tagged w/ Habitat
Drilling Set to Begin Immediately Risks Massive Spills, Polar Bears, Walruses, Bowhead Whales
The Obama administration today gave Shell Oil the initial approval to begin controversial and dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, despite the fact that a critical oil-spill containment vessel is still awaiting certification in Bellingham, Wash. Until now, the Arctic Ocean has largely been off limits to offshore drilling. Shell Oil is expected to begin the initial phases of exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as it can get its drillship in place, in the heart of habitat critical to the survival of polar bears.
“By opening the Arctic to offshore oil drilling, President Obama has made a monumental mistake that puts human life, wildlife and the environment in terrible danger. The harsh and frozen conditions of the Arctic make drilling risky, and an oil spill would be impossible to clean up,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scariest of all, the Obama administration is allowing Shell to go forward without even having the promised oil-spill containment equipment in place.”
Since 2007, the Center and its allies have successfully protected the Arctic Ocean from Shell's exploratory drilling plans. So far in 2012, a series of blunders and broken promises has prevented Shell from moving forward with its aggressive drilling plans. Last month the company announced that it could not comply with its air-pollution permits and asked the EPA to waive Clean Air Act requirements. Days later its drillship Noble Discoverer slipped its moorings in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and drifted dangerously close to shore. Right now, Shell’s oil-spill containment vessel, which was supposed to be onsite for any drilling, is still stuck in Washington state.
“While opposition to Shell’s drilling plans has resulted in significant safety improvements, Arctic drilling can never really be safe. The president is putting America’s natural heritage on the line just to add to Shell’s bottom line,” Noblin said. “Make no mistake: Once we’ve ruined the Arctic for wildlife, we’ll never get it back. The unique animals that evolved over millions of years to survive in this frozen wilderness — and nowhere else — will be condemned to extinction.”
More than 1 million people have sent President Obama messages asking him to save the Arctic from drilling. The Center for Biological Diversity, staunchly opposed to offshore drilling, will continue working to protect the Arctic Ocean’s sensitive wildlife.
“Pursuing fossil fuels in the remote Arctic will destroy the life there, even as it speeds up the climate change that’s already destroying the polar bears’ home and poses enormous risks to people, too,” Noblin said.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 375,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.Drilling Set to Begin Immediately Risks Massive Spills, Polar Bears, Walruses, Bowhead... more
I love honey, can't imagine a world without it. Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz, on the other hand, warn that I might need to rethink that perspective at the rate pesticides are killing off the honeybee population worldwide. This is a thoughtful, persuasive interview with the creators of the new documentary "Queen of the Sun." http://www.mrmedia.com/2012/06/new-documentary-investigates-whats-killing-bees-2012-video-interview/#.T9-m-HDCNbCI love honey, can't imagine a world without it. Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz, on... more
Anche quest’anno l’associazione acPav indice il concorso per la realizzazione di un intervento d’arte ambientale, il tema del Premio è: “Into the habitat”.
Gli artisti che parteciperanno dovranno progettare un’opera che ben si adatti al territorio del PAV, il progetto dovrà delineare un’installazione rivolta agli abitanti del quartiere e al pubblico del PAV, con l’obbiettivo di promuovere forme di cittadinanza attive e coesione sociale, creando quindi nuovi spazi di condivisione e indicando nuovi modelli di fruizione attiva della cultura.Anche quest’anno l’associazione acPav indice il concorso per la... more
Follow the link to see these easy steps to create a bumblebee nest for your own back yard
Also check out http://www.bumblebee.org/nestboxes.htm for more advice and detailsFollow the link to see these easy steps to create a bumblebee nest for your own back... more
More than a third of mammal species considered extinct or missing have been rediscovered.
http://www.4us2be.com/animal-plant-life/scientists-can-find-species-that-seem-to-be-extinct/More than a third of mammal species considered extinct or missing have been... more
On April 25, 2010, just five days after the BP Deep Horizon oil rig exploded, Reef Check, The Perry Institute for Marine Science and Ocean Rehab Initiative Inc. responded to protect threatened critical wetland ecosystems.
Collaboratively, these institutions of marine research and conservation developed the Pre-Oil Volunteer Survey, whose methodology is now widely used across the Gulf of Mexico and Greater Caribbean by groups including USGS, USCG, NOAA, EPA, DEP, The Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation and others.
Scientists agreed that the survey methodology must be easy to teach and understand, be at little or no cost to perform, and provide real and significant results for science. In fact, you may even own most of the equipment needed for the survey, like a camera, GPS, tape measure, magic marker and plastic cards.
To date, hundreds of volunteers have surveyed critical habitats for oil-threatened species in their native wetlands (estuaries, sea grasses, mangroves, lagoons, rivers, inlets, reefs and beaches) along South Florida, from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to Indian River County. Just this week, teams surveyed reefs in Palm Beach and Martin County, and were pleased to discover a healthy reef system.
Residents up and down the coast have volunteered their time to aid during the largest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history. Current and future volunteers are not only divers, but come from all backgrounds: children, elderly, activists, government employees, retired and working citizens.
To support conservation efforts and learn more about the methodology and volunteer opportunities in Florida, contact William via email at www.oceanrehab.org or call 561-308-8848.On April 25, 2010, just five days after the BP Deep Horizon oil rig exploded, Reef... more
For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve.
A fifth of the world's known mammals, a third of its amphibians, more than a quarter of its reptiles and up to 70% of its plants are under threat of extinction.
Nearly half of all primates are in danger of becoming extinct.
Much more at link...For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and... more
Minnesota is kicking our butt. No, I’m not talking ice hockey or the fact that they have 10,000 lakes – yes, it’s not just their state motto. Rather, I’m talking about their killer support for their environment – hey, they have 10,000 lakes to keep pristine remember? But seriously, Minnesota is leaving us in the dust when it comes to supporting the environment through workplace giving. What’s that you ask? Workplace giving is just that – where employees in companies, cities, counties, universities, or really any organization can give to charities through their workplace, usually via payroll deduction.
For decades, the United Way has been the biggest player on the block. But more recently, other groups, called federations, have joined in looking for an equal piece of the workplace giving pie, representing other nonprofit sectors including the environment. EarthShare (link to www.earthshare.org) is the granddaddy of environmental federations and has 19 state affiliates across the country. There are however a few of us ‘rogue’ independent greenies, like our own Environmental Fund for Arizona (EFAZ) (link to www.efaz.org), but the Minnesota Environmental Fund (link to www.mnenvirofund.org) is one that we Arizonans would be wise to emulate.
In a little over 15 years, MEF has established itself in 140 campaigns across the state, including private companies as well as cities and counties, and now brings in on average $850,000 in donations annually for its 21 environmental group members. No matter how you slice it, that’s a nice chunk of change for MEF members to help continue their missions.
Now contrast this to how Arizona is matching up…or not. Just 17 workplaces across the entire state currently include a ‘green’ choice in their workplace campaigns. For those of us who connect the environment, smart growth, and sustainability to the health and vitality of Arizona’s future, not to mention who believe in the ‘spirit of philanthropy,’ you’d think offering an environmental choice to workplaces would be easier. It’s not. Unfortunately, sometimes long-standing tradition trumps common sense and cool ideas.
Why is ‘giving green’ at work so darn great and why should Arizona take notice? I’ll tell you. Not only does it introduce hundreds, if not thousands of folks to smaller environmental nonprofits who might not have access to companies themselves, but do amazingly cool work for our environment, but it allows Arizona employees to learn about the significant variety of environmental issues being tackled across the state, and helps them to get involved. Think Sonoran Institute and their work with Superstition Vistas. Think Audubon Arizona and their recent opening of the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, the gateway to a lush Sonoran riparian habitat used by over 200 species of birds and other wildlife. And don’t forget Grand Canyon Trust. They’re our champions of Arizona’s – and the nation’s – spectacular treasure, the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau. These are just 3 of 29 organizations that make up EFAZ (link to www.efaz.org). Here’s another reason – one that is ridiculously obvious. Arizona is pushing ‘green’ in a big way, no not just to save the planet but for more practical reasons, like recharging our state’s economy with green jobs. Solar energy...hello? Water issues...we’re all over it. Why wouldn’t companies, cities, counties, and universities welcome a green choice into their campaigns?
So, what’s the moral of the story? Let’s not let Minnesota keep kicking our environmental butt. Isn’t the Grand Canyon and the Sonoran Desert worth saving? I say ‘wake up Arizona and smell the organically-grown, fair trade coffee.’Minnesota is kicking our butt. No, I’m not talking ice hockey or the fact that... more
The building of a border wall along the Rio Grande has an unlikely victim: local wildlife.
Conservation photographer Krista Schlyer spent the last year monitoring and photographing the construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexican border in order to document the impact.
Most of the wall was built without any regard to environmental laws. In 2005, Congress gave the Department of Homeland Security the authority to waive all laws in order to hasten construction. DHS's Michael Chertoff waived 36 laws so the wall could be built without consideration of the environment, disregarding laws like the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Schlyer originally spent time at the border as a journalist working with a scientist on a story about a herd of bison that crosses the border of New Mexico and Chihuahua every day to look for food and water in the drought-ridden grasslands. On a research flight over Arizona, she looked down when the plane was crossing over the boot heel of New Mexico. Schlyer saw bison jumping over a barbed wire fence to get from the U.S. to Mexico.
"That moment changed my life," says Schlyer. "I got a grasp of the impact."
The future of gray wolves, jaguar, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelopes world is in danger, and hardly anyone knows it. Seeing the animals imprisoned from crucial resources motivated Schyler to be more active by creating awareness about the situation.
Schlyer worked with the International League of Conservation Photographers to launch a website and set up an exhibit for her project, documenting the effect of the wall on the wildlife along the border. To get the photos she needed, she organized a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE).
Working with borderland scientists and advocates, Schlyer toured the segments of the wall that would have the biggest impact on animals, particularly the areas where the wall cuts off water sources and migration corridors. They went to landowners on the north and south sides. The owners on the north side said the bison were there everyday -- they like the grass on his land. The south side owner described a pool of water, 100 feet from the border, where the bison like to drink every day. Schlyer knew that this meant the wall would get between the bison herd and its water source.
The wall is meant to keep the illegal immigrants out of the US, but the artifacts of border crossings tell a different story.
"Ladders, ropes, and tunnels litter the borderlands now as people find a way around," she says.
Not every single mile of the 2,000 long mile stretch is covered in the solid wall, so humans can find gaps in the wall. But the animals can't. The endangered animals are cut off from their life supply, unable to find water in the already dry areas of the country and unable to hook up with mates to prevent them from becoming endangered species.
The group returned with 10,000 photos. This weekend, Schlyer showed off the photographs at the G2 gallery in Venice, as part of a traveling exhibition around the country. The photos were also included in a letter the Environmental Protection Agency's advisory board presented to President Obama.
G2 gallery http://www.theg2gallery.com/exhibits/borderlands/index.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/boonsri-dickinson/us-mexican-border-wall-de_b_419208.htmlThe building of a border wall along the Rio Grande has an unlikely victim: local... more
Artist Josh Keyes adds an unusual twist to what could, in anyone else’s hands, be a typical wildlife painting. The paintings are created using acrylics on canvas, panel, or wood and depict animals in their natural environment, overrun with man-made debris.
http://www.whitespace.bz/ws/web/forms/pulse/PulseMainArticle.aspx?id=336Artist Josh Keyes adds an unusual twist to what could, in anyone else’s hands,... more
A tigress attacked forest rangers in Kaziranga National Park, India, in 2004. This is the story of what actually happened that day, including an interview with forest ranger R. K. Das.A tigress attacked forest rangers in Kaziranga National Park, India, in 2004. This is... more
Rooftop solar panels are unlikely to elicit complaints from neighbors–they’re silent and relatively unobtrusive. But loud rooftop wind turbines? That’s where the virtually NIMBY-proof Ridgeblade turbine comes in. The turbine, designed by a former Rolls Royce turbine engineer at UK-based The Power Collective, boasts a sleek profile that is both powerful and visually pleasing.
Instead of creating a free-standing turbine that sticks out for all the neighbors to see, The Power Collective designed its long-bladed turbine to fit in along the ridge of a roof, where wind currents are strongest. The Ridgeblade packs a powerful punch, too — it has the wind-capturing potential of a medium sized turbine.
The turbine isn’t yet on the market, but a $750,000 grant from the Green Challenge Awards has given The Power Collective a big push towards commercializing the Ridgeblade. No word on how much the turbine will cost when it is finally released, but your neighbors’ peace of mind might just be worth the extra costRooftop solar panels are unlikely to elicit complaints from... more
When it comes to snack time, black bears in Yosemite National Park have a favorite automotive treasure trove: the minivan.
From 2001 to 2007, bears broke into 908 vehicles at the park. Of those break-ins, a whopping 26 percent were minivans, according to the Journal of Mammalogy.
Top Cars Black Bears Target:
Minivan -- 26.0 percent - Sport-utility vehicle -- 22.5 percent - Small car -- 17.1 percent - Sedan -- 13.7 percent - Truck -- 11.9 percent - Van -- 4.2 percent - Sports car -- 1.7 percent - Coupe -- 1.7 percent - Station wagon -- 1.4 percent
But why minivans? Why not full-sized vans or perhaps the station wagon? According to the article, the Yosemite foragers are smarter than the average bear. They're actually contemplating risk versus reward:
"Selection of minivans by bears in Yosemite National Park was the likely consequence of efforts to maximize caloric gain and minimize costs by targeting vehicles with higher probabilities of payoff. ... The trade-off between food acquisition and penal actions by humans likely pressured bears to target vehicles with the highest probability of attaining food," according to the article.When it comes to snack time, black bears in Yosemite National Park have a favorite... more
WHEN Nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen coined the word Anthropocene around 10 years ago, he gave birth to a powerful idea: that human activity is now affecting the Earth so profoundly that we are entering a new geological epoch.
The Anthropocene has yet to be accepted as a geological time period, but if it is, it may turn out to be the shortest - and the last. It is not hard to imagine the epoch ending just a few hundred years after it started, in an orgy of global warming and overconsumption.
Let's suppose that happens. Humanity's ever-expanding footprint on the natural world leads, in two or three hundred years, to ecological collapse and a mass extinction. Without fossil fuels to support agriculture, humanity would be in trouble. "A lot of things have to die, and a lot of those things are going to be people," says Tony Barnosky, a palaeontologist at the University of California, Berkeley. In this most pessimistic of scenarios, society would collapse, leaving just a few hundred thousand eking out a meagre existence in a new Stone Age.
Whether our species would survive is hard to predict, but what of the fate of the Earth itself? It is often said that when we talk about "saving the planet" we are really talking about saving ourselves: the planet will be just fine without us. But would it? Or would an end-Anthropocene cataclysm damage it so badly that it becomes a sterile wasteland?
The only way to know is to look back into our planet's past. Neither abrupt global warming nor mass extinction are unique to the present day. The Earth has been here before. So what can we expect this time?
Take greenhouse warming. Climatologists' biggest worry is the possibility that global warming could push the Earth past two tipping points that would make things dramatically worse. The first would be the thawing of carbon-rich peat locked in permafrost. As the Arctic warms, the peat could decompose and release trillions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere - perhaps exceeding the 3 trillion tonnes that humans could conceivably emit from fossil fuels. The second is the release of methane stored as hydrate in cold, deep ocean sediments. As the oceans warm and the methane - itself a potent greenhouse gas - enters the atmosphere, it contributes to still more warming and thus accelerates the breakdown of hydrates in a vicious circle.
"If we were to blow all the fossil fuels into the atmosphere, temperatures would go up to the point where both of these reservoirs of carbon would be released," says oceanographer David Archer of the University of Chicago. No one knows how catastrophic the resulting warming might be.
That's why climatologists are looking with increasing interest at a time 55 million years ago called the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum, when temperatures rose by up to 9 °C in a few thousand years - roughly equivalent to the direst forecasts for present-day warming. "It's the most recent time when there was a really rapid warming," says Peter Wilf, a palaeobotanist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. "And because it was fairly recent, there are a lot of rocks still around that record the event."
By measuring ocean sediments deposited during the thermal maximum, geochemist James Zachos of the University of California, Santa Cruz, has found that the warming coincided with a huge spike in atmospheric CO2. Between 5 and 9 trillion tonnes of carbon entered the atmosphere in no more than 20,000 years (Nature, vol 432, p 495). Where could such a huge amount have come from?
Volcanic activity cannot account for the carbon spike, Zachos says. Instead, he blames peat decomposition, which would have happened not from melting permafrost - it was too warm for permafrost - but through climatic drying. The fossil record of plants from this time testifies to just such a drying episode.
Continued at link . . .WHEN Nobel prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen coined the word Anthropocene... more
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects... more
Invasive plant-life and volunteerism are seemingly two completely separate concepts, however, an ecologist from Acadia National Park explains why and how they are fully integrated with each other. In addition, she presents her expert analysis on the growing threat of invasive plant-life and its impact on native ecosystems.
This is produced by Being And Doing, Inc.Invasive plant-life and volunteerism are seemingly two completely separate concepts,... more
Animal pictures of the week