tagged w/ consuming nature
(CNN) -- World Oceans Day, June 8, arrives this year at a time when people are especially focused on the safety of waters threatened by the Gulf oil disaster. Yet it is also a time when more people are committing to work to preserve the oceans than ever before.
Among them is Roz Savage, who last week completed the third and final leg of her effort to row across the Pacific Ocean. Savage was one of dozens who took part in the Mission Blue cruise in April, organized by the nonprofit group TED to develop a strategy to save the oceans.
In her talk on the Mission Blue cruise, taped before the final leg of her Pacific journey, Savage estimated that her trip across that ocean required more than 8,000 miles of rowing, spending 312 days on her own in a 23-foot rowboat. Savage is the first woman to row solo across the Pacific, from the West Coast of the United States to Papua New Guinea. (Maud Fontenoy rowed a shorter route from Peru to Polynesia in 2005.)
Learn more about the "Mission Blue Voyage" http://blog.ted.com/2010/04/ocean_hope_at_m.php
Page Link: http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/06/08/savage.world.oceans/index.html(CNN) -- World Oceans Day, June 8, arrives this year at a time when people are... more
Entangled and drowned in a fishing net off the coast of Brazil, these green sea turtles in an undated picture are just a few of the millions of sea turtles that have been unintentionally killed by fishing operations over the past 20 years, according to a study released today by the journal Conservation
"Of all the threats sea turtles face right now, bycatch is the most serious," said Bryan Wallace, a marine biologist with Conservation International and lead author of the study. (Read a commentary by Wallace on how he thinks changing your eating habits can help sea turtles.)
The study pulls together data from around the world on sea turtle deaths from nets, hooks, and trawlsóand questions the estimates of previous reports.
"Because the reports we reviewed typically covered less than one percent of all fleets, with little or no information from small-scale fisheries around the world, we conservatively estimate that the true total is probably not in tens of thousands, but in the millions of turtles taken as bycatch in the past two decades," the authors write.
Six of the seven sea turtle species are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species.
(Also see "Eight Million Sharks Killed Accidentally off Africa Yearly." http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070417-shark-fishing.html )
Published April 6, 2010
Letters.http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/photogalleries/100406-sea-turtles-killed-conservation-letters-pictures/#green-sea-turtles-netted_18296_600x450.jpgEntangled and drowned in a fishing net off the coast of Brazil, these green sea... more
Few creatures in the wild captivate man as do gorillas. For those lucky enough to have seen them, it would be hard to imagine Africa's Congo without these gentle giants. However we may have no choice. By the mid-2020s, a new UN and Interpol report says gorillas may disappear from the forests of the Congo Basin.
"We had done a report back in 2002 which was already fairly grim in terms of the predictions in terms of the extinction," says Amy Fraenkel, regional director of the U-N Environnmental Program.
"But that is unfortunately very much trumped by the recent findings, which are that between - I'd say less than 10-15 years out from now, we could see extinction in large ranges of the species."
Fraenkel notes the report links the threat to gorillas to militias, and the continued fighting in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"The biggest cause is an increase in illegal logging and harvesting of minerals in the area which in many cases are being used to directly finance militias, as you know it's a very war-torn area."
She adds that "illegal activity" also includes killing gorillas for bushmeat to feed the loggers and militia.
But the gorillas also face perhaps a more dangerous foe than man. A deadly disease that has wiped out entire populations of gorillas.
"If I were to rank them in what is now the most immediate threat, Ebola would be number one," says Allard Blom, with the World Wildlife Fund's Congo Basin Program.
"It's very devastating to both gorillas and humans and gets transmitted between the species. So that is actually at the moment really wiping out a lot of gorillas in their areas where they are most protected. The biggest populations get hit by this virus. Basically, it's almost a 100% mortality rates in gorilla."
The UNEP Interpol report contains several recommendations to counter the threat to gorillas. One key element, says Amy Fraenkel, is to stem the economic benefit of the illegal trade, inside and outside of Africa.
"And that is something we've been working on in many different aspects of environmental crime. In this case, it's training law enforcement officials and park rangers - and deploying and giving them the resources. It's truly a war and they need to be well equipped."
Allard Blom of the WWF agrees with report's recommendation. He adds that it is important to work with logging companies to help stem the illegal bushmeat trade -- and on that front, he says there is some good news.
"There is now over five million hectares of forest that is certified...and I can tell you from personal experience, 10-15 years ago, most logging companies were extremely hostile to conservation organizations. We were seen as the enemy and that has dramatically changed.
The UNEP - Interpol report was presented at a recent meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.
http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/environment/Gorillas-on-the-Brink-90203897.htmlFew creatures in the wild captivate man as do gorillas. For those lucky enough to have... more
Mother Jones - Environment + Health → Tech, Top Stories
-- By Dave Gilson
Killer apps: The real story behind your smart phone's innards.
IT'S A CELL PHONE, a camera, a media player, and a handheld computer all in one. But what makes the iPhone such a great tech toy also makes it a perfect example of the often murky, sometimes downright sketchy origins of our electronics. Here's a glimpse of what's really in an iPhone 3GS—and any number of other gadgets, from laptops to game consoles:
We've loaded this iPhone up with 10 apps you won't find on a real smart phone (visit link:http://motherjones.com/environment/2010/03/scary-truth-about-your-iphone). Click on an app to learn where your phone's electronic components really came from.
--Dave Gilson, is a senior editor at Mother JonesMother Jones - Environment + Health → Tech, Top Stories
-- By Dave Gilson... more
Al Jazeera English - Americas
The US is the biggest consumer of black market wildlife in the world earning smugglers up to $20m a year.
US customs agents say smuggling of protected wildlife is becoming a multi-billion dollar business, generated by a huge demand.
Mike Kirsch reports from Los Angeles.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/03/201032013352628634.htmlAl Jazeera English - Americas
The US is the biggest consumer of black market... more
PHOTO: Described in 2005, the Laotian Rock Rat [Laonastes aenigmamus] was first encountered by scientists on sale at an outdoor food market in Lao
Over one thousand new species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia since 1997, says a new report by WWF.
Among the most incredible finds documented in 'First Contact in the Greater Mekong' are the Lao Rock Rat, thought to have gone extinct 11 million years ago but discovered in a Lao food market; the hot-pink “dragon millipede” that produces cyanide in self-defense; the world’s largest huntsman spider, which has a leg span of over 30 centimeters; and a new species of purple banana from Southern China.
All told, over 500 plants, 250 fish, 80 frogs, 40 lizards, and 20 snakes, as well as 15 mammals, 4 birds, 4 turtles, 2 salamanders and a toad, were found throughout the six countries of the Greater Mekong region, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.
In documenting such a prolific rate of discovery—an average of two species per week were discovered over the past decade—the report’s findings reaffirm the importance of the Greater Mekong as a biodiversity hotspot and conservation priority. As a result of such high biodiversity, the region is also recognised as a hub for the illicit trade in wildlife. Plants and animals of all sizes and description are poached from their natural habitats, transported across the region to major markets such as China and Viet Nam.
However, while many of these discoveries are new to science, Sulma Warne, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme, says it is likely that many of the species have been known by local communities, and in some cases have long been harvested for food, medicine or other reasons.
While excited about the recent discoveries and recognizing the importance of sharing such news with the rest of the world, he was, however, concerned that high levels of publicity might motivate a demand for some species that was previously non-existent beyond low level local consumption.PHOTO: Described in 2005, the Laotian Rock Rat [Laonastes aenigmamus] was first... more