will certainly not be the air quality and the peace, environmental health, the integrity of this wilderness.  What will be left if we allow any and all lands, no matter the cost, to be developed for the profit of a finite term at the degradation of the infinite?

I close here with my formal objection to this water appropriation permit.  I make this objection on the grounds that this permit will allow mining operations in a water-dependent ecosystem that knows no equal, a wilderness that will be changed forever by copper mining. Mining and pollution of millions of gallons of water each year is not in the best interest of those who live in NE MN, those who live downstream, or those who depend on potable water, the wilderness, for its beauty, its wildlife, flora and fauna, its sustenance.  We will all be less for having lost this gem by defaulting on our responsibility to raise the standards of protection for our freshwater.

Anita Suzanne Tillemans

Information concerning the NorthMet project

 

 

August 30, 2017

There should be no “best schools”

Natural systems favor those who are the most well-adapted to their environment; while money ensures a limited pool through the implementation of an educational hierarchy.

Why is it so often true that the worst of us run the rest of us, causing the suffering of so many?  Many of these leaders, as Benjamin Franklin put it in his famous oration of 1787 on “Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy,” are “the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.”

In the beginning it is said, there was the Word; and human civilization, since, has been built on propaganda that favors the rich and powerful … language, then, the tool of those in power, ultimately determines the appropriation of quality educational resources as a result.

For a society to flourish, it is essential that all children have access to an equal education.  It is particularly harmful to communities when women are denied this opportunity; because they are ultimately the ones tasked to raise, protect and educate their children, children who are more likely to suffer a harder life if she fails.

One of the most important choices a woman can make, then, one that determines her quality of existence, is the choice of a mate … better made with a sound foundation and education at the heart.  With knowledge, she is more likely to choose a partner rather than a ruler; and as a result, she will, then, be more likely to build self esteem in her children.

As a consequence, there can be no better way to improve the condition of society than improving educational opportunity for women and girls.  For, when a woman benefits, the whole of society benefits.  Seeing to it that there are no “best schools”… all schools offering the best tools possible for everyone who enters in, boy or girl, man or woman, creates better odds that our leaders will be fit and that society will thrive.

Manipulated by propaganda that tells us self-worth is in our wallet, we lose a natural propensity for good sense.  As my father said to me once:  “The rich put their pants on one leg at a time too.”  We know the truth but too often are swayed by the flashing lights.

Money will not make America great again … it’s the character of our citizens that will do this.  We had a courageous leader in George Washington who believed that we must: Vindicate our rights with firmness and cultivate peace with sincerity.  It will take courage  to stand up to the powerful interests that prevail today; and to understand that power, to be respected, must have a base in truth and respect for all life.  When we develop a society with equity in education, and dare to get money out of the political arena, perhaps we will have leadership that speaks to these values as well.

August 20, 2017

A copper sulfide mine in the Arrowhead of Minnesota will change the meaning of “north woods” as we know it.

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Over a century’s toll of mining iron ore in the uplands of the Laurentian Divide:

For the sake of our waters and the northern ecology of this priceless watershed, please send your comments:

MPCA’s NorthMet Project Webpage

DNR’s NorthMet Comment Portal

August 18, 2017

Coneflowers

April 24, 2017

Clearing the land

April 24, 2017

International Falls Eagle Mural

April 24, 2017

Old Cabin

April 24, 2017

Swan and Mallards

April 24, 2017

Mille Lacs

April 19, 2017

What harm could mining do in the watershed of the BWCA and headwaters of the Mississippi River?

In light of the ongoing process to permit the Polymet to mine copper in Babbitt with a processing center in Hoyt Lakes, I am reposting my article first published in November, 2012:

A view of Northern Minnesota as the battle rages for copper, sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area.

 

April 15, 2017

Vermilion Falls

April 15, 2017

Crab Apple Tree in Bloom

April 15, 2017

Big Tree

April 15, 2017

Picnic

April 15, 2017

Little Tree

April 15, 2017

Old Barn

April 11, 2017

Captive Swan

April 11, 2017

Meleagris gallopavo over the Minnesota River Valley

March 21, 2017

Mountain View

March 21, 2017

Grasshopper

March 9, 2017

Reaching for the sky

City Oak

March 9, 2017

Recycling

On a walk through one of our parks a few years back, I noticed this growth on the trunk of a tree … a fairly reliable sign that the tree was dying.  New growth from old on a day in October.  It seemed poetic in all the splendor of that fall day.

http://treesforlife.org.uk/forest/forest-ecology/fungi-95/

http://vanessavobis.com/2009/04/maine-tree-fungus/

https://www.thetreecenter.com/common-tree-fungus/

February 21, 2017

What does wealth mean to you?

 

I had long ago decided to be happy … but got distracted along the way by so many things that occurred to cloud the issue, the issue of living honestly and with integrity … finding joy as a child would, naturally.

One cannot be happy without this and there is no wealth without it either.  Where do you find your joy?

To be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth.  As long as one sorely needs a certain additional amount, that man isn’t rich.

Mark Twain

February 13, 2017

Winter Harbor

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February 13, 2017

Lake Calhoun Elms

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February 13, 2017

Snow Covered Tree

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February 8, 2017

Bird in the Wind

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February 8, 2017

Ice Scape

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January 30, 2017

DNR Plans to Sell Mineral Leases in Northern Minnesota Covering Approximately 195,324 Acres

Moose in the Arrowhead ... already affected by global warming

Moose in the Arrowhead … already affected by global warming

The Department of Natural Resources plans to hold a sale of state-owned non-ferrous metallic mineral leases in Beltrami, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods and St Louis counties.  This acreage totals about 195,324 acres.

The notice was published today in the EQB Monitor and State Register, Monday, Jan. 30.  For information on the sale and solicited public comments, please view the DNR’s website and the link below:

State Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Leasing Public Lease Sale

At the recent water summit in Morris, Minnesota, Governor Dayton reported that 40% of the water in Minnesota is unfit for human recreation, in some areas this percent is over 90%.  In the Gulf of Mexico, there is an area of over 120 miles where there is no life … a dead zone, my words not his.  He made the point that, in effect, what we do with our water is everyone’s business.  So true.

It is right and good that we work to protect our waters by educating the public on conservation and clean up measures.  The most effective and best real long term measure, though, would be to stop pollution at the source..  Do we accomplish this by selling the very land and waters that need protection to those who would exploit it?

These leases are being sold now for exploration and this means more intrusions into an already endangered aquifer. The DNR would not sell leases if there was no intent to grant mining permits.  Twin Metals and Polymet are only two interests that seek to mine for copper in these invaluable northern aquifers.

In effect, by selling mineral leases at the source of the Rainy River, the Mississippi or the Great Lakes, and linking money made from any of these leases to public education, the state of Minnesota creates a dichotomy, since mining of these water reserves endangers the future of the intended beneficiaries.  Better yet, invest in equitable education by creating the kind of environment with a future in it.

MPCA / Minnesota’s Imperiled Waters List 2016

In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.

– Iroquois Maxim (circa 1700-1800)

 

 

January 5, 2017

Mallard

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January 5, 2017

Longing for the Monarchs

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January 5, 2017

Ghostly Bark

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January 5, 2017

Flying Free?

Mixed Media Photos: This snowy was taken at the Minnesota Zoo and photoshop’d into other backgrounds taken earlier.  It’s easy to see the rough outline in flight of the first.  Took more time on the second.  Fun.

Many years back, in winter, I had seen one land on a streetlight during my break. From the distance, he looked like a huge white gull; and it wasn’t until I had driven closer that I knew better.  Not a sight one sees very often around Minneapolis … and so I hadn’t been prepared.

The size at perch and in flight, so different.  Same for the bald eagle, which seems quite a bit smaller until it spreads those magnificent wings.

January 5, 2017

Lake of the Clouds

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January 5, 2017

Rocky Shore in the UP

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January 5, 2017

City Wetland

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January 5, 2017

Austrian Pine

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January 5, 2017

St Paul Cathedral View from the High Bridge

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January 5, 2017

Snowy Silver Feather

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January 5, 2017

Along the St Croix

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January 5, 2017

Walking Lake Calhoun

Seven photos taken at various times on walks around Lake Calhoun.

December 21, 2016

Pretty Bird, the Kookaburra

Kookaburra_bird_46

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December 21, 2016

Linden Hills Rocket 1980’s

Linden_Hills_Rocket_playground

December 21, 2016

Three Trees From a Bus

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December 21, 2016

Over Harriet Island On the Mississippi

December 15, 2016

Views from the Light Rail

December 15, 2016

Aster at Dusk

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December 14, 2016

Fall Color at Battle Creek Indian Mounds Regional Park

December 14, 2016

Black Oak in Fall Color

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December 14, 2016

Super Moon

supermoon-2560November 13, 2016 9:33pm
December 3, 2016

Making Room for Trees?

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December 3, 2016

Eco-friendly Landscaping

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December 3, 2016

Columbine

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December 3, 2016

Morning Glory

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December 3, 2016

Two Birds

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November 28, 2016

Dear Ones

November 25, 2016

Supreme Court of Minnesota decides that a ballot initiative on minimum-wage is the sole discretion of the Minneapolis City Council:

The Supremacy Clause of our United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) established the Constitution as supreme law of the land, becoming the cornerstone of our political structure.  It established that no matter what the federal government or states wish to do the laws made would have to comply with the Constitution.

In deciding A16-1367 , did the Supreme Court of Minnesota comply with the first amendment:

“Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the …  right of the people  … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

statue_sonnet_photo

 

A16-1367        Tyler Vasseur, et al., petitioners, Respondents, vs. City of Minneapolis, et al., Appellants, Ginny Gelms, in her capacity as Elections Manager, Hennepin County:

 

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Daniel P. Rogan, Senior Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent Ginny Gelms

“The district court erred in granting respondents’ petition pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 204B.44(a) (Supp. 2015), and directing the Minneapolis City Council to include a question regarding a proposed minimum-wage amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter on the ballot for the general election because the City Charter vests general legislative authority solely in the City Council.”


Acting Justices, Judge Randolph W. Peterson and Louise Dovre Bjorkman.

(Took no part, Justices David R. Stras, David L. Lillehaug, Margaret H. Chutich and Anne K. McKeig)

In conclusion, the Mn Supreme Court decided that:

 “Minneapolis residents are not permitted to directly implement legislation by petition” that their elected representatives, “so far, have refused to” pursue), rev. denied (Minn. Aug. 25, 2005).5

 Is it time for an amendment to the Minneapolis city charter?

November 15, 2016

Indian Mounds Park

GEOLOGY OF MINNESOTA AT THE MOUNDS (AS DESCRIBED IN A PLAQUE ON THE BLUFFS ABOVE THE MISSISSIPPI) indian_mounds_plaque THIS POINT COMMANDS A VIEW OF ONE OF THE GREAT WATER COURSES OF NORTH AMERICA.  THE STREAM WHICH ONCE FILLED THIS VALLEY NAMED THE RIVER WARREN WAS LARGER THAN ANY RIVER ON THE CONTINENT TODAY. DURING THE PAST MILLION YEARS MINNESOTA HAS BEEN PARTLY COVERED BY GLACIERS AT LEAST 4 TIMES. THE SHORT SUMMERS AND LONG WINTERS OF THE GREAT AGES CAUSED AN ACCUMULATION OF SNOW AND ICE TO A THICKNESS OF SEVERAL THOUSAND FEET. AS THE CLIMATE MODERATED AND GLACIATION CAME TO AN END ENORMOUS QUANTITIES OF WATER WERE RELEASED TO FLOW IN RIVERS AWAY FROM THE ICE FIELD.  THE VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI FROM THIS POINT WAS ERODED BY SUCH A STREAM ABOUT 2000 YEARS AGO SCOURED TO A DEPTH OF 100 FEET BELOW THE PRESENT RIVER SURFACE. THE VALLEY WAS LATER FILLED BY SAND AND GRAVEL AS THE FORCE OF THE TORRENT SUBSIDED.