California has many magnificent natural resources, from its shoreline to snow-capped mountains - and all need to be conserved and protected.
Joining my good friend, photographer Budd Riker, I recently spent a few days at the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, moving from the Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, up north to the Tioga Pass with stops at Bishop Creek Canyon and Mono Lake. This is a beautiful time of year for this region: the weather is beginning to cool, the Aspens are still ablaze in flaming yellow, and the mountains were dusted with snow from a recent storm.
This trip was more pleasure than professional, getting a feel for a new video camera and forgoing building blinds to capture patience-inspired closeups of various wildlife. (The squirrels and kangaroo rats seemed to know that and would tauntingly appear in the open when they heard the click of the last closing latch on my camera case!) No, this was not business; this was more one of those moments when you just suck it all in: the gorgeous vistas, the wind-rustled leaves, and the chance to clear the cobwebs from your mind.
But finding the occasional Starbucks cup or someones initials carved in the side of an Aspen, there were also those reminders that this is an area that must be protected if it is to be appreciated for generations to come. While we all know what needs to be done regarding local issues like trash and vandalism, we must also consider the larger ecological issues of how climate change, CO2 emissions, and the health of other ecosystems - whether aquatic or terrestrial - are impacting this region.
The Sierra Nevada's may seem light years removed from a South Pacific coral reef, but neither exist in a vacuum - all are connected, all are part of this planet's (and our) life support system.
View more video clips at RTSeaTV.