Journey's End



It is a little over four months since the Santa Rosa fire and nearly two since the fire in Santa Barbara. This year’s fire season is estimated by insurers to cost nearly 12 billion dollars, this estimate came before the floods and the mud that leveled Montecito.  In the Napa-Sonoma fires 22 people were killed, 100,000 had to evacuate and over 5600 buildings were destroyed or damaged. In the 200,000 acre Thomas fire  in Santa Barbara  and consequent mudslides over a 1100 buildings were destroyed. There were over 21 deaths with two people still missing from the flood. Fires throughout California in 2017 destroyed over 10,000 buildings and claimed 43 lives.


The thousand-year hurricane is now nearly a yearly event and the impacts more severe. How do we calculate the cost, the loss and the monumental scale? Fire season in California now stretches around  the calendar, a full 365 days. While hurricanes and floods decimated Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and captured the news cycle, hardly anyone noticed the rest of the West, this past summer, went up in flames. In Montana alone more 1,000,000 acres were lost to fire.


Tick, tick, tick. We are burning up the planet. Heat from fossil fuel lies trapped inside the dome of our atmosphere. Each year, a little hotter, a little drier. Each year the fires a little bigger, the season a little longer—weather patterns around the world a little more extreme.  Tick, tick tick.

These photos are part of a  project with Bryony Schwan , an entrepreneur in the social change space, Bryony  founded and led  successful not-for-profit organizations, national coalitions and mission-driven businesses.


From 2006 - 2013 she was the Executive of Director of The Biomimicry Institute (TBI) an international organization she co-founded with author Janine Benyus. Prior to her work with biomimicry, Bryony worked for 11 years as the Executive Director and then as the National Campaigns Director for Women's Voices for the Earth (WVE) a non-profit environmental justice organization that she founded in 1995.


In 2001, during her tenure at WVE, Bryony co-founded and coordinated Coming Clean, a national alliance of health and environmental groups working to reform chemical policy and in 2004 co-founded the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Bryony is an affiliate faculty member in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Montana.


She has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Natal in South Africa where she majored in photography and ceramics and an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.


She has served on the boards of many organizations and currently serves on the board of Greenpeace US. Bryony is excited to to combine her decades of environmental activism with her passion for photography


© 2015  Contact Barbara Michelman