This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Above white Greenland

greenland-3The current sea level is 8.5 cm higher than it was in 1993. That change is only in 15 years – and there is evidence of a steady increase since the dawn of the industrial era in the late 1800s. 8.5 cm does not seem a lot, but think about how long it takes to just fill a a bathtub from the faucet. Now imagine how much more water must have been dumped into all vast oceans on our planet to cause such an increase.

Looking out over Greenland through the airplane window it is easy to be fooled by all the vast expanses of ice. The problem is exactly that there is so much ice: should all of it melt in a worst-case scenario, our planet will not look the same. Florida and Singapore will be underwater, and so will almost all of Denmark. The Amazon will be an inland sea instead of two major rivers. St Petersburg might still be barely hanging on atop an island. Or not. greenland-1Most likely this scenario will not happen. But who knows if Florida or Singapore will still survive further than a couple of generations? And we humans and our cities is just one single species. The polar bears, the seals, the walruses, and the narwhals are the most obvious species in trouble. But because the ecosystem is a system, who knows what will happen if the currents change and the lowest levels of the food chain (think krill, plankton) disappear, too? No food for small fish means no food for big fish means no food for anything that lives on fish. And no krill for the whales, either.

Greenland was once named so because of the grassy coastline, which was the first thing the visitors saw. If names are omens, Greenland will properly earn its name soon.greenland-2(Above Greenland; May 2018)


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Helsinki from above (today)

HELfromtheairThese are the Eastern suburbs of Helsinki from above, at night. The bright spot to the far left is Vuosaari harbor. The black triangle cutting in to the top third from the right side is Vartiokylä bay. I grew up running around it and taking a plunge at the end. When my family moved to this part of town in the early 80s, our street was unpaved and ended in fields of crops and horse stables. The houses were all built right after World War II. There was an old broken horse-pulled rake of some kind lying by the side of the road for years. There were meadows and forests and a brook.

Now most of that is gone. The brook is still there, protected. But the meadow is tiny, and the forests, fields, and horses are gone. I am glad I had a childhood where I got to climb trees, jump around in ice cold water, and roll around in the meadows. The kids who grow up there today will not have such a childhood.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2018)


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What is beauty?

factoriesWhat do you think, is this photo beautiful? Do you see light, color, and fluffy clouds matching the fluffy smoke? Or do you see a planet in destruction, no trees and no Nature anywhere?

Is there a collective, pan-human sense of esthetics, or is what our mind considers beautiful conditioned by the surroundings we are subjected to? How much of our sense of esthetics is objective, focusing on for example form, color, and light; and how much is subjective, weighed down or lifted up by our personal values, memories, and associations?

Complicated thoughts one morning above the Netherlands.

(The Netherlands; March 2018)


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Ice on the wings

deicingDe-icing aircrafts is the constant messer-up of winter flight schedules. You can do it like they do it on Heathrow: spend 10 minutes drenching each wing, minutely combing through every square centimeter of the wing with the flashlight, causing an average delay of 1 hour for a rush-hour departure. Or you can do it the Finnish style: zap-zap-final-finishing-look and done. All in a matter of 2 minutes. It saves drenching the airport in toxic liquids, and somehow, saving time and substance does not seem to cause any more accidents. Because ice on wings can be deadly.

(Helsinki, Finland; February 2018)