Rockies Then and Now

personal

Four years ago, while my brain was still in shock from the shocking US election results, I took a picture of the Rocky Mountains with the intention of taking another one from pretty much the same spot after four years of official climate change denial. What did I expect to see? A return of the brown cloud. Back in the eighties, Denver had an ugly greenish-brown haze of pollution hanging over it. Pretty nasty. One of the first things I noticed when I came back to the state in 2005 for a visit was that it was gone, and the air was really nice. Living here now I know from long experience that it comes and goes with the weather, but that’s still a vast improvement over the constant stinkiness of before. Now it’s mostly from high ozone days, not emissions from dirty industries.
Anyway, what I didn’t expect was three years of what they call “exceptional drought,” an insanely rapid expansion of new subdivisions in the area once contaminated by Rocky Flats, and some absolutely epic wildfires. I wound up taking several pictures from good old Highway 128, most of them downright shocking. I’ll grant you no individual human is responsible for drought and wildfires. But policies, people! Policies. The ones that say “extract every bit of resource from every source imaginable at as fast a pace as possible with no regard for the future” and other stupid crap like that. I can definitely blame that sort of policy for accelerating the pace of climate change.
So here you go, a series of Rocky Mountain photos taken from the same general area of Colorado. And yes, I swear, the mountains are really there. Take my word for it. They’re too dang big to pick up and move, they don’t have feet, so they are actually still there.

November 2016
August 2020. Smoke from the fires in California and Oregon.
September 2020. Those aren’t water vapor clouds.
October 2020. Smoke, plus clouds that turned into a proper snowstorm and pretty much smothered the biggest fires. Whew!
After election, November 2020. Leftover haze from fires, a bit of extra pollution (although nowhere near what I expected), and definitely ready for people to start taking climate change more seriously.

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