tagged w/ Conservation
Environmental groups will tell a Federal Court Tuesday that the government must be ordered to protect habitat for endangered and threatened pods of killer whales.
"The problem before the court is what is the federal responsibility for the legal protection of critical habitat," said Ecojustice lawyer Margot Venton.
Venton said Ottawa officials have narrowly interpreted "critical habitat" as only the physical space inhabited by threatened species such as the orca.
Ecojustice lawyers will argue that the federal government should take legal responsibility to ensure the killer whales also have enough chinook salmon to eat, clean waterways and protection from noise.
"Our oceans are getting measurably louder and killer whales hunt using echolocation — their communication with each other is really affected by noise," said Venton.
Due to declines in chinook salmon and increased ocean traffic, said Venton, "some killer whales are starving and being forced into places they don't usually go."
The lawsuit refers to both southern resident killer whales, now "endangered" and numbering fewer than 90 whales, as well as the "threatened" 235 northern resident killer whales.
The federal government, however, instead of addressing all the complex issues faced by endangered and threatened species, continues to interpret habitat as "only a place on a map," said Venton.
If the lawsuit, expected to take at least five days, is successful, federal officials will have to take responsibility for habitat issues including whale-watching businesses, overfishing and depletion of salmon stocks, toxin and sewage disposal as well as many sources of ocean "noise."
Research has shown that orcas avoid boats, sonar and seismic testing.
Venton is acting for Ecojustice, formerly the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, and a coalition that includes the David Suzuki Foundation, Dogwood Initiative, Environmental Defense Fund, Raincoast Conservation Society, Sierra Club of Canada and Western Canada Wilderness Committee.Environmental groups will tell a Federal Court Tuesday that the government must be... more
-- The Washington, DC and London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today revealed that proposals to resume commercial whaling under the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will cost nearly 19 million dollars over the next decade. Estimated additional costs for the US during this time would be over $988,000 if costs were shared between member countries.
A document posted to the IWC's website outlines basic costs for setting up a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Scheme (MCSS) in the event that the IWC agrees to allow commercial whaling by Japan, Norway and Iceland to resume.
The cost of the scheme is estimated at $1,880,000 per year, with additional start-up costs of $250,000. This does not include surveys to gather vital data for the calculation of alleged "safe" catch limits. The proposal on whether to legalize whaling will be considered by IWC members in Agadir, Morocco, June 21-25.
"It's certain that US citizens don't want their tax dollars used to subsidize the killing of whales," said EIA Campaign Biologist Samuel LaBudde, who added:
"Financing whale hunts is not consistent with American interests and reason enough to reject the proposal to legalize Japan, Norway and Iceland's commercial whaling."
At present, total income paid by IWC members amounts to about $2,234,000, which contributes to the various costs associated with the operation of the IWC and its programs. The estimated cost for monitoring commercial whaling by just 3 of the 88 IWC members would almost double membership fees.
In previous IWC discussions about additional costs, whaling nations have refused to shoulder the majority of the burden. If these costs are divided between member countries at the rate they currently pay in membership fees, the US would have to give an extra $100,000 per year beyond the $115,000 it already pays.
EIA is concerned that the cost of monitoring whaling would detract from current conservation efforts. The proposal promises that during the ten-year period
"many new, positive conservation and management benefits will be introduced."
However, it is likely that many countries will reject paying additional fees, and instead try to shift funds from existing conservation programs towards work on whaling.
Far from bringing whaling under control, the proposal throws a financial lifeline to an economically distressed and environmentally unsustainable industry, and risks diverting already scarce resources from vital conservation efforts.
"It's a sweet deal for the three countries that have sabotaged and corrupted the IWC for more than 25 years, but a disaster for everyone else" said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry, who added:
"Unless nations unite to reject this proposal, the world will lose its best chance of consigning commercial whaling to the history books where it belongs."
(1) IWC/62/10 http://www.iwcoffice.org/_documents/commission/IWC62docs/62-10.pdf
SOURCE Environmental Investigation Agency
-- The Washington, DC and London-based Environmental... more
This amusing little video, narrated by Teh Kittehs, should catch you up on everything that's happened with the BP oil spill so far.This amusing little video, narrated by Teh Kittehs, should catch you up on everything... more
What would happen if BP spilled a bunch of coffee on their conference room table? Pretty much the same thing if they spilled a whole bunch of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.What would happen if BP spilled a bunch of coffee on their conference room table?... more
A recently published study, intended to provide data to commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico so they maximize their catch of Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares, whilst avoiding bycatch of critically endangered Atlantic (Northern) Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, suggests that the Deepwater Horizon oil leak may devastate the endangered Atlantic bluefin population, causing it to completely collapse or possibly go extinct.A recently published study, intended to provide data to commercial fisheries in the... more
In his home of Namibia, John Kasaona is working on an innovative way to protect endangered animal species: giving nearby villagers (including former poachers) responsibility for caring for the animals. And it's working.In his home of Namibia, John Kasaona is working on an innovative way to protect... more
Japan launched a summer whaling mission Wednesday, with the target of killing 260 of the giant sea mammals in the Northwest Pacific waters despite legal action by Australia.
Three harpoon and two research ships set sail from three separate ports in Japan with more than 200 crew to hunt whales in the Pacific waters, said the Institute of Cetacean Research, which sends the state-backed whaling fleet.
In the latest whaling trip, the fleet led by the Nisshin Maru mother ship plans to catch 100 minke whales, 100 sei whales, 50 Bryde's whales and 10 sperm whales before returning in late August, the operator said.
The expedition comes after Australia launched legal action with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in an effort to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of science.
The International Whaling Commission, seeking to end decades of bitter conflict between its pro- and anti-whaling members, is set to begin talks in two weeks in Morocco.Japan launched a summer whaling mission Wednesday, with the target of killing 260 of... more
This news report of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico features a "bird's eye view" of the spill, including footage of the pelican rookery filled with oiled adult birds and a dead dolphin. Nothing like taking a close look at the REAL victims of this disaster!This news report of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico features a... more
This video discusses the worst oil spill in US history, the Lakeview Gusher Number One that occurred 100 years ago in Kern County, California. This gusher shot oil more than 200 feet into the air for an astonishing 544 days, spewing more than 9 million barrels (378 million gallons/1.4 billion liters) of oil into the environment -- less than half of which was removed. The rest of that oil remains top this very day and even 100 years later, this oil-contaminated area is not good for anything.This video discusses the worst oil spill in US history, the Lakeview Gusher Number One... more
While BP execs pretend they "are prepared" for oilspills to occur, they betray their idiocy once again: as this video shows, BP's employees cannot even build an effective oil boom to contain the mess -- and they've attended a week-long, expensive "Booming School" too!While BP execs pretend they "are prepared" for oilspills to occur, they... more
This time on the Shark Task Force we head to the Pacific Ocean to swim with Giant Manta Rays - are these incredible creatures the next target for Shark Fin Soup?This time on the Shark Task Force we head to the Pacific Ocean to swim with Giant... more
Some people claim that we should euthanize all oiled birds immediately upon recovering them. But I argue it is our ethical responsibility to protect, clean and save these birds, even after they've been oiled, just as we should preserve and clean their habitatsSome people claim that we should euthanize all oiled birds immediately upon recovering... more
We Save Trees with Tees
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We donate school supplies to the children and ask them to illustrate what they see happening in their world every day. Each Rain Tee features their thoughts, illustrations and names and for every item sold, a child involved in the non-profit Kids Saving the Rain Forest receives a tree they can plant to replace one that has been destroyed.
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http://www.raintees.com/about/the-teamWe Save Trees with Tees
Rain Tees are a 100% organic line of apparel for women and... more
Modeled on the kind of manual pencil sharpeners (some of us) students grew up with by the doors of classrooms, this may be one of the more classy and convenient hand-powered lighting concepts yet created. And if that were not enough: as a bizarre bonus, you can even still sharpen pencils with it!
A simple cylinder, the light itself can be suspended from a string or cord much like a conventional ceiling fixture and has the equivalent stylish simplicity of one as well. Kenan Wang also designed the top of the cylinder to be solid while the lamp portion sits suspended like a classic bulb below, mirroring the more familiar kinds of home lighting design we are used to.
http://dornob.com/100-battery-free-human-powered-hand-crank-eco-light/Modeled on the kind of manual pencil sharpeners (some of us) students grew up with by... more
Photo: Crews worked Saturday on the failed top kill effort to stanch the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP will try another strategy.
May 29, 2010
BP Prepares to Take New Tack on Leak After ‘Top Kill’ Fails
By LESLIE KAUFMAN and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
NEW ORLEANS — In another serious setback in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that the “top kill” technique had failed and, after consultation with government officials, they had decided to move on to another strategy.
Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said at a news conference that the engineers would try once again to solve the problem with a containment cap and that it could take four to seven days for the device to be in place.
“After three full days of attempting top kill, we now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options,” Mr. Suttles said.
The abandonment of the top kill technique, the most ambitious effort yet to plug the well, was the latest in a series of failures. First, BP failed in efforts to repair a blowout preventer with submarine robots. Then its initial efforts to cap the well with a containment dome failed when it became clogged with a frothy mix of frigid water and gas. Efforts to use a hose to gather escaping oil have managed to catch only a fraction of the spill.
BP has started work on two relief wells, but officials have said that they will not be completed until August — further contributing to what is already the worst oil spill in United States history.
The latest failure will undoubtedly put more pressure — both politically and from the public — on the Obama administration to take some sort of action, perhaps taking control of the repair effort completely from BP.
President Obama, who is spending the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, issued a statement Saturday evening on the decision to abandon the top kill.
“While we initially received optimistic reports about the procedure, it is now clear that it has not worked,” Mr. Obama said.
He said that Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry of the Coast Guard had “directed BP to launch a new procedure whereby the riser pipe will be cut and a containment structure fitted over the leak.”
“This approach is not without risk and has never been attempted before at this depth,” Mr. Obama said. “That is why it was not activated until other methods had been exhausted.”
The president continued, “We will continue to pursue any and all responsible means of stopping this leak until the completion of the two relief wells currently being drilled.”
For BP, the besieged British company, the failure could mean billions of dollars of additional liabilities, as the spill potentially worsens in the weeks and months ahead.
“I am disappointed that this operation did not work,” Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing everything we can to make this situation right.”
A technician who has been working on the project to stem the oil leak said Saturday that neither the top kill nor the “junk shot” came close to succeeding because the pressure of oil and gas escaping from the well was simply too powerful to overcome. He added that engineers never had a complete enough understanding of the inner workings of drill pipe casing or blowout preventer mechanisms to make the efforts work.
“Simply too much of what we pumped in was escaping,” said the technician, who spoke on condition of remaining unnamed because he is not authorized to speak publicly for the company.
“The engineers are disappointed, and management is upset,” said the technician. “Nothing is good, nothing is good.”
The spill began after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, killing 11 people. Since then, it has dumped an estimated 18 million to 40 million gallons into the gulf.
After the announcement Saturday, the disappointment was palpable along the Louisiana shoreline, where the oil has increasingly washed up in sticky, rusty globs.
Michel Claudet, the president of Terrebonne Parish, 60 miles southwest of New Orleans, said that when he heard the news, he felt “sorrow, despair and like this ordeal will never finish. If you go around the parish, it is all our folks talk about.”
Mr. Claudet said that he was trying to remain hopeful, but that it was increasingly difficult. “As every item fails,” he said, “I am less and less optimistic.”
In New Orleans, Margaret Shockey, 67, a retired teacher, said, “One thing’s for sure, this is the last city that deserved this.”
Last week, BP described the top kill — which was an effort to pump heavy mud into the well to counter the flow of oil — as its best hope for stopping the spill. During the course of the operation, BP officials had often expressed optimism that it would work.
But on Saturday, Mr. Suttles said the operation had pumped 30,000 barrels of mud into the well and yet failed to stop it from flowing.
Admiral Landry called the failure “very disappointing.”
The new strategy is to smoothly cut the riser from which the oil is leaking and then place a cap over it. Pipes attached to the cap would take the oil to a storage boat on the surface.
Though a first effort at a containment dome failed, Mr. Suttles said BP had learned from that experience and now believed that this cap, which is custom fitted to the riser, would be more successful.
He said it would capture most but not all of the oil leaking from the well, which is believed to be gushing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day.
He would not give odds for the operation’s success, but said he had “a lot of confidence” that it would work.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Suttles said preparations for such an alternative plan were already under way, just in case. “That equipment is on stage and ready to go,” he said. Equipment is being deployed on land and on the seabed, he said.
If the new cap is not successful, the company has said it will look into attaching another blowout preventer to the one that already exists at the wellhead and has not functioned.
But officials emphasized that the real solution to the spill was the relief well. They said one of the relief wells was currently proceeding ahead of schedule, but was still at least a month away.
“It’s like a bad movie that just won’t end,” said Billy Altman, 45, a mechanic in New Orleans. “You know, you think they finally killed the bad guy, and then he comes back to life. It’s crazy.”
Clifford Krauss reported from Houston, and Leslie Kaufman from New Orleans. Robbie Brown contributed from New Orleans, and Sarah Wheaton from New York.Photo: Crews worked Saturday on the failed top kill effort to stanch the leaking oil... more
Australia said Friday it will challenge Japan's whale hunting in the Antarctic at the International Court of Justice, a major legal escalation in its campaign to ban the practice despite Tokyo's insistence on the right to so-called scientific whaling.
Japan's Foreign Ministry called the action regrettable at a time when 88 member-nations of the International Whaling Commission were discussing a proposal that could allow some limited whaling for the first time in 25 years.
"We will continue to explain that the scientific whaling that we are conducting is lawful in accordance with Article 8 of the international convention for the regulation of whaling," said Japan's Foreign Ministry Deputy Press Secretary Hidenobu Sobashima. "If it goes to the court, we are prepared to explain that."
Japan, Norway and Iceland, which harpoon around 2,000 whales annually, argue that many species are abundant enough to continue hunting them. They are backed by around half of the whaling commission's members.
Australia has declared the southern seas a whale sanctuary and has long lobbied for an end to whaling there. The government says Japan's hunt is in breach of international obligations, but has declined to release any details of how it will argue its case before the court in The Hague.
The whaling commission has proposed a plan that would allow hunting without specifying whether it is for commercial or other purposes – but under strict quotas that are lower than the current number of hunted whales.
Commission Chairman Cristian Maquieira expressed optimism Thursday in Washington that the issue could be resolved at a meeting next month in Morocco. But senior U.S. official Monica Medina said the current proposal would allow the hunting of too many whales, signaling difficult negotiations ahead.
Australia could argue that Japan is abusing its rights under the whaling commission's 1946 Convention, which allows scientific whaling, said Don Anton, an international law professor at The Australian National University in Canberra. It could claim that the number of whales Japan kills each year is far more than necessary, that nonlethal research alternatives exist and that there is a commercial aspect to the scientific program.
Australia could also argue that Japan has failed to conduct an adequate environmental impact assessment before engaging in whaling, Anton said.
Story continues below
A panel of lawyers and conservationists reported to the Australian and New Zealand governments last year that Japanese whaling in the Antarctic could be stopped if Japan were held accountable for dumping waste and for undertaking hazardous refueling at sea. The Canberra Panel claims that activity violates the 46-member Antarctic Treaty System, to which Japan belongs.
Australia will lodge its claim with the court next week. It is likely then to seek an international injunction to stop any Japanese whaling during the 2010-2011 whaling season, said Don Rothwell, an international law professor at ANU who chaired the Canberra Panel. An injunction ruling could take three to six months, and it could be another four to seven years before the case is settled, he said.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said his government will decide within weeks whether it will also file a case against Japan.
Sobashima and Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the dispute should not jeopardize the countries' overall good relations, with both governments treating the matter as an independent legal arbitration.
Australia's move also fulfills a 2007 campaign promise by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's center-left Labor Party.
Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Malcolm J. Foster in Tokyo contributed to this report.Australia said Friday it will challenge Japan's whale hunting in the Antarctic at... more
There's no need to replace something just because it's a bit worn. In fact, mending something broken does more than keep it out of the landfill. It saves you money and can give an old item a bit of personality!
When I was folding laundry the other day, I discovered that my very favorite vintage dress had snapped its straps. This was one of those garments that I'd wear basically the second it came out of the laundry, and there was no way I was going to let such a small problem mean the death of this thing!
It turns out that it's super simple to mend a broken strap. All you need is an iron, a sewing machine or needle and thread, and about 30 minutes.
http://greenupgrader.com/11729/how-to-mend-a-broken-strap/There's no need to replace something just because it's a bit worn. In fact,... more
earl Jam is an iconic rock band from Seattle, Washington that is more than just super guitar riffs and badass songs – the members are also very active in promoting political and environmental issues. When they’re not touring and selling over 60 million records around the world, they’re doing things like donating money to rainforest preservation initiatives and riding in biodiesel-fueled buses.
They’re also always trying to find new ways to fight climate change. That’s why ever since 2003 the band has partnered with various programs to offset the carbon emissions from its worldwide tours. This year the band has decided to partner with the Cascade Land Conservancy, Washington’s largest land conservation, stewardship and community building organization. The band chose the CLC because of its hometown ties and also because it wanted to restore native trees and ecosystems throughout the Puget Sound area in the state.
So, what exactly will this partnership entail? The band will be donating $210,000 to help fund the CLC urban forestry project. This money will be used to plant about 33 acres of native trees and plants in Pugent Sound, which will in turn mitigate more than 7,000 tons of carbon emissions! Now doesn’t that make you like Pearl Jam even more?
http://3blmedia.com/theCSRfeed/Pearl-Jam-Partners-Cascade-Land-Conservancy-Mitigate-Band%E2%80%99s-CO2-Emissionsearl Jam is an iconic rock band from Seattle, Washington that is more than just super... more
Corporate profiteer-turned-green-goodie Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III has struck a deal with Montana state authorities to “shepherd” a roving Yellowstone bison herd in return for “a sizable portion of their offspring.” Interesting use of the word “portion” given Turner already owns 50,000 bison which which he happily serves up every day for lunch and dinner in his fifty-one nationwide Ted’s Montana Grill restaurants.
http://looncanada.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/montana-bison-get-buffaloed-by-ted-turner/Corporate profiteer-turned-green-goodie Robert Edward “Ted” Turner III has... more