Category Archives: Nature

Pres. Obama is making a flower highway for butterflies (really)

tagged monarch
Source: Anna Barnett on flickr
I know this headline sounds more like the title of a fantasy novel than a project the federal United States government is implementing. But it’s real – a real 1500 mile project that will connect Minnesota with Texas with habitat areas for Monarch butterflies all the way down the middle of our country. That’s the path these butterflies take on their way to winter in fir forests outside of Mexico City, Mexico. It will run north-south along Route I-35, pretty much the entire vertical length of the United States.

butterfly highway
Source: mexiconewsdaily.com

The Christian Science Monitor explains the plan:

The Xerces Society has already been working with the Federal Highway Administration to develop best practices for roadside management, including incorporation of flowering plants and milkweed and adapting mowing schedules to migration patterns… but the president’s plan is much broader than that.

“The idea is to use it as this iconic pathway to work with schools, farmers, ranchers, and park districts to improve habitats for 50 to 100 miles on either side of the I-35 corridor,” Dr. Black says.

North Carolina has a Butterfly Highway of its own. And, there are other Monarch protection projects coming to life in different parts of the United States – check out Monarch Joint Venture for details.

In May 2015 the Washington Post reported on Obama’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.

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Washington tribe gets its Chinook salmon back

Chinook spawn in Elwha River
Chinook salmon spawn in Elwha River
Many generations of Chinook salmon were unable for a 100 year period to reach the Elwha River to lay eggs and raise their young. Access was blocked by two huge dams that are being removed, making the river and its tributaries habitat once again for fish travelling from the oceans where they spend their adult lives outside of spawning season. Many of the newly opened waterways lie within the protective borders of Olympic National Park in Washington state.

In 1986 the Lower Elwha Klallam Indian tribe challenged the relicensing of the 64-meter-tall Glines Canyon Dam and the 33-meter-tall Elwha Dam that prevented their “dammed salmon” from accessing the river. The removals open up 112 kilometers of river and tributary habit for wildlife, fish and other seafood and will restore the tribe’s access to the traditions and diet that are interwoven with its culture as river stewards.

The US National Park Service reports

Dam removal began on the Elwha River in mid-September 2011. Today, Elwha Dam is gone, over fifty percent of Glines Canyon Dam has been removed, the Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell reservoirs have drained, and the Elwha River flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years. Dam Removal dam is scheduled to be complete by September 2014.

Webcams and dam removal blog by the NPS Elwha River Project.

National Geographic has done several reports on this project:
Rebirth on the River: Washington’s Elwha Flourishing After Big Dam Removals
Salmon Re-enter Olympic National Park River Thanks to Elwha Dam Removal
Dam Removals Open Way for Cultural and Habitat Restoration

Spectacular time lapse video of dam explosion and Elwha River waterway being re-established.

AP article

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1000 seedling tree giveaway in Newark Friday 29 April at Hawthorne Hawks Farm

Free Seedling Tree Distribution Newark
Source: New Jersey Tree Recovery Foundation

Newark, NJ on 27 April 27 2016 — The City of Newark and Hawthorne Avenue Elementary School students will celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, April 29 with a tree giveaway. Students will plant trees at the farm and 1000 tree seedlings will be gifted to Newark residents to beautify the city.

When Friday, April 29
1:30-2:30pm
When Hawthorne Hawks Healthy Harvest Farm in the South Ward
446 Hawthorne Avenue (Between Demarest and Dewey Streets, Entrance on Demarest Street
Newark, NJ

The tree seedling giveaway is part of the New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign, which has set a goal to distribute over 500,000 tree seedlings to New Jersey residents over the next five years. It is a joint effort between the City of Newark, New Jersey State Forest Service, New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts, Sustainable Jersey, Arbor Day Foundation, Brothers International, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Wyndham Vacation Resorts, FedEx and local partners Greater Newark Conservancy and Newark DIG (Doing Infrastructure Green!).

Arbor Day was begun in Nebraska in 1872 by President (and New Jersey native) Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture, J. Sterling Morton. It was part of his effort to encourage forestry and land conservation, and the planting of 1 million trees in that state. Today, unique Arbor Day celebrations are held world and country-wide, each with their own flavor and date but unified by the same theme: planting and preservation of trees and protection of the Earth’s environment.

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Speak up for NJ law to use only environment-saving native plants for state roadway areas

Native Plant legislative alertA proposed law would help clean New Jersey waterways by requiring all new Jersey roadway authorities to use ONLY native plants for landscaping, land management, reforestation and habitat restoration.

Plant and grass fertilizers are a huge source of pollution for natural waterways, but native plants need no fertilizers. Native plants are also hearty and drought resistant, so they tend to thrive even when water becomes scarce – so they can keep on doing their job well: growing deep roots that retain topsoil and keep plants healthy. Those roots help stormwater seep into the ground where it gets channelled to the underground aquifers that

Please write or call your State Senator and Assemblyperson. Consult this handy guide to find your New Jersey State legislators.

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Aussie MP lights a river on fire – it’s that full of fracking gas

River being lit on fire
Source: Jeremy Buckingham via YouTube
Australian Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham introduces this video on YouTube:

Gas explodes from Australian river near fracking site. I was shocked by force of the explosion when I tested whether gas boiling through the Condamine River, Queensland was flammable. So much gas is bubbling through the river that it held a huge flame.

More coverage from:
The BBC
Buckingham’s web page
RT News

Matt Smith, Dr. WhoHat tip to Matt Smith for the share! By the way, our sharer is not the eleventh Dr. Who.

 

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Easy tick removal with just a water-moistened cotton swab

Tick and cotton swab
Source: Popular worldwide on youtube.com
This video shows a tick being removed by a cotton swab slightly moistened in water, that you use to rotate the tick around until it falls off. That way, the mouth detaches from your skin. Looks easy but I wonder why they don’t moisten the swab with alcohol – wouldn’t that be better? If I learn of an even better way, I’ll share it.

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Journalist becomes freediver to report on man’s growing relationship with Moby Dick whales

Whales
Source: NY Times article

Journalist James Nestor becomes a freediver: one of a group of mostly scientists interacting with Moby Dick whales without breathing gear – spermwhales – to depths over 100 feet and for times over 5 minutes duration. They study the whales’ speech and behaviour and next, will be trying to replicate their language and hold conversations about trees and other things whales cannot see from their watery perspective. Once believed too dangerous to attempt, this group has been diving since 2007 with whales that, “can grow as long as 60 feet and weigh up to 110,000 pounds,” and eventually, Nestor dove in too:

I HELD MY BREATH AND SWAM DEEPER, 10, 20, 30 feet. I heard a thunderous crack, then another, so loud they vibrated my chest. Below my kicking feet, two sperm whales emerged from the shadows, each as long as a school bus.

The cracking was coming from the whales; it’s a form of sonar called echolocation that species of dolphins, whales and other cetaceans use to “see” underwater. With these vocalizations, called clicks, the whales were snapping three-dimensional images of my body, and those of my diving companions, from the inside out — scanning us to see if we were a threat, or if we were food.

The New York Times offers a free virtual reality film app for Android or iPhone so you can get a taste of what swimming with whales feels like.

Hat tip to Leen De Weerd-Mosley for the beautiful find.

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Coral is a universe of exploding colors and brilliance, a celebration of life that we are killing

Coral
Source: Screen shot of Stoupin’s Slow Life – coral timelapse
Photographer Daniel Stoupin condensed 9 months of photographs into a three and a half minute timelapse that shows the fabulous universe of coral.

Which we are killing.

Fight for the Reef

Slow Life from BioQuest Studios on Vimeo.

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Most Big Brand foods and personal care items are made with unsustainable palm oil and it’s killing the world

Sustainably harvested palm oil
Source: NBPOL via RSPO website
Commercially harvested palm oil destroys wildlife habitat and contributes to global warming. That’s why we should be checking products to make sure they don’t contain it. 1 Million Women tells how to check products for palm oil and David Suzuki offers more suggestions:

  1. Shop from companies listed in the RSPO’s database of sustainable-palm supporters;
  2. Look for the RSPO trademark on products;
  3. Ask retailers to offer more certified sustainable palm oil products;
  4. Ask manufacturers to use certified sustainable palm oil;
  5. Visit the World Wildlife Federation to learn about other ways to get involved.

1 Million Women also explains why checking and boycotts are so important.

100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) is produced in a way that helps protect the last remaining habitat for wildlife and preserves the livelihoods of producers. By buying from companies using either CSPO or sustainable alternatives to palm oil, you can enjoy some wildlife-friendly, guilt-free chocolates.

Why is palm oil such a big issue?

When tropical forests are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2 ), the gas that is the leading cause of climate change; tropical deforestation accounts for about10 percent of total global warming emissions (UCS 2013).

Indonesia was the world’s seventh-largest emitter of global warming pollution in 2009, and deforestation accounted for about 30 percent of these emissions (WRI 2013). Indeed, for that same year Indonesia ranked second (behind Brazil) in the amount of global warming pollution it produced because of deforestation (WRI 2013).

It’s estimated that 98% of Indonesian forest will be gone in 9 years due to palm oil plantations.

Palm Oil is a major problem, and it is up to us as consumers to make a difference. It is up to us to boycott the brands that contain palm oil, or who are not trying to source responsible palm oil, and protest against those who create this destruction…

How is standing up against sustainable palm oil going to affect the food and beauty products we use at home?

Standing up might mean giving up: crackers, ramen, chocolate eggs, easter bunnies and many commercial brands of soap – in favor of buying less commercial brand products. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Having the chance to save the world and be healthier at the same time sounds like a pretty good tradeoff to me.

For more information on the drive to produce only sustainably harvested palm oil visit the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

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Companies want to seize publicly owned water, then sell it back to us at a profit

Fresh water
Sourece: Our Water, Our Future short film, a
storyofstuffproject
As Pamela Larsen succinctly points out in the short film Our Water, Our Future by The Story of Stuff, “There are water grabs happening everywhere.” Nestlé is bleeding water out of the land in California and Oregon, bottling it and selling it back to the people they stole it from.

And in New Jersey, private companies are getting ready to buy municipal water systems out from under the people – and then make customers pay them back the money they spent to buy the systems.

Taking care of ourselves, our society and our natural resources is our obligation as earth citizens. We need to get much better at doing this than we are.

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