deCroce blog of photography

About A Turtle and Climate-Change





Turtle In Gas Easement




On a photo-shoot in West Virginia for, it was my job to capture images of the process of moving natural gas from the well – called “midstream”. Toward the end of a long exhausting day of shooting, I finally find a photogenic gas “easement” – a swath cut through the deciduous forest in order to lay underground gas pipe. I climb miles up the steep muddy easement, and sucking for air now when I detect an unusual rock. “Whoa, I’ve never seen a rock like that” I say out-loud. But when I bend down to examine my newfound gem, it turns into a turtle.

I never set out to be an oil & gas photographer and in fact I’m reticent to admit that i enjoyed it. But with growing bones to nourish, I never had enough opulence to chose my clients. A few “energy” CEO executive portraits led to field work and happy clients led to new companies who needed field photographs. In many ways I was a kid in the sandbox again, but now I was directing real trucks and giant tractors into just the right spot for my shot.

In every photo-shoot with energy executives and in conversations with roughnecks, I would always ask to hear their views on climate change. Then I’d quietly ask them if it isn’t time to wean ourselves off petro-dependancy. To the CEOs I’d say, “If this were my company, I’d invest the vast profits from oil into renewable energy sources” And It was surprising how many times they nodded in agreement – if only perhaps, to shift the conversation.

Pulling the rug out from beneath the oil and gas industry overnight seems cruel to the millions of workers and investors who either directly or indirectly depend on what Rockefeller and his ilk created. The entire planet relies on the stuff. And is seems hypocritical to chastise a rural Appalachian family of hardworking roughnecks one day, and then drive 70 miles to go skiing the next. Real change means that every side of the climate change dynamic must be willing to see the issue though apposing eyes. And it means LOTS of conversation. But the facts seem evident now. Courageous changes must happen very soon.

The catalyst that is heating our biosphere is US.  Only we can attempt to affect it’s course.

Now this is where I get angry. A few weeks ago  a friend posted on Facebook, a basic scientific statement explaining in simple terms how climate change works. She ended her post asking how in the world an entire party of presidential candidates could totally ignore the science behind climate change.

To her question, I posted my response:


We’ve known the answer to that question, for over 40 years. But then we forgot.

Forty years ago, it was “radical” to talk about the corporate takeover of government. Long before the Koch brothers blatantly made the purchase of political candidates common knowledge, there was ample evidence that the system is rigged. Even Eisenhower said so in his 1959 farewell address. In the 1970s, fundamental changes began to take root regarding industry’s ill-effects on the planet. Organizations like Greenpeace and The Natural Resources Defense Council, were established to counter big industry. Progress was underway. Both public perception of environmental trauma and real legislation aimed at averting concomitant disasters, marked the era as a time of rebirth and cooperation. We drove smaller cars, set thermostats lower and learned new ways to dispose of plastic crap.

But simultaneous to worldwide green movements, dark forces lead by sons of Watergate, systematically bought back their version of America. With vast reserves of corporate wealth, a political quagmire deepened with each uttered breath of AM radio. The clever masters of Twister, somehow managed to glue together beliefs systems seemingly at odds, as pure-minded church-goers began to copulate with the great granddaughters of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. The term liberal became synonymous with WEAK. Americans were taught to disregard Jimmy Carter and environmentalists as a well-meaning but naive fools. Radio, television and internet promulgators persuaded rural and uneducated Americans to disbelieve information delivered by anyone other than themselves – especially university professors.

Now the really amazing part is – their plan has been wildly successful. A twelve year war that benefited no one except the makers of war machines and a Supreme Court decision which rules that giant mega-corporations can dole limitless funds to pro-biz candidates, speaks to the inane world created by the puppeteers of the Republican party.

It’s time to stop being surprised. The wizards behind the elephant are powerful but they will always underestimate the intelligence of the American people (or at least half of). Electing climate-change-deniers will have disastrous consequences.

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